PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Welcome to the world of Coldplay.
First for them, here’s the good news. Last night during Thursday Night Football it was announced that the UK band will headline the Super Bowl 50 halftime show, and this morning they woke up to find their new album A Head Full Of Dreams is tops on iTunes.
The bad news is that the response to both has been “meh” at best.
With Beyonce and Taylor Swift still existing on our planet, anything else would have been a letdown for the world’s biggest halftime show – yet still Coldplay seems an extra boring choice. The album has been kept off of Spotify as the service continues to fail its subscribers, yet there’s no outrage and buying frenzy like there was just two weeks ago when Adele played the same card. The album itself is getting middling reviews across the internet as guest stars Beyonce, ex-wife Gwyneth Paltrow, Noel Gallagher, and even the President are not enough to gin up interest for some music fans. I myself couldn’t even justify pressing “buy” for the album today to review it, and I spent three bucks in the same apple store this week on an app that turns my pictures into paintings.
Today Coldplay will sell records, but they haven’t mattered to the culture for a long time.
There’s no urgency or excitement when it comes to Coldplay, yet they remain one of the biggest bands in the world. A song hits just often enough to remind you they are there, but for the most part they are built on legacy now. It’s not completely unlike U2 who enjoy top-tier status as well but mostly based on previous incarnations – however they continue to pack stadiums and sell albums. We all complained when we got the last U2 album for free, yet they had the third highest grossing tour of the summer.
Certainly A Head Full Of Dreams will have its moments, but its release has played out in public more as a vessel to continue a career than anything packing emotional power.
This is way more about the public perception of Coldplay than it is the band’s actual output. I’m sure A Head Full Of Dreams is an alright record which has a song you like dancing to on it and a song that’s atmospheric and vaguely sentimental enough to remind you of whatever person or thing you want to attach it to – they are good for one of each every once in a while. But will they stick? Has anything stuck for the past couple years? Do you hear “Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall” and say “crank it up” or ever reach for “Magic” when you need to sink into a song?
It’s an amazing thing for a band to be so successful, play the biggest stage in music, drop a chart-topping album and still be ho-hum to a large sector of the population. Not that this is anything new though for Coldplay, which makes their staying power even more impressive.
During a video game session, Paul Rudd teases Seth Rogen in the 2005 movie “The 40 Year Old Virgin”.
“You know how I know you’re gay?” asks Rudd.
“How?” Rogen responds.
“You like Coldplay” answers Rudd.
Somehow in ten years we’ve realized as a society that “gay” is not an insult, but for many liking Coldplay still is.
Also out this week is the grimey and hook-heavy When It’s Dark Out from G-Eazy. Building off the strength on last year’s These Things Happen, the Oakland rapper is back with a more impressive effort and guest spots from Big Sean and playful voice of Bebe Rexha. Plus there’s new music today from Rick Ross, the still smooth Babyface, and an expansive reissue of The River from Bruce Springsteen.