Another Look at the Decline of Coldplay


That post I did a while ago about Coldplay being a band in decline has been getting a lot of attention, actually, its the most viewed post on the site in the past month or two. A couple people have posted on it vehemently denying the decline. I figure it’s time to revisit it a little bit. I used to think they were a band who could do no wrong and maybe that’s it, or maybe they just enjoy their recent music, music is all about opinion after all.

But I don’t think they’ve been a band in decline for a very long time. They were awesome until the Viva album. Maybe it was the switch to a new producer, maybe it was a desire to simply head in a new direction, or maybe it was money driven. It was probably a combination of all three, in an attempt to recreate their sound they got a new producer, were told, “we want you to have this kind of vibe” and they did it. That kind of shit happens on pretty much all major labels, 100% creative control is kind of a thing of the past for the most part, unfortunately.

Rock music is a dying art in the mainstream, take a look at the charts, look at the statistics and sales, listen to the radio. Sure a few bands like the Foo Fighters are still getting by pretty well, but for the most part contemporary music is driven by cookie cutter, sex sells, Euro-techno style driven pop music. It’s undeniable that most artists in the pop scene are pretty interchangeable, and for a pop-rock band, attention has become more and more scarce. If money is on the mind, it is only sensible to drop your sound, adjust your dynamics an progressions, and take on a sound that more closely resembles most of the music on the radio today, and that’s pretty much what I think happened. Adaptation. Just take a look at their sound over the years. Personally I think it’s pretty obvious what has happened here…


2 Comments on “Another Look at the Decline of Coldplay”

  1. 16 beats says:

    I agree with you!

    I still remember how exciting it was listening to Parachutes, back when the band were the leaders of the soft parade. But the overwhelming success they’ve had seems to have also been a thorn in their side.

    Their lyrics are no longer as beautifully frank and bare, but if they were, the focus wouldn’t be on how refreshing it would be to listen to, but the music press would probably focus instead on how it related to the band’s own private lives – especially as they’ve reached such celebrity status. But, I do think Chris Martin’s become more… well, poetic, as he is more vague, (Every teardrop is a waterfall, I’d rather be a comma than a full stop?)

    I would love to see the band write something acoustic and stripped down, and be able to see them perform in a smaller venue where you could get close to them again. Give them a little less pressure on writing anthems that would have to fill up a stadium.

    I am a huge Coldplay fan – I think supporting Coldplay is like supporting a football team; no matter how they fare or what others say, you’re still gonna root for them.

    • michael k says:

      Quoted from above… “But, I do think Chris Martin’s become more… well, poetic, as he is more vague, (Every teardrop is a waterfall, I’d rather be a comma than a full stop?)…”

      I dont know how that line is more vague pr poetic than their early work… As far as “vague and poetry goes” its meaning is dead obvious. Its about as subtle as a frying pan to the face. Its about as deep as “baby you complete me, you’re like chocolate sauce to my icecream”. I am willing to admit that Kanye West deeper lyrics and I hate his music. Its the kind of poetry I’d expect to see written in the Daily Sun. Musically the song itself is a clash of sounds. Coldplay attempted to mimic superior bands, unfortunately they dont actually have the musical prowess to do so.

      Let me give a disclaimer, I am a massive fan of Coldplay’s first two albums. They are phenomenal.

      I think that the decline of Coldplay mirrors the decline of so many bands. When a band releases their first album (im not talking about studio bands that are manufactured) what that album represents is upwards of 5 years of jamming together. Every idea every band member has had since they picked up an instrument is considered and the best of them included. Often there is enough content and inspiration to carry through to a second album. In the 2 year interim between the first and second album, the band has improved musically and gained the money and fame to secure a good producer. This means that the second album is often as good, if not better than the first. After that the fall begins as in a space of 2 years the band attempts to come up with new content for their 3rd album.

      Coldplay followed this routine to the letter. Although X&Y is decent. It just doesnt stand up to its predecesors. If you hear anyone who thinks that anything after “A Rush of Blood to the Head” is Coldplay’s best work, you have to realise you are talking to someone who only hopped onto the coldplay bandwagon after they sold out. After X&Y they are merely listenable. Not even good. They just aren’t bad. They are only considered good because they are already popular and their songs get radio time. The fact that Justin bieber is popular is evidence for the fact that the public will like anything if its advertised enough.

      Very few bands that started good, improve past their second album. Of course there are examples of bands who have, but they are in the minority. Each time you think of one of those examples just realsie that you managed to find a genuinely good, lasting band.

      Muse is a rare example of a band that kept it going, but even they fell eventualy. Their second album (origin of symmetry) is better than their first, their third (absolution) is as good as the second. Their 4th (blackholes and revelations) is stil excellent, but not on par with origins and absolution. Unfortunately it is also the the beginning of the end as their sound changes to a popular catchy style. Then out comes the resistance, which sounds like a pathetic attempt to prove that muse are a “real band” with political messages. Bleh. They were a real band before. Listen to U2’s “How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb” as another example of a band collapsing under their own attempts to be “relevant”.

      For bands that managed to avoid decline… see Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Incubus, Tool, Foo Fighters and Greenday. (i dont even like greenday but u gotta admit they kept going with their American Idiot album, which was less popular sounding than their previous work,


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