There are certain pivotal events in a person's life. Moments that force you to take a step back, re-evaluate everything that has happened in the years that led up to this day, and perhaps rethink how the future is going to look. Maybe things aren't all going to be the way that you planned; maybe life is even more complicated than you had already realized. The only certain thing you have left is that there is no certainty. No turning back the clock, either. We, just today, had one of these moments. And we're still reeling from the event and all that it may mean for the future. So, what was this thing that shook us to the core?
There's just no way of sugar-coating it: We heard the new Coldplay single and we really liked it. Really.
This very blog was once responsible for an article titled "Things Music Critics Hate: Coldplay". It noted that: "Coldplay's music is a lazy pastiche of other, better bands" and "emotionally impotent." It postured: "Coldplay to a music critic is like a Toyota Camry to a motoring
enthusiast, or Applebee's to a foodie -- it's a denial of the artform, an abdication of nearly every interesting potential of the medium." And all of those things were correct.
However, take a listen to Coldplay's new single, "Midnight," and just pretend for a moment that it's not them. (And, yes, we purposely haven't put the official video up here, because we don't want you all to feel knee-jerk hatred prompted by the sight of Chris Martin being all Chris Martin-y). Ready?
Why is this thing so great? Because it very subtly, but very beautifully, captures the essence of -- yes -- midnight: that point in the day when most of the noise has been shut off but there are still streaks of life. "Midnight" sounds like crossing the Bay Bridge from Oakland at night, when the skyline is lit up against the dark canvas of the sky. "Midnight" sounds like going up to your friend's rooftop after the bar, and contentedly watching the drunk stragglers stumbling around below -- too far away to be loud or obnoxious. "Midnight" sounds like staying up all night just so you can watch the sun rise.
It also kind of sounds like "In The Air Tonight"-era Phil Collins, but that's by-the-by.
In case you're still not hearing the magic here, just replace, in your head, Chris Martin's vocals with Lorde's. Yeah! Or pretend that this is actually a Bon Iver song (which, let's be honest, is not a stretch). There's no escaping it. Coldplay wrote a very likeable song. Does it border on Bon Iver plagiarism? Yes. But we're willing to let that slide because of the overall effect "Midnight" has on our moods.
Now, as the realization settles that we like a Coldplay song, and as the shuddering slows down, where does this leave us? Are we old now? Have we lost our cool? Is this the road that ends with us turning into our parents? That remains to be seen. What we anticipate is that this was probably just a one-time thing. It has to be, right?
As much as we love "Midnight," it would still never, ever prompt us to go and watch a band that has to wear matching jackets to hide its lack of charisma. And we still want to punch everyone closed-fist in the face every time we see Chris Martin doing his hopping-on-one-leg-arm-wavey-spirit-fingers dance -- and that urge is not going to go away any time soon. This definitely doesn't mean we're going to run out and purchase Mylo Xyloto.
But let's just take a moment to step back and appreciate the positives here: that wonders will never cease, that music can still surprise us and that -- hey -- if Coldplay can be good, can't we all be?