British band Coldplay, after almost two decades of worldwide influence and chart-topping songs, are starting to wind down. Their melodic genius and enigmatic-yet-comforting lyrics have inspired millions – but the tides of public preference are shifting, and they find themselves being gradually pushed into the past. Yet instead of making a desperate effort to stay relevant, Coldplay are reveling in their status and released a very different album in mid-November – one that doesn’t seek to cater to the masses. Titled Everyday Life, it is as creative and unexpected as possible. Demonstrating everything from Arabic lyrics and a full choir to a saxophone band, it seems to represent a glorious shedding of mainstream ideals. After all, Coldplay has made their money and gotten their fame. Why not have a little fun?
The concert they gave January 21 at the Hollywood Palladium to celebrate the release of Everyday Life fit this spirit perfectly. It featured many of the more adventurous songs on the album, while still giving long-time fans a taste of familiar favorites. The four band members filed on to the stage to the lilting strains of “Sunrise,” a completely instrumental track that incorporates the full string section. Unconventional as it is to have a non-vocal track on a pop album, the atmospheric melody imbued the band’s entrance with a sense of reverence and gravity.
After performing “Church” with vocalist Norah Shaqur carrying the Arabic portion of the song, Coldplay launched straight into the racially-charged “Trouble in Town.” Frontman Chris Martin sings “Trouble in town/ because they hung my brother brown” to a pensive tune and jazzy piano groove.
A couple of songs later, the band obliged fans’ nostalgia with “Lovers in Japan” and the ever-popular “Fix You.” The audience ardently sang along to the chorus “Lights will guide you home/ And ignite your bones” as a golden balloon bounced around the crowd. And although this particular line is a perfect example of Coldplay’s older lyrics meaning nothing and everything simultaneously, many of the songs from “Everyday Life” display a brevity very far from that. Such as the searingly satirical “Guns,” an indictment of our political system in the vein of Bob Dylan or Sam Cook. And “Daddy,” which is a poignant and affecting lament about Martin’s own relationship with his father, performed with piano, and accompanied by a desolate animated short about a young child stranded alone on a dark sea. The metaphorical implications of the film-and-music combination were startlingly clear.
The band was joined by a number of diverse guest artists over the course of the evening to perform the new songs. Among them was Youtuber and music theory genius Jacob Collier, who led the crowd in a joint rendition of “Cry, Cry, Cry” – a gospel-influenced peace anthem. Nigerian musician Femi Kuti and his band appeared for “Arabesque,” an instrumentally-focused track defined by a fiery saxophone lick. Kuti was virtuosic, punctuating the song with blistering solos.
When Coldplay finally launched into triumphant, beloved “Viva La Vida,” cellphones came out in force to capture the moment. But Martin – with admirable determination – stopped singing and faced the crowd, imploring them to put their phones away for just this one song. “This song is already on Youtube,” he said jokingly. “Let’s just sing it together.” And so the audience stashed their phones and embraced Martin’s request, seizing the moment the way Coldplay’s music inspires one to seize life – emboldened, exhilarated, alive.
- Church (with Nora Shaqur)
- Trouble in Town
- Lovers in Japan
- Fix You
- Arabesque (with Femi Kuti)
- Na Their Way Be That (Femi Kuti)
- When I Need a Friend
- Viva La Vida
- Cry, Cry, Cry (with Jacob Collier, choir)
- Everyday Life
- The Scientist
- Something Just Like This
- Champion of the World