Which brings us inexorably to Coldplay and the problem that I have been wrestling with. Whilst I can readily appreciate that Coldplay could be quite properly described as a Marmite band, this does not quite help with my dilemma. You see, I’ve gone down a level and have found that it is not the band per se as much as each individual song that is Marmite. It’s the only explanation. For some time now, I have found that I am cherry picking about half a dozen of their songs from their catalogue. These are the songs that I find utterly uplifting yet I reject all their remaining material as dross.
Let’s not be coy. Those on the list are the likes of ‘Speed of Sound’, ‘Paradise’, ‘Clocks’, ‘Yellow’ and ‘The Scientist’ and maybe one or two more and they sit in a playlist on my ipod as shining examples of modern pop. But that’s where it stops as far as Coldplay is concerned as I’ve never really got on with the remainder of any of their albums despite owning them all. In all my years of music obsessive-ness, I’ve never known a band that splits my allegiance on a song by song level to such a degree. It’s a bit un-nerving and if at the next social function anyone asks me whether I like Coldplay, I’m not sure what I’m going to say. I’ll probably open and close my mouth a few times like a beached fish and fail miserably to construct any sort of reasoned argument.
I suppose that when it comes down to it, I find Coldplay a bit, well, boring in the way that their fiercest critics propound and that would explain my antipathy to most of their output. Yet, somehow, when their style works, it works spectacularly well as in the list above. It seems that they tread a very fine line and the spark that lifts them above it is a rare and splendid thing. Perhaps it is just as well that it is an infrequent occurrence as it makes the results something to be savoured.
It just pains me to think that I bought all those albums just for a handful of songs.