It’s hard to pin down exactly when Coldplay soft, but it’s worth revisiting the days before their watered-down brand of messianic pandering manifested itself as bland arena-rock made in a lab to sell Britpop to middle-aged normies who just discovered the Chainsmokers. The early 2000s were a different era for Chris Martin and co., one that saw the glossy, Technicolor ambition of their later work still being tempered by a latent desire to sound like an everyman Radiohead circa The Bends. Though no reasonable person would ever dare to mosh to these songs, the following list may serve as a pleasant reminder that Coldplay isn’t quite as mushy as you think.
The A Rush of Blood to the Head opener is the closest Coldplay have ever come to a political wokeness anthem. Even though the repeated "Open up your eyes" lyric is dangerously close to the cloying conspiracy mongering of fellow Brits Muse, watching Martin bang out the staccato piano part live is still titillating nonetheless.
The lead single from Coldplay's 2008 record Viva La Vida feels downright raucous, with its abundance of distorted guitars, trudging percussion and thinly veiled lyrical allegories of revolution.
With its off-kilter structure and angular guitar riffs, this deep cut from Rush of Blood represents Coldplay's furthest diversion from their tried-and-true Beatles-y approach. A group like Foals or Minus the Bear could do wonders with this one should they muster the gusto to try.
While the most memorable tracks from their excellent debut Parachutes feel like Oasis singles, the minor-key dread that moves "Spies" from verse to chorus and back would feel right at home on Amnesia—the 2001 Radiohead album that will start to feel like a direct response to Coldplay now that someone has put the idea in your head.
This song is actually pretty soft in the grand scheme of things. But the chiming, bouncy guitar lick that carries "Birds" ever so slightly away from the now-familiar territory of digitally enhanced doofus rock is an effective consolation for former fans who were actually excited about Coldplay becoming the next U2.
SEE IT: Coldplay plays Moda Center, 1 N Center Ct. St., on Monday, Oct. 2. 7 pm. $49-$301. All ages.