John: This is a special Top Ten, because it’s a joint effort between my son, Kieran, and me. Kieran is 16, going on 17, and is into a wide range of music. Rap is his main thing, but like so many of his generation, he really likes Coldplay . To me this is very interesting, because Coldplay have been around for quite a long time, and you’d expect a previous generation to be the big fans rather than today’s. But they continue to gain popularity. Why? Well, it’s obvious really: they make great songs and are brilliant live. So many of their songs become anthems. The chord structures are simple and classic; the delivery is crucial. They are masters of the pop song.
The way Kieran and I did this was to agree on a ten (which wasn’t difficult) and then rank them in order, 1 to 10. Then we just took the two marks and divided by two. Lowest score won.
This gave us the following list. The great thing about Coldplay, being a modern band, is that they have a video for each of the songs on our list. So it’s a bit of a viewing, as well as listening, feast.
We’ve both made our comments where we feel like it. There might be a few more added in time.
But here we go. I love this list. I couldn’t have come up with it myself. Partnership!
10. Every Teardrop is a Waterfall, from Mylo Xyloto (2011)
Kieran: From the first moment I heard this latest of Coldplay’s anthems conclude their incredible Glastonbury set of Summer 2011, I knew it was destined to be a chart-topper and the song since established itself as one of my favourite upbeat Chris Martin renditions, with engaging riffs and drum beat throughout.
9. Violet Hill, from Viva La Vida (2008)
John: This is another of Kieran’s favourites and he might add something here. A powerful tune.
8. Trouble, from Parachutes (2000)
John: Kieran and I agree that this is just a beautiful, wistful tune. Classic Coldplay.
7. Don’t Panic, from Parachutes (2000)
We live in a beautiful world!
John: The opening track from Coldplay’s first album. It sets the scene. The guitars shimmer and soar.
6. Paradise, from Mylo Xyloto (2011)
Kieran: The most well-known song from the recent work, it may be as far from obscurity as can be with Coldplay; regardless, it is one of those songs you just can’t stop listening to! Shows that Coldplay can always come up with new, contemporary ideas and always will do. No doubt this will be looked back on as a classic.
John: I like this song more every time I listen to it. It is a real anthem, and as a massive U2 fan, I feel like it’s Coldplay reaching the same heights. Or exceeding them.
5. The Scientist, from A Rush Of Blood To The Head (2002)
John: For many people, this is the ultimate Coldplay song. The slow piano build, the anthemic chorus. It’s hard to disagree. We both love it, even though, astonishingly, there are some songs we love even more!
4. What If, from X&Y (2005)
Kieran: I will leave my Dad to talk about this one. Another great.
John: This is my number one. It’s partly the song, and partly context. The song is a heartfelt tribute to a loved one, a love so strong that there is the fear of what if it went wrong. Such a simple but true sentiment. It has a lovely chord structure, which I find moving when I play it on my acoustic guitar. And then… the reason above all reasons. On that tragic day 7/7 2005, when London was bombed, a day after we won the Olympics, I was in a state of shock, like everybody else. That night I felt impelled to write something about how I felt, how I loved London, how these terrorists would never defeat us. By coincidence, I put “X&Y” on and “What If” – and “Fix You” – with their truly affecting melodies, captured the moment. There were tears in my eyes, tears of love and defiance, as I scribbled. ‘What If” forever defines that moment for me.
3. Fix You, from X&Y (2005)
Kieran: Another Coldplay ballad everyone can sing-a-long with. other-worldly synthetic sounds and Chris martins falsetto voice make a great opening to this song. It then, in typical Coldplay style, continues to build to an epic guitar solo and final rendition of the chorus. ‘Fix You’ never fails to get me feeling inspired.
John: Well, “Fix You” is part of what I described under ‘What If”. Beauty and defiance.
2. In My Place, from A Rush Of Blood To The Head (2002)
Kieran: This is a song that means an awful lot to me and I have a certain emotional connection with it. A simple song, but the the chiming sounds of the lead guitar gets me thinking and will stay with me for a long time.
John: It starts on a high and stays there. It must be the ultimate festival song. A complete anthem and celebration. Lighters/ iPhones out!
1. Yellow, from Parachutes (2000)
Kieran: The heartfelt lyrics of ‘Yellow’ and acoustic feel accompanied by an amazing range of vocals from Chris Martin, make this my favourite Coldplay song. For anyone who hasn’t listened, take this opportunity…
John: We totally agreed on this being number one. For me it’s the birth of Coldplay, and their epic, anthemic, but also heartfelt and even gentle sound. Songs that combine the deeply personal and the celebratory. The guitar on this one raises the song to a higher level from the very start and stays there. I’m strumming my air guitar as I write!
And if you’d like to listen to the playlist in full, you can do so on Spotify at TFW510 – Coldplay
it’s so inspiring that father and son have done this together. Coldplay is good play.
Thanks Resa. We enjoyed doing the list together. Coldplay may not be musical revolutionaries, but they unite the generations!
Hmmm.. While I can’t fault most of your list, I am troubled by the lack of Viva La Vida. Its such a great anthem – I can’t see how it has missed your top ten!
Like it well enough, but making the top ten requires something special. Just had another listen to that one, and it’s alright. Alright doesn’t make top ten.
Really like that this is a father and son blog. More please. We going to see a father and daughters blog?
I wonder if Coldplay are the most divisive big band currently out there? I know they’re huge and lots of people I know love them, but then myself and lots of people I know while certainly not hating them (hate is far too strong a word in most situations) at the very least hear them and thing “meh”.
On the other hand my two year old niece absolutely loves Paradise and sings and dances along to it (or rather sings along to the “Para para paradise” chorus). And I can understand why she does as it’s simple and catchy.
Thanks, Osama. There was a time when I used to think of Coldplay as Radiohead/U2 lite, but the songs stayed lodged in my head and that’s the sign of great music. I’m also impressed by the way they have spanned generations, still appealing to the youth of today as well as people who caught on to them then and more years ago. And your example about “Paradise” suggests they are really reaching all ages! I think only the Beatles (and maybe Bob Marley) have ever consistently done that.
As for a joint effort with my daughters, I’m not sure my appreciation of The Wanted and One Direction is quite up to it! And they’d be horrified at the thought. The embarrassing Dad syndrome. Future aspiration.
Was it something I said? (I see my comment is “awaiting moderation”.) John, I know you know I’m a trouble maker, but that’s only in the Civil Service!
No you’re not being picked on! All comments other than WordPress bloggers who have previously commented have to be approved by the author. If you had massive volumes of comments that could be difficult to maintain, but otherwise I think it works well. I try to approve all comments as soon as possible, as I appreciate the effort that people have made in commenting.
Now if they’d classified you as spam that would have been a different matter!
I’m a big fan of Coldplay, they’re so weird in a good way. My favourite one is Fix You. The lyrics really move me, I try not to cry when I watch the video clip and I fail each time. When the music explodes it just blows me away.
I like “every teardrop is a waterfall” video clip too, it’s very colourfull and makes me smile :-).
And the “father and son writing together” thing is really cute, I can see you have good taste in the family!
Thanks! It was fun doing the family choice and it reminded me how much I like Coldplay.
This here’s a neat list. I somehow never quite caught on to Mylo Xyloto, so I won’t comment on it. But the rest of it fits in perfectly. And it looks like you two had a lot of fun compiling this which makes this list truly special
We sure did! And looking forward to seeing Coldplay live at the Emirates football stadium, home of Arsenal, this Friday. There will be a report!
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Well I watched Paradise – for the first time ever – and quite enjoyed the video, but don’t see how the music added to it. I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree.
The chorus works brilliantly in the live environment. One of those simple, spine-tingling moments.