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