To Celebrate Their New Single, a Look Back at Coldplay’s 5 Best Songs

Coldplay has reunited with pop producer Max Martin on Moon Music, their 10th studio album.

Videos by American Songwriter

The new album is the follow-up to Music of the Spheres and will be released via Atlantic Records on October 4. On Friday, June 21, Coldplay shared the album’s first single, “Feels Like I’m Falling in Love.”

Chris Martin, Jonny Buckland, Guy Berryman, and Will Champion emerged from post-Britpop England to become something like their generation’s U2. However, the London group has largely abandoned being a rock band, and their recent albums reflect the pop trend of producers and writers by committee.

This list looks back at Coldplay’s early releases and the songs that came to define them.

“Viva la Vida” from Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends (2008)

For Coldplay’s fourth album, they collaborated with Brian Eno and made their experimental album. The band needed a reinvention after X&Y, and “Viva la Vida” sounds triumphant, like Coldplay had been saved from themselves. During this period, the English rock group expanded their sound and dressed up in French revolutionary costumes. Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends became Coldplay’s best album before Mylo Xyloto.

I used to rule the world
Seas would rise when I gave the word
Now in the morning, I sleep alone
Sweep the streets I used to own

“The Scientist” from A Rush of Blood to the Head (2002)

When Coldplay arrived on the scene, they picked up the fragments of The Bends long after Radiohead had abandoned them. By their second album, Martin’s ambition for U2’s churchy hymns became audible on “The Scientist.” Guitarist Jonny Buckland is the secret weapon on this one, with his entrance nearly four minutes into the song. It’s not clear from the words what this song is about but Martin’s lyrical vagueness has allowed fans to attach any meaning they want.

I was just guessing at numbers and figures
Pulling the puzzles apart
Questions of science, science and progress
Do not speak as loud as my heart
But tell me you love me, come back and haunt me
Oh and I rush to the start

“Yellow” from Parachutes (2000)

Martin has taken a lot of heat for his lyrics. Jon Pareles once wrote in The New York Times, “And the lyrics can make me wish I didn’t understand English.” Though “Yellow” is nonsensical, it’s undeniably catchy, and there’s a messy innocence to the track. The guitars are out of tune, the drums are trashy, and Martin’s tender, color-coded sentiment is endearing. You couldn’t escape this song in 2000.

Look at the stars
Look how they shine for you
And everything you do
Yeah, they were all yellow

“Clocks” from A Rush of Blood to the Head (2002)

These days, Coldplay reaches for extreme (hyper) pop choruses. The evidence exists in their collaborations with Max Martin—don’t bore us, get to the chorus. But “Clocks” was a hit without a chorus. Chris Martin’s now-iconic piano riff ignites stadiums full of glow sticks into communal action while Will Champion pushes things along with his familiar Coldplay beat.

The lights go out and I can’t be saved
Tides that I tried to swim against
Have brought me down upon my knees
Oh, I beg, I beg and plead
Singin’ come out of things unsaid
Shoot an apple off my head
And a trouble that can’t be named
A tiger’s waiting to be tamed, singin’

“Princess of China” from Mylo Xyloto (2011)

Mylo Xyloto is Coldplay’s turn toward straight pop. “Princess of China” features Rihanna and here, the synths have replaced the guitars. Following Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends, they made another enjoyable album while avoiding the X&Y trap of parodying themselves. “Princess of China” is lofty electropop and built precisely for the stadiums. Rihanna’s hook in this song is as flawless as “Umbrella.” Ella-ella.

Once upon a time, somebody ran
Somebody ran away saying fast as I can
I got to go
I got to go
Once upon a time, we fell apart
You’re holding in your hands the two halves of my heart
Oh-oh, oh-oh-oh

When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images

Leave a Reply

Luke Bryan's Prediction Is In for the 'American Idol' Finale

Luke Bryan Shares Adorable Duet With Foul-Mouthed 5-Year-Old Fan at Grand Rapids Show

Post-Millennial Masterpiece: “Rylan,” a Haunting Character Sketch from The National