Coldplay undoubtedly sold out – but Chris Martin is a commercial genius. It’s crazy the amount of haters they have due to the direction Martin took the band in. It doesn’t stop the music being rather fantastic, they’re one of the biggest bands of the last couple decades – their music often falls into the alternative/indie genre, less so recently but still. Despite falling into that category they get so much shit from fans of those particular genres, why?
Possibly the way in which their overall behaviour is hugely atypical compared to their peers and previous renowned rock groups – this pushes their image towards the commonplace pop facsimile and away from their initial alternative form. This really seems to piss off the pretentious music fans among us, I reckon it relates back to how Coldplay were initially dubbed as the next Radiohead, check this quote from an early review of Parachutes;
“These early twentysomethings have come crashing out of the gate with an album, Parachutes, more developed and fully artistically realized than what Radiohead managed to achieve at a similar stage in their career.”
Not just parallels with Radiohead then, suggestions that they’re better – or will go on to be. We’ll never know as they chose conformity over sticking to their values, I don’t hold that against them, so many others do though – why can’t they overlook avarice?
It’s almost fashionable to express dislike towards Coldplay even if they don’t. the negative preconceptions many have about the band means they’ll instantly dismiss a Coldplay song if they know it’s them – not even giving it a chance. Play a song without telling them it’s Coldplay and often they’ll like it (trust me I’ve tried this on loads of mates). All anybody needs to do is listen to Parachutes in its entirety and they’ll quickly realise how unbelievable that album is. Oh what could have been.
People don’t like to admit it purely for their hatred of Chris Martin – but he is so intelligent when it comes to how to sell records. Just look at the way he manifests each album accordingly depending on what genre is popular at the time. The best examples being; Parachutes in 1999 came at the height of Britpop, X&Y during the indie revolution and of course A Head Full of Dreams which came as close to a “house” record that an altern artist will ever release. Martin analyses the music scene then tailors the music to fit the narrative, it might be slightly phoney but it’s bloody clever. He knows he sold out but I doubt he gives a toss whilst he’s rolling around in his millions.
Their branding and stigma naturally appeals to your regular listener, though due to the quality of the music it still also appeals to your more niche bodies – thanks to the indie rock undertones that remain. He also seems to understand and appreciate his fans, really amplifying that loyalty.
They will go down as one of the biggest bands of the last few decades, even if they don’t fit the chic narrative. The stats speak for themselves; 90 million records sold, 62 awards, and 7 out of the 8 studio albums hitting #1 in the charts. The way in which they market themselves is so astute, nothing guerrilla-like but they always manage to enter the public’s consciousness – you’d do well to find anybody in the world who doesn’t know their name.
Don’t be bitter that they sold out musically; they’re a quality band and are even better live, enjoy the music – you are however allowed to be annoyed that he named his kid Apple.