Forgive me father, for I have sinned. Is there a bigger musical confession in this day and age then admitting that not only did you listen to the new Coldplay song but you liked it? This week, I’ve thrown caution to the wind and could be heard recommending this track to people whose opinions I vaguely value. Often, halfway through the breathless praise, I’d catch myself. There was something edgy about liking ‘X & Y’ when that album, the band’s third but the first two kind of branch off from their tried-and-tested British glum vibe landed. Maybe even being a fan of ‘Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends’ had an anarchist’s feel to it. But between then (~2008) and now, the notion that you might legitimately like most of what Coldplay has released and maintain a critical muscle in your body has taken a beating. The colours were a bit much, then came the conscious uncoupling, and more recently, a collaboration with The Chainsmokers confirmed even the staunchest supporter’s fears: the Coldplay of yore is dead (beyond resuscitation) and gone (forever lost).
Which is not to say that there is not a small flame of hope (perhaps more appropriately, a dying ember of hope) inside me that drives me to rapaciously consume every new Coldplay single, only to be doused in cold water a little more, grow a little dimmer, on realising just how misplaced the aspiration for a return to form is. At some point, you just freeze time, consign yourself to ‘A Rush Of Blood To The Head’ and ‘Parachutes’, and try desperately to forget that Chris Martin and Co. are still out there, making multicoloured music and wearing pseudo-military uniforms with patches. But I’m not there yet. And I’m thankful for that sputtering light that pushed me into listening to ‘All I Can Think About Is You’, face and mind pre-dialed to skeptical or not. Because, stunningly, this is actually a good, new, Coldplay song.
I wouldn’t believe me either. Which is why I waited about a week until after its release to determine whether it was just that flame casting a warm shadow on this track, making it seem far more like old-school, wrenching, excellent Coldplay than it actually was. But no! Seven days after discovering this track, I still like it! I rinsed both ‘Parachute’ and ‘Rush’ in an effort to dissuade myself, rediscover the Coldplay that I actually like. But ‘All I Can’ slots easily into the early oeuvre, equal parts morose, soaring, nonsensical and somehow (counter-intuitively) beautifully resonant. It is perfectly structured (which, regardless of what you think of them, is a skill that the lads continue to ply on their newer stuff) but doesn’t have the awkward bombast or ceremony that so much of 2008-current Coldplay has. It’s a huge song – the band seemingly doesn’t have another mode – but it is considered and heartfelt in its hugeness. What else could a kid, carrying around a glowing memory of a band he used to love ask for? I’m actually looking forward to July 21’s ‘Kaleidoscope’ EP. There. I said it.
Coldplay – All I Can Think About Is You