Amid a barrage of things we don’t need (a third Bridget Jones film, a Sex and the City prequel), Coldplay’s fifth album Mylo Xyloto is hurtling towards us at great speed.
It’s easy to have a go at Coldplay. They’re a bit smug. More than a bit bland. Chris Martin is highly irritating, particularly when it comes to pretending he isn’t married to Gwyneth Paltrow (not talking about your marriage to the press is fair enough, but pretending it doesn’t exist is just a little bit mental). Clocks has been played so often over the last nine years that it resembles a car alarm far more than a musical composition. But their most heinous offence, far worse than all of these things, is Fix You.
Fix You is, oddly, one of their most celebrated songs, but listen to it – really listen to it. It. Is. Horrendous. It has become a torch song, but what the hell is it about? Initially, comfort: I will try to fix you, lights will guide you home. But, and here’s the main grievance: said lights will indeed guide you home, but they will also ignite your bones. Follow the nice safe path home, dear, and you will burst into flame. And I will, you know, try to fix you. Seems unlikely, though, given that even your bones are on fire. There are also the smaller matters of the epic guitars which kick in about halfway through, simultaneously prompting a thousand bands with no ideas of their own to follow suit and ensuring a generation uses the word ‘epic’ incorrectly, the fact that the verse’s hook is kind of the Pixies’ Where Is My Mind, and the narcoleptic delivery of the last word of every line makes it sound like even Chris can’t be bothered. But thousands – probably even millions of people holler along to it at festivals as if experiencing the rapture.
The thing is, though, that they’re not totally awful. Parachutes is still pretty lovely, for the most part; Viva La Vida’s strings made for one of the year’s best hooks, and The Scientist remains a perfect pop song with a genuine emotional punch. And they may very well surprise us this time round, rob us of our easy target, but tasters like Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall suggest they probably won’t. We’ve got a few months before it’s on every advert and montage though: enjoy it while you can.