Arlington is less than 24 hours away from launching tickets for what is rumored to be mega-band Coldplay’s last album tour. And since the announcement of their (could be?) swan song tour stop at the home of my beloved Dallas Cowboys, AT&T Stadium, I’ve played their music non-stop, recalling what drew me to them in the first place.
Despite their long and impressive list of awards, and in lieu of their endless list of do-gooder activities, I love them simply because they are powerful storytellers.
Since the beginning of time, storytellers have found ways to express traditions and ideas through writing, visual arts and performances. While cavemen drew on cave walls to relate their histories, modern storytellers have much larger canvases: websites, social media, airwaves and sound systems. Amphitheaters are the new campfires for musicians to call assembly, and after seeing Coldplay in concert twice, I can tell you that they know how to connect with people, even in a huge room!
When I listen to them, I find myself like a child that is eager to hear a bedtime story. Tell me a story Coldplay…and they always do.
Here are my top 8 favorite Coldplay songs:
Yellow – The band’s first smash single makes me think of one word…devotion. “Look at the stars. Look how they shine for you. And everything you do.” The passionate guitar strums and heart-felt lyrics provide proof for the profound commitment he offers his beloved: he wrote a song for her after jumping across the chasm of fear to surrender his heart. He would apparently even bleed himself dry, but hopefully that is unnecessary!
Clocks – Time is a finite, but it is the framework for our lives and the catalyst for all decisions we make. Each moment that we commit to one venture, we close other doors that can never be reopened. With its characteristic opening piano melody, the frantic elements of this song paint a chaotic picture of a man’s urgency and frustration with a dysfunctional relationship. How do you escape the powerful orbit of a black hole in your life? “Am I part of the cure, or am I part of the disease?”
Strawberry Swing – This tender song reflects a perfect moment in time for two lovers who find themselves distanced from the rest of the world and engrossed in each other’s company. “People moving all the time inside a perfectly straight line. Don’t you want to cut away? It’s such a perfect day.” This song has an odd musicbox quality to me…beautiful!
Talk - As our world grows closer in digital connectivity, direct human contact becomes an antique. The inherent danger is an even deeper feeling of isolation. How can we be surrounded by so many people, yet feel so lonely? The cure for this epidemic is to reach beyond the retweets and emails to make genuine connections with others. “You tell anyone who'll listen, but you feel ignored. Nothing's really making any sense at all, let's talk.”
Violet Hill – Is it a love ballad? Is it an anti-war protest? Who cares, this amazing song feels almost like a march, with hard-driving drum beats and steady (but catchy) guitar riffs. Best of all, “Violet Hill” allegedly gets its title from a street near the Beatles’ famous Abbey Road…another amazing British export!
The Scientist – It’s difficult to pinpoint the initial moment of doubt, the first snag that eventually threatens to unravel a love affair. Even more challenging is finding your way back home into someone’s heart after such a rift. The melancholy, but enchanting piano and swooningly hopeful lyrics relate the tale of someone who is repentant and ready to rebuild a cracked foundation. “Nobody said it was easy. No one ever said it would be this hard. Oh take me back to the start.”
Lovers in Japan – Try listening to the buoyant music and sweeping lyrics without feeling a little lighter, a little dreamier. I dare you! This is a wink of encouragement to all that are disheartened or unfulfilled. “I have no doubt one day the sun will come out.” Optimistic ideals of hope, freedom and perseverance culminate in driving guitar and keyboard riffs that finally cascade gently like confetti on listeners.
Cemeteries of London – Although lyrically darker than most of their works, the primal nature of the song’s elements, such as flamenco clapping, folkish chanting and such, gives it an interestingly old world feel. This song outlines a spiritual quest, describing restless Londoners that walk every night to “see God in their own way.” At the end of the day, aren’t we all on this same journey with them? To see through the veil…to have a tactile encounter with our own faith?
I think contemporary pop music sometimes confuses flash with substance. Mediocre vocal and song writing skills can be camouflaged with razzle dazzle outfits, buff back up dancers, provocative lyrics and loud pyrotechnics to deliver a great show. I prefer to keep it simple. On August 27th at AT&T Stadium, I’m excited to let four middle-aged magicians cast one final music spell on me, offering A Head Full of Dreams. Tell me a story, Coldplay!
Official tickets are on sale February 5 at 10am. This Coldplay: Head Full of Dreams concert, August 27th at AT&T Stadium, is sure to sell out, so secure your seats and book lodging through arlington.org/hotels.