I mean could you think of a better stocking stuffer than that — a ‘The Best of Coldplay’ vinyl? Ooh, that’s one stuffed stocking! Better replace the threads on that snucka over the summer offseason… call in the elves .
Anyway, I was looking, and sure enough, similar to AC/DC, Coldplay are an iconic household name of veritable megastars who head-scratchingly has never put together, or had put together, a “chronicle,” so to speak, in their name a single CD or wax collection of hand-picked studio tracks to best sum up their career (whereas mind you they do have two prominent live albums), other than the very stately and unambitious The Singles (1999-2006), encompassing only their first three albums out of seven. To boot, they’ve really crafted some rather compelling stuff since then, particularly on ’08’s tense, undulating Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends, and of course the gargantuan, flawlessly-structured beast that is “Paradise.” And seeing as it’s been two years since their last release you’d think they’d be in a reflective mood, or their label would just be so money-crazy that they would have thought to do this. But then that shows you what I know.
Anyway, if you’ve been paying attention to my site lately, you know I’ve been going a little blogger-zilla, trying to control the world at my fingertips by putting together these naive Spotify playlists, as if I hold the Excalibur perspective on tabulating and expediting a band’s exact defining moments. Generally, I agree with most of the criticism on Coldplay, like in Pitchfork’s review of X & Y that their primary traits are “nice-guy charm, serviceable songwriting and edglelessness,” but I also think that while this apparent emotional stasis can be their knife, it can also be their wife within their very endeavor to establish themselves as a BRAND, rather than something especially polymorphous, experimental or haphazard.
What with their undoubted penchant for branding themselves, it becomes all the odder that there is no chronicle. A couple of best-of albums I happen to really enjoy, in no particular order, are the Cranberries one, the Toad the Wet Sprocket one, the Better than Ezra one (as far as I know there is also surprisingly not one for The Strokes), more abrasive or punk-minded ‘90s acts like Pearl Jam and Pavement, in my opinion, often finding their most gripping sessions a little bit wonky or disarming to fit into such a format of radio playability. But even with Coldplay’s, er, “predictability,” for lack of a better term, I fully see why they’re famous — like I said, what they die by for some is also what they live by for others, and within the very amount of time which elapses, say, between climaxes in an average Coldplay song lies a sort of refreshing renewal in the mind, like in the first song I ever heard by them, “Trouble,” when I must have been still in high school, with its deep, deep affective melancholy which almost called to mind a Bob Dylan track like “If You See Her, Say Hello,” rendered just on piano, instead of guitar (which given its digital-age release is ironic and commendable in and of itself).
And yes, I am a chronological purist:
3 “We Never Change”
5 “The Scientist”
7 “Green Eyes”
8 “Fix You”
10 “Speed of Sound”
11 “The Hardest Part”
12 “Violet Hill”
13 “Viva La Vida”
15 “A Sky Full of Stars”
 Maybe we can wrap it in a package and make it look like a saucer sled, or something.