Listening Post: Coldplay

The new Coldplay single, from The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, is sweeping and appropriately cinematic but at the same time subtle in the way that Coldplay used to be all those years ago.
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The new Coldplay single, from The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, is sweeping and appropriately cinematic but at the same time subtle in the way that Coldplay used to be all those years ago.
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I'm not sure whether it specifically coincides with Chris Martin's marriage to the insufferable Gwyneth Paltrow, but I stopped listening to Coldplay quite a while ago. Their debut album, Parachutes, deservedly brought them worldwide recognition and its follow-up, A Rush of Blood To the Head, was genuinely one of the best alternative records of the 2000s.

But then came X&Y, which wasn't bad but was overall a bit of a let-down, followed by the decision for Coldplay -- suddenly the biggest band in the world -- to begin dressing alike and releasing silly concept albums. (Again, given the pretension required for that kind of thing I can't help but bring it back to the possibility of a Chris & Gwyneth co-authored, but never published, "Goop" article on how to create a successful band.)

But the prospect of Coldplay doing the requisite pop single for the soundtrack to the new Hunger Games movie was intriguing, so I gave it a listen on its release a few days ago. And it's actually fantastic. It's sweeping and appropriately cinematic but at the same time subtle and flat-out gorgeous in the way that Coldplay used to be all those years ago. Yeah, they're still probably the biggest band in the world -- or at least one of them -- but this new track shows that every once in a while why they can still prove why that is.

Here's Atlas.