It’s long been semi-cool to hate on Coldplay. The piano-bothering, Radio 2 epitomising, dad band fronted by a bloke who Liam Gallagher once likened to a plant pot, Coldplay have attracted a huge amount of snotty criticism over the last few years. But I’m going to say it. Coldplay don’t deserve all this racket. Sure, they’ve had a few shitty singles, but look at ‘Yellow’, ‘The Scientist’ and ‘Magic’ – all brilliant, melodic apexes of pop-rock. And no doubt I’m in the minority here, but I thought ‘Hymn For The Weekend’ was a pretty perfect pop song too.
Ever since their debut album back in 2000, the acclaimed alt-rock record Parachutes, Coldplay have been getting steadily poppier, abandoning their soft rock sound in favour of dance and EDM. Their last album saw guest appearances from Beyoncé and Tove Lo and was characterised by upbeat, dancey tracks far removed from the moodier atmosphere of their earlier work.
But new track ‘All I Can Think About Is You’ is a return to Coldplay’s brooding, reflective roots. Shunning the big production, the radio choruses and DJ features, Coldplay have gone back to basics, stripping down their sound to its rawest form, creating a track that sighs with sadness and reverberates with a determined desire.
Not since 2014’s Ghost Stories have Christ Martin and Co been in such a pensive mood. ‘All I Think About Is You’ shimmers with quiet melancholy, Martin’s voice echoing over a plaintive guitar riff. It’s easy to forget, what with their recent spate of dance hits, that Coldplay have always excelled at crafting sublime sadpop, but their latest track could comfortably sit alongside the likes of ‘Fix You’ and ‘Speed Of Sound’ as an example of their unerring ability to draw beauty out of heartbreak.
Chris Martin has previously joked that Coldplay have had to settle for being a ‘shit Radiohead’, but there are definitely favourable comparisons to be made between Coldplay’s latest track and the oeuvre of Thom Yorke’s band of mope-rockers. ‘All I Can Think About Is You’ is reminiscent of Radiohead’s last album A Moon Shaped Pool with its twinkle of soft piano and detached, desolate lyrics. Also like several recent Radiohead tracks, ‘All I Can Think About Is You’ builds into something more urgent and chaotic as it nears its close, descending into a fraught, stuttering breakdown as the track reaches its clattering crescendo.
After a ubiquitous and bland stream of singles, Coldplay have done well to steer themselves back into more familiar territory. ‘All I Can Think About Is You’ is a welcome return to an earthier sound, and one that is hopefully here to stay.