Today Coldplay released the video for ‘Midnight‘, a totally unanticipated new song. Beyonce did it with her latest album and everyone seemed to think it was a masterstroke. I’m all for surprises, but I’m also struggling to see the advantage, apart from rewarding fan’s patience with a few pleasurable minutes of realising their favoured artist hasn’t just been swilling Gout de Diamants for a couple of years.
I’m writing this after one listen, and as I like to think everyone knows, opinions of songs can change quite drastically the more they are listened to, but there’s no harm in chucking out some first impressions and early musings.
‘Midnight’ opens with an enchanting electronic aroma, which remains throughout, and is soon joined by some quite heavily modified vocal harmonies. Layers of simple electronic noise are built up over the next couple of minutes, though not so much that we begin to expect a classic Coldplay climax. That never really happens, and I almost wish it did. It continues with some largely inaudible vocals and builds a little bit more, but runs out of gas before anything memorable can happen.
Coldplay is made up of four proven talented musicians, listen to any of their previous albums (especially the first four) and you’ll realise that, but I can’t help but feel they’re trying too hard to be different, all while retaining their humongous popularity, which really isn’t going to happen after five albums without sacrificing an awful lot. Fair enough the piano and bass are audible, but that’s about as far as the showcase of instrumental ability goes, which I think is a complete waste.
The song doesn’t feel like a single to me, I can’t see it being released, it’s too forgettable, largely down to the absence of any lyrical substance. Chris Martin has an unprecedented knack for writing a lyric or a song that you will never forget. EVERYONE can sing a bit of Yellow, EVERYONE can sing a bit of The Scientist, EVERYONE can sing a bit of Fix You, EVERYONE can sing a bit of Viva La Vida, and EVERYONE can definitely sing a bit of PARADISE, they are (as much as some may wish they weren’t) incredibly well written and unforgettable. ‘Midnight’ does not stick in my head one bit.
When you’re a band as unquestionably massive as Coldplay, you can do pretty much whatever you want, so I can’t fault them for doing just that. But it pains me to see them throwing away some of their well-earned integrity just to keep up with the times. As I said earlier, this could well just be a one off release to make people aware they are still going, and as a legitimately obsessive Coldplay fan, I really fucking hope that’s all it is.