“Midnight”: Coldplay’s Unexpected New Single

by David McDevitt (International Affairs/Economics), published February 25th 2014

Screen Shot 2014-02-26 at 1.21.04 AM
Coldplay can probably be ranked among the most consistently successful acts of the 21st century. Chris Martin and pals have been putting out chart-topping singles and selling out arenas since their debut, Parachute, at the turn of the century. Earlier this morning, a cryptic tweet led up to the release of a new single “Midnight”—supposedly a sneak peek at their currently untitled sixth album due out later this year. After a few listens, I’m left with the nagging question: Did they get bored?

Very rarely do you see a band with such longevity change itself; usually once they find a formula that sells, they ride that wave until they get old and people get bored. (I’m looking at you Metallica.) Coldplay looked like it could’ve fallen into that trend, with each successive album moving towards the arena rock sound that earned them spots on the Billboard Top 100 and away from the sound that classified them as “the next Radiohead” at the time of their debut. Yet with the release of “Midnight,” they’ve gone against this grain, resonating with the sounds of Beach House or Bon Iver. They’ve created a track that glides pleasantly along while accompanied by an infrared music video featuring moments reminiscent of Thom Yorke’s “Lotus Flower” dance.

The track is ambitious in its own sense. It transitions out of its hypnotic, dream-like melody into a sweeping synth build that doesn’t quite culminate in a satisfying payoff, but ends without a sour note. The track’s ambition lies in what it implies for the future. If this sound is an example of what is to be expected on their next album, it could make or break their career. I see only two outcomes: their new album is heralded as their best work, raising the question of what defines popular music in the 21st century, or it falls flat and their careers whither as fans yearn for the days of “old” Coldplay’s arena anthems and ballads.

This track is the perfect tease. I can honestly say that I have no idea which direction this album will head in. It isn’t magnificent, leaving me jumping with excitement for their new record; but it also isn’t disappointing, leaving me fearful for the future of the band. It’s good, but it’s only good enough to leave me curious…


One Response to ““Midnight”: Coldplay’s Unexpected New Single”

  1. Ringo Starr says:

    You are wrong! This is the worst song that coldplay has come out with.