I dislike Coldplay, and most of my friends know this. I would normally keep this sort of thing to myself, but one thing that bugs me is that, if you type into the search box on google, "What type of band is Coldplay?", it will tell you they are an alternative, post-Britpop, pop rock, pop piano rock band. While I'm not really sure what this second half of genres means since I don't live in Great Britain, I do agree with the pop rock title. However, many people see Coldplay as the leader in the alternative and even, by extension, the indie movement of music and with this I strongly disagree for multiple reasons.
For one, alternative and indie music should be something that sounds new and exciting. Coldplay employs common pop elements seen before. Their rhythms and lyrics are also extremely repetitive unoriginal, highlighting a lack of creativity. I frankly find songs like Yellow and A Sky Full of Stars boring and annoying. Often the main singer's pitch reaches high and out of key as well. As Maureen Parks states, "Coldplay is blander than water and whinier than a baby crying on a plane."
Before the 1990s, alternative meant counter-cultural, but Grunge bands such as Nirvana and Pearl Jam, Punk Revival bands like Green Day, and Britpop such as Blur, Rufus, and Oasis entered the mainstream. These bands began to achieve more exposure, cutting off the large trend of independent production from the 1980s. Coldplay didn't gain popularity until 2000 with it's release of Yellow in Parachutes, so even if one did believe they were the leader of in the alternative and indie movement, they were never the leader, and they definitely aren't now.
Moreover, at Coldplay's official Web Site, Martin explained the band's motto: "We were trying to say that there is an alternative. That you can try to be catchy without being slick, poppy without being pop, and you can be uplifting without being pompous.... We wanted to be a reaction against soulless rubbish." My reaction to this quote is that while I understand their goal, I understand my dislike of the band with more clarity; I feel like this reveals that they don't give their music everything they have. It's either all or nothing in the arts. I believe you can be fully catchy, they are pop, and their songs don't go the extra mile in the right direction to be uplifting.
Finally, like a television show that a channel just won't stop producing because it made a lot of money at one point, their latest album is the worst yet. Ethan Suhr states, "What doesn't work for me about A Head Full of Dreams is that it just seems like white noise. If an artist can make me really care about the music they're making, then I have respect for it." As previously mentioned, a huge goal of the band's has been to uplift. Commentary from pitchfork.com states, "But on the band's seventh album, A Head Full of Dreams, the band's relentless campaign to raise our spirits is liable to induce altitude sickness." In addition, a point raised in a review on the latest album from pitchfork.com mentions how the idea from the lyric, "we live in a beautiful world" from Coldplay's first ever track has not been expanded off of in the course of their career. They have only intensified their fascination with the beauty.
After all of this discussion about Coldplay's genre, my friend Ethan made a very good point. He said,
personally, I think classifying music inoto genres is completely meaningless and ultimately detrimental to artists. I personally could care less how Coldplay is categorized (and what do these categories even mean anyways?), what matters is the music that they make."
While I would like to completely agree with this notion, these labels do exist, and they do have some meaning to me, because I look at music genres like I look at the labels of the clothes I buy. It's not that I always buy designer brands, I'm just interested. So maybe I shouldn't dislike Coldplay because they are labeled as alternative, but rather respectfully dislike the music they make.