Deep Album Cuts Vol. 51: Coldplay

Coldplay will be releasing their 7th album, A Head Full Of Dreams, in December, just 18 months after their lowest selling album to date, Ghost Stories. Rushing out an unusually fast follow-up to a poorly received album is something of a pop music tradition, but this is a first for Coldplay, who've been steadily releasing blockbusters every 3 years for over a decade. And there have also been some vague implications that the band is either breaking up or going on a longer hiatus than usual after this album. The Stargate-produced Dreams seems to continue the band's unapologetic embrace of the pop stratosphere they've found themselves in, even if they haven't gone full-on Maroon 5. It's not hard to imagine this as the transitional project to set up a Max Martin-produced Chris Martin solo album or something.

Of course, Coldplay have always been the brazenly careerist pop extreme of their era of British 'indie,' making the Radiohead/Jeff Buckley axis of influence into something more upbeat and universal much like U2 did with their postpunk predecessors. They're easy to hate, but they're also easy to enjoy, at least in small doses. And even though they're best as a singles band, they've racked up a decent number of album tracks that I enjoy.

Coldplay Deep Album Cuts (Spotify playlist):

1. A Hopeful Transmission
2. Don't Let It Break Your Heart
3. Warning Sign
4. Lovers In Japan / Reign Of Love
5. Low
6. Everything's Not Lost / Life Is For Living
7. Always In My Head
8. Rainy Day
9. U.F.O.
10. Don't Panic
11. 42
12. Parachutes
13. A Rush Of Blood To The Head
14. X&Y
15. Death And All His Friends / The Escapist
16. Mylo Xyloto
17. Spies
18. Green Eyes
19. Strawberry Swing

Tracks 6, 10, 12 and 17 from Parachutes (2000)
Tracks 3, 13 and 18 from A Rush Of Blood To The Head (2002)
Tracks 5 and 14 from X&Y (2005)
Tracks 4, 11, 15 and 19 from Viva La Vida or Death And All His Friends (2008)
Track 8 from Prospekt's March EP (2008)
Tracks 1, 2, 9 and 16 from Mylo Xyloto (2011)
Track 7 from Ghost Stories (2014)

Usually I'm a stickler for what qualifies as a 'deep cut.' but with a band like Coldplay, who have tons of songs that were issued as promotional singles in certain territories but will never be on their inevitable Greatest Hits compilation, I fudged the rules a little more. "Don't Panic" was a single but I never heard it outside the album, and I wanted to pair it with "42" for the Hitchhiker's Guide angle (Douglas Adams references being one of the many things Coldplay got secondhand from Radiohead). Viva La Vida is my favorite album by the band, but most of it was released as singles in some form or another, including the incredible "Lovers In Japan," and "Strawberry Swing," which is now perhaps most famous for being sampled in a Frank Ocean song (which is terrible, I have to say).

I had to cut through some really dopey songs to get down to this list of ones I like. And even though there are moments on even these songs that can be embarrassing, Coldplay's facility for hooks, and a certain accessible flair for pretentious ornamentation, has made for some really nice records. "Everything's Not Lost" and "Warning Sign" could've been hit singles at a time when they had more radio-ready songs than they knew what to do with, "Low" really grew on me recently as a standout from the band's low point X&Y, and "Rainy Day" is a fantastically weird Viva La Vida outtake from the album's companion EP. And there's also title tracks for almost every album, some more substantial than others.

Previous playlists in the Deep Album Cuts series:
Vol. 1: Brandy
Vol. 2: Whitney Houston
Vol. 3: Madonna
Vol. 4: My Chemical Romance
Vol. 5: Brad Paisley
Vol. 6: George Jones
Vol. 7: The Doors
Vol. 8: Jay-Z
Vol. 9: Robin Thicke
Vol. 10: R. Kelly
Vol. 11: Fall Out Boy
Vol. 12: TLC
Vol. 13: Pink
Vol. 14: Queen
Vol. 15: Steely Dan
Vol. 16: Trick Daddy
Vol. 17: Paramore
Vol. 18: Elton John
Vol. 19: Missy Elliott
Vol. 20: Mariah Carey
Vol. 21: The Pretenders
Vol. 22: "Weird Al" Yankovic
Vol. 23: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Vol. 24: Foo Fighters
Vol. 25: Counting Crows
Vol. 26: T.I.
Vol. 27: Jackson Browne
Vol. 28: Usher
Vol. 29: Mary J. Blige
Vol. 30: The Black Crowes
Vol. 31: Ne-Yo
Vol. 32: Blink-182
Vol. 33: One Direction
Vol. 34: Kelly Clarkson
Vol. 35: The B-52's
Vol. 36: Ludacris
Vol. 37: They Might Be Giants
Vol. 38: T-Pain
Vol. 39: Snoop Dogg
Vol. 40: Ciara
Vol. 41: Creedence Clearwater Revival
Vol. 42: Dwight Yoakam
Vol. 43: Demi Lovato
Vol. 44: Prince
Vol. 45: Duran Duran
Vol. 46: Rihanna
Vol. 47: Janet Jackson
Vol. 48: Sara Bareilles
Vol. 49: Mötley Crüe
Vol. 50: The Who
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