Opinion: Why people hate Coldplay

Revised: May 18, 2014 by JB

What is the near-obsession this musical generation has with either loving or (mostly) hating Coldplay?  It’s not because Coldplay sucks, because honestly, they don’t.  It’s not because their albums are some of the worst of all time, because they aren’t (let’s be serious – do they really stack up against some of the worst albums of all time from other uber-popular pop groups?  No way).

And it’s not because they’re assholes, because very clearly they are not.   So why are they the most polarizing band of the last decade?


Getting old sucks

In 2000 Coldplay became THE band of the new millennium and finally, more than a decade later, their light is (slowly) beginning to fade.  The Coldplay marketing engine now hype their new releases more than even the fans do.  That’s an inevitable twist of fate that didn’t exist in, say 2005 when Coldplay could release an album of bedroom snores and have it go quad-platinum.   They’ve outgrown both their commercial and new fan peak.  As with most bands that merge into their late 30’s (Chris Martin is now 37) they lose that connectivity with the younger demographic range that drives pop culture through the universe.   37 year-old men and women do not drive pop culture – they mostly observe it.  It’s the younger generation that feeds it and we either jump on board with them or we simply shake our heads in disbelief.

Artistically great? – almost, but not quite

Coldplay is the Lebron James or Alex Rodriguez of pop music.   They want everyone to like them which makes 88% of the public hate them and they suffer from it.  But their problems begin artistically.  They have never released the epic album that sets them apart.   There is no Dark Side of the Moon in their catalog.  There is no Achtung Baby, no Nevermind, no Sgt. Pepper, no OK Computer,  no Sign O The Times, no Definitely Maybe – hell they can’t match the best 4 albums of R.E.M.’s catalog from the 1980’s/early 1990’s.  Pick your favorite (or what you consider the best) Coldplay album (let’s go with A Rush of Blood To The Head) for argument’s sake.   Does that album really match up to anything listed above?   Now we all look back at things more fondly as we get older and reflect.  I’m sure 18 years from now when A Rush of Blood is reissued full of outtakes it will receive that 5-star rating by the mags that place it on a higher pedestal than they did originally.   But while A Rush of Blood sold millions it did not breakthrough any new barriers – none of the Coldplay releases have.  A Rush of Blood did not create a new music renaissance like Nevermind did, or even The White Stripes.  It did not take Coldplay in a bold new direction like Achtung did for U2 and OK Computer did for Radiohead.   A Rush of Blood is a charming, melodic, truly outstanding pop record.  And that’s all it is.   We enjoy it.   But it doesn’t move mountains or break through walls.  You simply don’t see Thom Yorke bringing Rihanna into the Radiohead studio, and there’s a good reason why – because Yorke doesn’t need to.  I sense Chris Martin feels he has to, and that’s where things begin to go askew.

The one-man show blues

What I give Coldplay the most credit for is a self-acknowledgment of their place in pop history.  They admit they like to record sing-a-long tunes.  Martin has admitted he’ll never be known for his lyrics, just his melodies.  They freely admit they aren’t as good as Radiohead.   Amen, and thank you.   By admitting that they’ve tried to diffuse the tribe of haters at their front door who believe that most of the general record-buying public equates record sales with a reflection of the quality of their art.    Where Coldplay goes wrong is with their predictability.   They release an album every 3 years.  Each album has an entirely different set of colors on the cover to make you think something new has arrived but it hasn’t.  And it won’t.  They simply aren’t talented enough collectively.  Chris Martin is simply not quite in the same league as Bono, or Thom Yorke, or Cobain and most importantly there is no one else within Coldplay to provide that dynamic (often conflicting) musical tug-of-war that so many groups benefit from.   Some of the greatest Beatles songs were recorded when McCartney and Lennon hated each other – but who cares they hated each other.  Because of that hair-pulling relationship the Beatles made great music together that was superior than what their solo careers produced.   I sense that Chris Martin sorely lacks that in Coldplay.  One-man shows rarely succeed at the highest level unless your name is Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix or Jack White.  Martin needs someone in the band to step up and tell him to quit sounding like his best friend just died on every 3rd song.  He needs someone to step up and write great songs that sound nothing like his own.

Somebody send a dozen cookies please

Chris Martin writes excellent pop songs.   I buy their new releases eagerly.  However I listen more out of curiosity at their attempts to change direction artistically than I do in a belief that they’ve finally released their White Album.   I can absorb the disproportionate amount of popularity they’ve received.  I can absorb the innocuous presence of their music which by now everyone knows has been famously labeled by New York Times critic Jon Pareles as “the most insufferable band of the decade”.  And Mr. Pareles is right.  You listen to the big chunk of Coldplay’s catalog and you feel compelled to bake a dozen cookies and walk them over to their front door in hopes it will make them feel better.   Insufferability and innocuous tunes do not motivate a generation of music followers to greater heights – they just sell records and fill arenas.  In the long run Coldplay will be looked upon as slightly underrated by critics.  Coldplay’s legion of fans placed them on a pedestal that the quality of their music couldn’t quite live up to.   Instead of being indie pop icons like they could have been, they were able to cash in and inadvertently become a musical dartboard for millions during the last 12 years.  Sad, but true.

P.S.  And yes, I’ll be anxiously buying their next album – in about 3 years I assume  🙂



38 Responses to Opinion: Why people hate Coldplay

  1. someone says:

    Who cares if their music sounds the same? It’s the feelings that count when listening to music. And contrary to what most people think, I find Coldplay music very inspiring and uplifting. It all depends on how you listen to the song. People listen to the surface of Coldplay songs and then they’re all like “that was so stupid and depressing why can’t they do anything else?” Sometimes the most encouraging songs are the ones that let you recognize the hurt your feeling, but then they make you want to get out of the situation. And to the people who think that Chris Martin’s voice is annoying, shut up. Chris knows he’s not super talented, and he doesn’t try to claim he is. But part of the wonder of Coldplay is that a guy with a decent but not outstanding voice can sing such beautiful songs. And Chris isn’t running a one man show. True Coldplay fans have recognized that there are many non-vocalized songs on their albums, and even back-up lyrics by Guy, Jonny, and Will. Chris even said in an interview that he LIKED stepping back and letting there be more guitar-solos and drum fills because it made leveled out the band instead of placing one of the members on a pedestal. And Chris said that he didn’t care if people liked the band. Everybody is entitled to their own opinion, and Coldplay wasn’t searching to win everyone over. I don’t get why people have to rip everything apart. I think it’s because they’re jealous they have nothing that they can connect to and inspire them.

  2. Quentin Driver says:

    I would agree with the last reviewer in saying that Coldplay “wasn’t searching to win everyone over.” When Coldplay first caught worldwide attention in the early 2000s, everyone seemed to labeling them the next U2, or Radiohead, etc. What people didn’t realize was that they weren’t. Even Coldplay knew it. They were, as was mentioned above, mainly a one-man show, and even their so-called one-man show (Martin) really wasn’t any Kurt Cobain or Thom Yorke.
    In the end, I think what I most appreciate most about Coldplay (and I believe one day most critics will feel similarly) is the fact that, despite not being as talented or creative as the Radioheads, U2s, and Nirvanas, they managed to show what a band with such limited musical potential can do with music. Not every great band has to change the face of rock, like some people think.

  3. Savannah Wilcox says:

    Coldplay is the best band in the world. No other band in the future and in the past has and will EVER met up to their standards. I feel so sorry for all you people that really believe this bullshit. I hope someday you will open up your eyes (and ears) and realize what you were missing in life.

    Coldplay isn’t trying to match up to your terrible standards (or anyone else’s) they are simple just 4 friends making music THE WAY THEY WANT (coldplay isn’t trying to please your stubborn ass.) You obviously don’t know anything about them if you think they are “trying” to be good.

    Every single world written in the article you wrote is complete bullshit and you my friend have wasted your time.

    go fuck yourself 🙂

    • twths says:

      Thank you for the comments Savannah. Please remember to buy a t-shirt also. 🙂

    • Madison Markel says:

      THANK YOU SAVANNAH! I couldn’t have said it any better myself!

      • Dfglntr says:

        Poor Savannah, you need a hug from Chris Martin. Your overt hostility saddens me. Go home and listen to your Cold Plate albums. Please.

    • Jon says:

      Oh, Savannah. There’s a world of music out there, a lot of it much, much better than Coldplay. Even in the world of pop music, there’s so much out there that’s so much better.

      That said, there’s a lot to the four-friends-playing-music-their-way thing. I do respect that, and I love that you vibe with that. I’m sure the band does, too.

      But man, oh, man, if you think Coldplay is the be-all end-all of music, you have so much discovering to do. I hope you enjoy it!

  4. chillax says:

    Oh I disagree to everyone’s opinion, Coldplay still rocks especially in PH.I Hope the band will have a concert tour here sometime.I really love the beat of their new albums..

    • Coldplay still sucks. says:

      Am also from the PH. Coldplay still sucks.

  5. Vickie says:

    I’ve never been a fan of Coldplay. Never will be. Their music is drawn out and boring to me. Just watched their latest video on vh1 countdown. Who the hell puts roses on a guitar and carries multiple instruments around?? Sorry Coldplay. Ya don’t impress me.

    • janet says:

      Who do you like?? Taylor Swift???

      • justin fn beibler says:

        taylor swift and coldplay should do a song together using autotune of course because neither one can sing

  6. Eric Wolf says:

    I’m tortured with Sirius radio all day at work. I kept on hearing this really irritating song about 50 times a day. It was really sucky and full of stupid lyrics and yodelling. I finally found out that it was Cold Play. OMG they suck. I would rather listen to Nickelback 20 hours a day for the rest of my life than have to listen to 8 hours of Cold Play.

  7. jp high says:

    I’ve always found coldplay to be the decaf version of radiohead

  8. Wilson says:

    I don’t fully aree with this article but then again I’m a huge Coldplay fan! I do very much like Radiohead and U2 is probably my 2nd favorite band ever! But even I know that Radiohead has made at least one AWFUL album(Poblo Honey) and U2 has had some tossers. Coldplay haven’t had a bad album yet and they probably never will! AROBTTH is a masterpiece, the melodies in that album are at full throttle with songs like “The Scientist” “Clocks” and “In My Place”! Chris Martin is a genius and I think he is more talented than Bono and Thom both lyrically and musically(including range). I love Bono but I don’t see him writing a song like “The Scientist” or “Fix You”! Same with Thom. I think Coldplay is the best of the best, best chemistry, best melodies and oh best frontman ever!

    • Freya Grust says:

      This is the funniest thing I’ve ever read. There is no such thing as bad Radiohead album; Pablo Honey is their worst, but it’s by no means “AWFUL” as you put it. Both Thom and Bono are better musically and, have you heard Paranoid Android? Coldplay is basically Radiohead but instead of progressing to OK Computer, they’re stuck at The Bends, and Chris even admitted that he tries to sound like Thom and that he’d “give his left ball to write anything as good as OK Computer” so think again before you make assumptions. Will any Coldplay album be remembered 20 years after their creation? Because I know OK Computer and Kid A will…

  9. Charlie says:

    I suppose it depends what you look for in music. Coldplay breaks no barriers and is bland. As an instrumental musician I listen to the groove and instrumental harmony more than lyrics so this is probably why I find them so boring. I wouldn’t find them annoying if they weren’t so hyped up and didn’t give my such an impression of having big egos. My life will be better when they aren’t so inescapable.

  10. CrouchingWeasel says:

    I hate Coldplay because they suck, really really suck They are THE most boring band I’ve ever had the misfortune to be subjected to. If one could liquefy 100% pure boredom & then drown to death in it, that is what it feels like to listen to Coldplay.

    • Iarisa says:

      This is to all u people out there who hate coldplay– eagerly do take note:
      Coldplay are an ordinary band, its wat they do that makes them extraordinary. Freakin’ open up ur ears n u will know wat they really r. They hav an incredible aspiration– most bands don’t even hav that. Their music are inspirational, gentle, soft. They r the most decent band. They just don’t get out and do stunts that people don’t respect them for. Coldplay isn’t trying to proof anything to anyone, jst don’t accuse them of something they r not. Just don’t judge one of the greatest bands in the world as if u can make better music. If u can, I would love to hear it. They have won the most respected awards in the world among the most respected bands, have u?

  11. TomJones says:

    First of all.I’m a fan of Coldplay. I don’t know why, but i like the sort of music they make. I’m not that critical about my music, I don’t care if the songs i hear don’t get the awards or if other people just don’t like them. I like it ,and that’s it. Now coldplay is a great band,not as in they changed the face of rock music or created ground braking songs in all their albums. But great as in they made music a lot of people like including me. A lot of people think that their music sucks,well to them i say this,THEN DON’T FUCKING LISTEN TO IT AND DON’T GO BLABBERING ON ABOUT HOW MUCH YOU FUCKING HATE THEM.People can express their feelings but come on! the haters are pissin’ on them without the courtesy of calling it rain. I read the comments and i’m glad the fans stand up for Coldplay. I also read the article and i do agree with some of it. Coldplay are getting old,it does feel like a one man show. But i also say , so fucking what! No one said you have to dislike or hate music that’s written by old guys or because one guy contributed to most of it. I also read about the joke about the cookies and did not find it funny.Chris Martin sings like he’s about to cry i’ll give you that ,but that’s part of their music. They write sad -shit ,not exactly but their songs do have sadness and loss and other shit ,and i like it. Goddamnit their fans like it! I really don’t get why people hate them. I mean god knows i get not liking a band. I probably hate bands the Coldplay haters build shrines to in their basements. But I don’t go out of my way to talk shit about them. That’s what i personally hate, this growing negativity in people torwards something they don’t like. Lastly i’ll say this , I like Coldplay,their music. It moves me and also a shit-load of other people. Haters fucking deal with it!! 🙂 [ To the writer of the article: I’ve been very political about what i wrote so far in my comment, I’ve not made any crazy statements. I’ve agreed with some of what you said. But now my inner fan is screaming to say something, you said ,A rush of blood wasn’t that good.you compared it to albums like Archtung baby of U2 and OK computer of Radiohead.Well ….. Fuck it.fuck U2 ,fuck Radiohead.and screw you. A rush of blood is the greatest album ever made….. AND Viva la vida is the greatest song ever written]

    • twths says:

      Thank you for the comment. Are you as excited about the new Radiohead album this year as I am?? 🙂


  12. gyrone says:

    Pointless vitriolic article.

    I’ve listened to 2 Radiohead albums – OK Computer and Kid A. They were mind-blowing and Kid A especially just takes me to another place.

    With Coldplay I keep coming back to their songs because they write songs about everything. They write songs about loss, kings, murder, sea waves, life, death, daylight and so much more. Every single song has a theme or feeling to it – and they have written a LOT of songs.

  13. Elida says:

    They are soooooo powerful god I love them so muchhhhh.

  14. Kristina says:

    I seriously for the life of me can’t understand how people can say Coldplay is boring. I guess these people associate -every- slow song with boring. I am a techno/electronica junky, I freaking LOVE upbeat-makes-me-dance kind of music and will admit I’m not a fan of -most- slow songs that are played on the radio. However, something about Coldplay’s music is just absolutely beautiful, uplifting and I find myself getting emotional listening to them (depending on the song). I think it’s pretty sad those of you that say they are boring don’t get the same feeling I do when I listen to them because they literally give me chills when I listen to them. I’m sure I could listen to their albums day in and day out and never get tired of them.

  15. seper says:

    hey, i’m a big coldplay fan, and I’ve got to say, this article was really awesome. right now that I’m writing this, it’s been an hour that I’m searching the web to know people’s opinion about coldplay. Most of the things i read, were irrational ideas that coldplay haters had, or fans that referred to those haters as stupid, simply because they didn’t agree that coldplay is the best band ever. 🙁
    but this article, was quite different. I’m glad that there are some people out there who can really analyze music, and think about it in an artistic way. it’s kinda hard to find people who don’t just rant about the musicians they like/hate.

  16. Ab says:

    haters gonna hate hate hate
    Yeah , the pop song! This article is written by a 17 yo kid who loves watching JB,Taylor,Katy and all the other pop stuffs.
    Coldplay is by far the best band of the century. Chris doesn’t have the vest voice but he admits it and he doesn’t try to become one. They live in their own way and they aren’t a one man band. If u call them a one man band, then i’ll call all the other bands, one man band. Having a famous lead singer doesn’t mean that it is a one man band, chris martin wasn’t chris martin before joining coldplay. He is just the lead singer, not Coldplay.
    You can hate Coldplay but don’t reference to it with other stars. Imagine the world full of top stars, who’ll attend whose concerts?. Who are you btw? Have you ever been in Chris Master’s restroom? And the pop songs u are talking about doesn’t live long, hit today and forget tommorow, every week, the billboards updated its chart, we don’t care who is the no.1. If some video is good or a lot of skin is shown, then it hits no.1. They don’t care about good musics, good songs.
    And don’t write such type of article again.. I hope u are dead. Go Fuck Yourself

  17. billabong says:

    Such vitriol from the Coldplay fans. The author states in the beginning that he doesn’t understand why people are so polarized by band, & I would have to agree. i don’t really like them, but I don’t lose sleep over them either. Kudos to the commenter who recognizes the reasoned tone of the article, & to the girl who feels sorry for those who can’t appreciate the depth of feeling the music brings to her. Well said, & certainly more reasonable than “go fuck yourself” & “I hope you die”. As I said before though, I don’t really care for them, & have trouble understanding the degree of vitriol this issue seems to generate w/fans. I myself find Coldplay to be boring & insipid (please note: spelled right mr. nitpicker). I liked the song “Yellow”, & nothing after. I cannot understand how people are so overwhelmingly obsessed w/what is, to me, such a mediocre band. But that’s me. Many of my musical choices would be rated mediocre or even awful by others, & that’s what keeps the world spinning

  18. Andrej says:

    Hello… opinion from 47y old man from Maribor, Slovenia… From 1994 I became a huge fan of Oasis…Definitely Maybe and What’s the story Morning Glory was my favorite albums… until 2000, when God give us COLDPLAY… since then nothing can compare with them… after first three epic albums (Parachute, A Rush of Blood to the Head, X&Y) I was a bit dissapointed at the beggining of listening of their fourth album Viva la Vida… cos I was expecting “old” Coldplay, but step by step i realized that Viva la Vida is actually brilliant album… the same story goes with Mylo Xyloto… Ghost… and now with A Head Full of Dreams…

    It’s true that I’ll never understand how come that somebody actually can not hear the magic of Coldplay music, but then again…we are different…

    Coldplay is something most beautiful, what could hit the human being. And that’s why I will come on June 16th to Wembley… to see and hear something most beautiful, what God send to us…

    Coldplay is life, Coldplay is magic, Coldplay is joy, Coldplay is hope…

    Last song from their last album: “Up&Up” with Noel Gallagher is otherwise the short answer to all people, who has ears, but are still deaf.

    • janet says:

      Andrej totally agree with you, Coldplay has some sort of magical sound to their music, can’t quite describe it. Very much like Oasis (not exactly, but that same “feel”)

      I always feel happy when I hear it. Why must all music today be hip hop/rap to be considered good and sell music?
      So ticked off that on Twitter after the Super Bowl they were put down?
      Have we all lost our minds?? Beyoncé??? And the other dude with the hat???

  19. Tuggles.pw says:

    I am a massive Coldplay fan and is worth saying to the world that this band was and still is the best band in the world. Simply for 1 reason its 4 child hood mates singing and making music in a band and after 16 years still fucking love it like they did back in 1999.

  20. Ann says:

    Why do people get so aggressive about the choices others make? I went to see Coldplay live and loved every minute of it but wouldn’t want or expect to impose my views on anyone else, neither would I want them to tell me what they thought I should be listening to wearing or watching. Of course we will continue to DISCUSS impressions of the latest film, stage show and musical offering but there’s not a cat in hell’s chance that we will agree each and every time….but that’s great, it what makes people who they are. I’m not going to end with a curse or a suggestion that those who don’t agree should ****themselves -life’s too short to spend it being so angry, so I’ll agree to disagree and carry on enjoying the music I like whether it pleases you or not and hope you are able to do the same x

    • Ian Wallace says:

      I’m kind of with you Ann. People do get quite aggressive on their views and opinions of Bands, i.e. Coldplay. Everybody likes different bands for different reasons and it’s just their own choice. I’m 55 and been into music for 50 years. I have such a wide interest in all sorts of music and I’ve heard it all…over and over. If your interest is talented musicians, in my “opinion” Frank Zappa was a master genius. Someone else would say he was a master weirdo. And someone else would say “Frank who?” If your interest is whatever makes you feel good, then anything is possible. Christ l think Janis Ian’s “Between the lines” album is an absolute classic, and who really cares. I personally don’t like Coldplay because in my “opinion” they’re a boring, uninteresting chick band. I don’t care what people think of my opinions, l just choose not to shout it out to everyone.

      • janet says:

        I am not with Ann. It’s not anger.

        It’s being passionate about your tastes and when another disses someone you think is awesome, it brings out
        “defensive claws”

        Love Coldplay…Clocks is one of my faves.

        Like I said above, they have a “distinctive” tone to their songs. Let me see what is it?? Oh yeah a “happy” sound. Love Chris’ antics on stage. Why was it okay for M Jagger to sway around but Chris can’t move?? Plus he’s funny and cute, he and James Corden on the Late Show…adorable!!!!

  21. Judy ma☺hison says:

    I am sick of the sh—- graffiti piano and t- shirts as well as Chris martin only know how to jump up and down on his tip toes.Graffiti, piano,tip toes. Graffiti, piano, tip toes…on

  22. S M D says:

    The reason why so many people hate ColdPlay is simple : One can not live in a world of endless self made drama while indulging in self pity and pretending to be an endless victim of life, when listening to ColdPlay

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