By Lucy Cage
So I came across this post from the notoriously indiscriminate Stereogum the other day: The 10 Best Coldplay Covers.
Obviously - obviously - the very concept of ‘The 10 Best Coldplay Covers’ might cause some among you to spew yer beans and of course the link attracted a rash of predictable sneers on Facebook (“Who in their right mind would cover Coldplay?” (nine “likes”); “Best and Coldplay is a misnomer for me”; “Hey! This just in, Coldplay sucks! So sick of hearing about them”) and a fistful of plain and simple “Ugh”s on the site itself. However, in the spirit of adventure, and given that at least one of the recordings Stereogum picked had already rung my bell last year, I decided to listen to all of the buggers. So you didn’t have to. I hope you’re grateful, you bastards (and, to be fair to Stereogum, they did – thank the merciful Lord of All Things Sentimental – omit the offerings of Avril Lavigne, Mike Posner, Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, U2, Natasha Bedingfield, the Kooks and Pixie Lott. For not being good enough. Ha!).
Anyway, if you dismiss the whole thing wholesale you’ll be chucking out the Pet Shop Boys with the bathwater, which would be ridiculous: they have history with this kind of thing (de-Bono-ing ‘Where The Streets Have No Name’). Their ‘Viva La Vida’/'Domino Dancing’ shakes up Coldplay’s pomp extravanganza with their own song to make a perfect PSB cocktail of glossy melancholia, a mélange of brittle, percussive spikes and cherry-coloured disco. If you revile it unheard cos it was (partially) written by Chris Volvo Martin, you’re not only a closed-eared craven idiot but are missing out on a shiny pop moment. Really, just open your minds and dance, ya snobby fucks.
Chris Martin’s songs suffer as much from being spawned by a beaming, macrobiotic, perma-stoodent twonk as they do from the sentimental nonsense they articulate so cackhandedly: as mewling naked baby songs – at least the early ones that are mostly represented here – they might, when nurtured by different hands, thrive and grow into something other than Coldplay’s cheap sub-U2 thrills. Remove the twonk and his band from the equation and who knows where they’d go? The prospect of a Noah & The Whale/Coldplay combo struck ice into my heart but because I’d already met the glittered-up incarnation of ‘Viva La Vida’ I had high(ish) hopes for the pop princesses on the list; I took a deep breath and pressed play.
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