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The 10 Best Coldplay Covers?!

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The Noah & The Whale track was worse than I’d feared. I can’t talk about it.

Ellie Goulding blatters and yodels unnecessarily. I didn’t like.

Mark Ronson does parpy horns, of course he does. It could be any raw material beneath that brass.

Alicia Keys booms it up in her customary shiny way: it’s hardly ‘Empire State Of Mind’ but she grapples with ‘Clocks’ tune and manages to wrestle it into some kind of glitzy, urban shape.

Robyn makes a Robyn song out her chosen track, ‘Every Teardrop A Waterfall’: she does her fragile icy pop thing, pares the track down to its sparse and pining bones. It’s fine. Perhaps more than.

Scala & Kolacny Brothers keep the sappysoppy spirit of ‘Yellow’, but lift it up somewhere else by throwing a massed, multi-harmonising, fuck-off girls’ choir at it, which is something that I’d recommend for pretty much anything.

And, y’know what, Willie Nelson scratching and quavering his way through ‘The Scientist’ is not unappealing.

No, forget that: I’m still getting swayed by notions of cool. Willie Nelson’s ‘The Scientist’ is a thing of beauty. That’s what age and grain can do to pomposity. That’s how the gears can be shifted so a song doesn’t come blaring at us through the foghorn call of privilege and youth and instead charms its way into hearts with the easy, unassuming inevitability of an old hand’s experience; all that accumulation of time and talent and life that his voice carries with it have made the song something rather wonderful. The gentle re-shaping of the tune into a sweet gnarled beauty, the addition of weeping slide guitar, the regret-drenched country thrum he bends it into: this is the work of a very great performer indeed.

So anyone who sneers at the very concept of “the best” Coldplay covers is not only making a joke so easy that a snail could crack it but has failed to grasp something simple about the nature of song: it’s not the singer, it’s not the tune, it’s not the words, it’s not the groove, it’s not the swagger, it’s not the goddamn bass guitar line, it’s a different-shape-every-time collision of good things that make a recording great and that can happen in the most unexpected corners. Even if it does, somewhere, regrettably, involve grinning, stadium-dulled loons bedecked with Hollywood wives, charidee halos and nauseating military-chic jackets. I raise a glass of grudging praise to Mr Martin, for being the point of origin of at least two extremely good recordings of his songs.

Huh. Be off with you, Cool: I care not for your silly limits.

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