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Don't hate, appreciate: Why you should give Coldplay a chance

Music Columnist Alex Smith explains why Coldplay shouldn't be written off.

Published Oct. 28, 2011

So you’re a 19-year-old college kid at a solid mid-western university, and you fancy yourself a semi-music expert. One thing you know for sure is that you don’t like Coldplay. Why? Where to begin?

1) Coldplay is one of your girlfriend’s favorite bands. 2) Hearing “Clocks” makes you want to hurt yourself. 3) They’re British. 4) The 40-Year-Old Virgin told you it’s “gay” to like Coldplay. 5) “Clocks” really fucking sucks.

These are all valid points. To each their own, concerning taste in music. But before you turn away from Coldplay and never look back, I warn you: You should actually enjoy the music.

Before I tell you where I’m going with this, I give a caution to any hipsters out there: You will not understand the language I’m speaking in the next few sentences. The most ironic thing you could do right now is just throw this issue of MOVE Magazine into the nearest trash receptacle (recycling has become too popular, anyway).

Pop music is good. It cleanses the soul. It’s an oasis after an abnormally long Animal Collective phase, a retreat after accidentally listening to “Hard In Da Paint” 27 times in a row (Surgeon General's warning: This will probably give you brain damage). What we don’t do is appreciate pop as an art form. We don’t sit back and say, “Hey, I really like that Ke$ha chose to do a guitar solo here instead of a bridge.”

Maybe that’s the way it should be, and I would be wise to leave it at that. Something tells me there is more here. We get so wrapped up in the newest music blog download or vinyl release that we forget there are actually quality tunes on the top-40 stations. Are all the songs great? No. In fact, a lot of them are basically garbage, but you can’t tell me you listen to college radio and say, “Wow, I loved every song they played the last two hours!”

Because you didn’t. You’re an idiot for even trying to believe it. Shut up.

So where does Coldplay come in? That’s simple. It's the epitome of everything you hate about the mainstream. You’re tired of hearing “Viva La Vida.” You’re tired of people filing plagiarism lawsuits against the band. You’re tired of your girlfriend listening to it.

All I ask is that you give it a chance, because liking Coldplay is the key to musical nirvana. I refer to them as the gateway drug of pop, because as a young man, if you can learn to love Coldplay, you can learn to love anything. The U.K. group’s newest album, Mylo Xyloto, was released Oct. 24, and it’s not a terrible place to start. Put yourself out there. Buy a copy. Sit down, close your eyes and listen. You’ll thank yourself without immediately understanding why.

And don’t worry, you can still tell your friend with the vintage Rolling Stones v-neck shirt you hated every second of it, but you know the truth. Don’t be afraid to try some new things. It’s the only way you’re going to grow as a music fan. Just like in real life, it feels better to enjoy the company of something than to despise it. You shouldn’t feel uncomfortable when “Paradise” comes on the radio and you don’t switch the station. You should be excited you get to listen to a thoroughly catchy song.

Oh, and to all of you Coldplay fans who were smug or felt “justified” at any moment of time while reading this article, you’re obligated to go invest in a Rage Against the Machine CD immediately. Stop being so damn ignorant.

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