The art of damage control is one that very few music artists have a grasp of. Madonna excels at this. U2 has managed to have a successful career despite artistic misfires with very little damage control. One great way to stem a downward spiral besides featuring a new single on a reality television show (hello Maroon 5!) is to get a new single featured on the soundtrack of a high-profile movie. After the snoozefest that the album “Mylo Xyloto” was, Coldplay managed to execute on damage control last year with “Atlas” – a down-tempo track featured on the “Hunger Games” soundtrack. This did help revive Coldplay’s goodwill but what they do next is critical to their longevity as a commercial act. Hence, it is surprising that Coldplay would release something as experimental as “Midnight” at this point of their career.
The song’s entire “drowned out” vocal section is sung as a harmony (probably with lead singer Chris Martin’s voice layered over another sample of his own voice) – thus making the lyrics quite difficult to decipher. Like “Atlas“, “Midnight” is a very downbeat affair. Folks on youtube have already started to comment on this song sounding more like a Bon Iver track than a Coldplay track. At around the third minute of the song, it suddenly breaks into an ambient mid-tempo beat and then reverts to its original sonic template.
Given that the band has eschewed standard structure of a pop song on “Midnight“, one can only wonder if the new track is a statement indicating that they are in an experimental phase of their career and are not interested in continuing as the commercial and celebrated act that they have been for a little over a decade. The next album (slated for release later this year) might be the defining indication of what Coldplay has in mind commercially and artistically. Here is a full-length clip of Coldplay’s “Midnight”.
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