"Every Teardrop is a Waterfall" is as sappy as its name suggests, and that's great
Sarah Lee / Coldplay
Chris Martin has a cold. Just listen to the guy. His vowels are long and thickly exhaled. His consonants are swallowed. That soft, nasal chest voice breaks every few words into an apologetic, crackling falsetto. There is a kind of permanent head cold in Martin's voice and outlook, which might explain why he writes so much about feeling sorry for himself and finding cures. I was lost, I was lost oh yeah, but everything's not lost, and I will try to fix you and also, stars. That is every Coldplay song in a sentence.
Or, it used to be. Three years ago, the band teamed up with superproducer Brian Eno to make a record, Viva La Vida, that forced Martin and his bandmates to shrug off their mopiness. Sighing syths were replaced by rougher reverb, and symbol-crashing choruses gave way to primal thumps. The critics had a point: You can smear mud on sentimentalist sap, but you're still dealing with sentimental sap. Even so, Eno convinced the group to drop the in-the-gutter-looking-at-the-stars motif and act like a rock band.
And today, the gang is back. Coldplay's latest single, the dreadfully named "Every Teardrop is a Waterfall," begins undreadfully. An angelic synth swell lays the foundation for a jangly electric piano riff that sounds like what you would get if Animal Collective remixed Peter Allen's 1976 song "I Go to Rio" (thanks to Village Voice for the sharp eyes on the song credit, which lists Allen as a co-writer).