"Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall"
For more than a decade, Coldplay has all but defined mellow alt-rock for the masses. Though critics haven't always loved the British band ( A Rush of Blood to the Head got a general thumbs up; X&Y, not so much), everything they've touched has turned to pure platinum. And when their still unnamed fifth album is released some months from now, fans are sure to turn it into an encore performance.
In the meantime, the band has elbowed in an EP that includes its new summer ditty, "Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall." The song may have a melancholy title, but in truth it's a stadium anthem as only Coldplay can conceive, full of synth and guitar and sonic effervescence. There's nary a hint of teary sadness in the music, actually. And even the lyrics convey a sense of joy.
"I turn the music up," Coldplay frontman Chris Martin tells us, "I got my records on/From underneath the rubble sing a rebel song/Don't want to see another generation drop/I'd rather be a comma than a full stop."
This rebellion he mentions is not against Mom and Dad, for the record. Rather, the rebel under the rubble is protesting the forces that might squelch his will to live and love. The song acknowledges that pain is an inescapable and sometimes horrible part of life, but insists that we can press past it and even in the midst of it find a sort of exhilaration. "Every siren is a symphony," Martin tells us. "And every tear's a waterfall." Later, he adds, "You can hurt, hurt me bad/But still I'll raise the flag."
Spirituality gets a nod with lines like "heaven is in sight" and "cathedrals in my heart." While at the same time, Martin also speaks of another sort of euphoria—this one not nearly as responsible: "They dance, all the kids all night/Until Monday morning feels another life."
But perhaps I'm over-reading this particular ditty. As The Atlantic says, "Martin's words are more like percussion than prose, marking time, filling space, distinguishing verses and choruses. Listening to Coldplay for the lyrics is like reading a book for the page numbers. Insist on doing so and you're missing the real work."
When we talk about the influence that certain songs might have over us, what we're usually talking about is the way they make us think and feel by way of vibe and lyrics. And listening to this song makes me smile. It makes me want to get out into the sunshine. It makes me want to enjoy the company of friends and family, and maybe give out a few extra hugs. That sort of influence—and those kinds of lyric/music combos—we could use a little more of.