As a kid who cut the teeth of his musical taste on the likes of Gorillaz and Radiohead, Coldplay always were a strange band for me. I’d always been drawn to music that provokes an emotional response on a number of levels – which is frankly why I write about dance music now. They were a band that for a lot of people showed early promise before becoming an exercise in the profitability of tame pop music. The thumping beat of “Viva La Vida” drew the ire of a lot of self-respecting dance music fans, as this seemingly bland, almost meaningless song written by four white dudes was taking over the world while a lot of other cool shit got slept on – the story is familiar.
This said, the thing that always earns my respect about the bands that I like, but especially Radiohead, is their ability to evolve their sounds, and incorporate electronic and dance music influences in a way that enhances the end product of their music. Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke, fresh off the ultra-successful OK Computer, had grown despondent with the band’s direction and suffered horrible writers block. He found influence in electronic musicians like Aphex Twin, and with the members of Radiohead evolved the band’s sound into something entirely different, producing the album Kid A, the first of Radiohead’s albums to debut at #1 on the US Billboard Album Chart.
Coldplay seem to have taken yet another page from Radiohead and done something similar – but to my surprise (and chagrin), their end product is actually pretty awesome. I’m the first to write Coldplay off as a band that deviates from risk-taking, and while the Jon Hopkins-produced “Midnight” is certainly treading in fairly safe waters, it is the first release I’ve heard from a band I used to care about that has perked my ear, and it’s done so in a really fascinating way. “Midnight” features a downtempo, dreamy vibe. It’s darker than what Coldplay is known for, even if it’s not pitch black. The track builds into an airy, danceable finish, reminiscent of MGMT and Bon Iver.
Normally, we would never touch Coldplay on this site, and for good reason. But “Midnight” is the biggest exception to Coldplay’s own rules thus far, and it’s a solid electronic track that will more likely than not make waves in the EDM world as well. It’s hard to speculate as to whether Coldplay’s transformation towards electronic sounds is as absolute or organic as Radiohead’s, but there’s no denying they’re using electronic influences to their advantage. We definitely aren’t turning our noses up at “Midnight” as Coldplay ventures into our side of the world of music.
As added bonuses, Robokid was quickest to the draw on taking advantage of the immense remix potential, warping “Midnight” into a futuristic, chill-trap tune with vaguely anthemic vibes. It’s a must-listen, and definitely a quality production that might have you thinking twice if the OG version didn’t have your ears perked. Additionally, Levi has put a deep and progressive spin on the track that provides an ideal laid-back nighttime soundtrack.