Coldplay: Christmas Lights

Posted December 14, 2010 by J Matthew Cobb in Reviews 1.0

The injecting of intimate rock and classic carol medicine into Coldplay’s first spin at holiday music gets the green light of approval – even for the hard rock purist

Coldplay has been trying to write a Christmas song for quite sometime. It’s probably the only thing the English rock band hasn’t conquered. Amazingly, the composition (“Christmas Lights”) is so swell – using Coldplay’s reflective lyricism and intimate rock and not a sign of a  jingle bell – that it could survive well beyond the holiday season. What Coldplay develops in their festive lab test is a composition detailing an emotional break-up and Chris Martin’s only salve in the matter; the healing power of Christmas snow (“When your still waiting for the snowfall/Doesn’t really feel like Christmas at all”) and, using 19th century carol systematics, those Christmas lights (“Those Christmas Lights/Light up the street/Down where the sea and city meet/May all your trouble soon be gone/Ohh Christmas Lights keep shining on”).

Breaking down the song deserve s its own episode, but the music video is probably more deserving of explanation. A nostalgic phonograph spins in the beginning with a Paralaphone record twirling at a speed of 78 rpm and the stage is set: In just a few shots Coldplay is seen reflecting with their backs against a hardwood floor. The twirling camera then adjusts and, all of a sudden, a curtain opens; exposing a small vaudeville-like stage with Coldplay serenading the build-up of strings and piano. On the stage’s billboard, the words are etched: “Credo Elvem Etiam Vivere.“” In English, the Latin phrase is translated, “I Believe Elvis Yet Lives”. Not sure if Coldplay has officially joined the Church of the Jailhouse Rock, but their reverence for the King is displayed in the three dancing Elvises in the background. Some will look at it as a comical topping on the “Christmas Lights” video or even a warm conversational piece, but the beautiful imagery of warm, cozy and innocent surroundings – from the firework displays, the falling of artificial snow and the takeoff of balloons from a cruise ship in the distance – is enough substance to draw listeners into Coldplay’s very interesting holiday composition.



About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine


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