Coldplay Week and I Pick the Songs

A long-time loyal follower of these Musings (thanks, NE) correctly surmised that I was pondering what songs I would choose for the Idolists to sing for this Sunday’s Coldplay theme. She knows that back when Simon Cowell precluded a need for me to be The Missing Mean Judge, my Idol watching alter ego was a record label executive like Clive Davis or Berry Gordy, i.e. someone who not only looked for talent but picked songs and songwriters to allow that talent to shine.

It is in that A&R[1] vein that I am picking the Coldplay songs for the Idolists to perform. Here are my suggestions. Let the Idolists ignore me at their peril!

ArthurDon’t Panic because Arthur seems to do a lot with his voice when he sings and Chris Martin does a lot with his voice on this song. Lots of room for Arthur to play here.

Ava – I don’t care that she’s not here. I want to hear her sing Fix You, dammit!

CalebViolet Hill has a dark, driving rock beat that could easily be countrified. I can also hear Everglow as a pretty country ballad.

My Girl Casey – She might make me spontaneously combust in a fit of ecstasy if she sings Fix You. But after a couple of weeks singing ballads (quite exquisitely, I might add), I’d like to hear her rock out against those grungy guitars of Yellow. But if she wants to do something that will blow everybody away even more, she should arrange Viva La Vida as a ballad – yeah, I know I said she shouldn’t do another ballad but this would be shockingly cool. Maybe first verse slow and second verse in the regular tempo. Get creative, musical director Kris Pooley!

ChayceThe Scientist. The simple piano chords could be played on guitar. The mostly limited vocal range in the song suits Chayce. The little falsetto leaps would add a touch of unexpected dynamism to his gruff voice which I think will sound great on this song.

Second choice, a guitar driven Clocks.

GraceFix You. This is the perfect choice for Grace to share a soft, tender side we haven’t seen much of on a song that also gets big before ending with an emotional finish. This could be another moment for her after last week’s moment.

HunterYellow. This song is practically begging for Hunter’s wobbly tenor (see my comments re Chris Martin, below). He could do it straight up without much vocal revision and the rocking, jangly guitars would be a different sound for him. I hate myself but if he nails this, he could really win the whole shebang[2].

Second choice, Speed of Sound. Again, the vocal suits him perfectly; and the beat and instrumental background would be a different from what we’ve heard from him.

Willie – OMG the strings and then the orchestral keyboards at the beginning of Paradise are crying out for Willie!!! The tempo should be slowed a bit so we can savor the gorgeous tone of his voice. And when he hits “Para-para-paradise! Para-para-paradise” with a gospel choir – are you listening to me, musical director Kris Pooley?  – Luke Bryan, Lionel and I will be reduced to tears, and Katy will be talking about the Holy Ghost entering Willie’s soul.

Second choice, Everglow. It would be impossibly lovely to hear his voice with just that piano backing him up.

This should be a good week for all of the Idolists. While Coldplay the band has a sound – most notably the wobbly tenor of Chris Martin – the songs themselves tend to have simple melodies and simple instrumentations. They are the kinds of songs that easily lend themselves to different voices and interpretations. And the Idolists will be helped in their creativity by Idol’s excellent musical director Kris Pooley.
This was a fun exercise. It’s been a minute since I paid attention to Coldplay and listening to many of these songs was like re-connecting with old friends. It should be fun watching whatever this talented group of Idolists chooses to sing. Their choices will tell us a lot about how they see – or misperceive – themselves as artists.

Ava should still be here, though. Ethereally singing Fix You.


[1] Artists and Repertoire: the division of a record label that is responsible for discovering talent; overseeing the recording process; and assist with marketing and promotion.

[2] He’s going to, anyway.

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