First Hit #1: June 28, 2008
Credit to Coldplay, they might be the first band to get a pop hit out of a song about being a deposed monarch. Built on a fairly dramatic bed of strings, we have a song that is filled with historic and religious references, depicting a king remembering the days when he was a feared monarch before revolution kicks him on his rear and puts him among the people he repressed. It’s actually a pretty great character portrait, and it doesn’t hide the fact that the king misses being a right bastard. In the middle of autotuned songs about buttocks, having a fairly ambitious, string-heavy song that’s vaguely about European history is not only refreshing, it’s kind of shocking.
Chris Martin sings it like a love song, which is appropriate, since it’s the same emotions, the love is just directed towards power rather than a person. He doesn’t quite have the power to be really inspiring – nobody could possibly be afraid of King Chris Martin I, no matter how many armies he commands – and as much as I’m thrilled to hear a vocal that isn’t processed I still think it’s clear that the strings were dialed up to compensate for a lead singer better suited to small-scale love songs. Then again, from the perspective of a diminished monarch, the vocal kind of works anyway, or maybe I’m just thrilled to have something so completely different crest the top of the charts.