October 24th, 2011 1:00am
Use Your Heart Like A Weapon
Coldplay’s music has a strange emotional resonance – it conveys huge, universal feelings with minimal detail or specificity, which has a way of making me wonder if the music is really about expressing emotion rather than actually experiencing them. It’s easy to be cynical about this band’s body of work, but at this point they’ve written too many good songs to be written off so easily.
“Hurts Like Heaven,” the opening track on their latest record, is one of their all-time best. It nods in the direction of hits by Belle & Sebastian and LCD Soundsystem, but the scope and emotional focus is very much Coldplay – a touch of melancholy adding flavor to an uplifting, swooning melody. Unlike their current single “Paradise,” which sounds like it was written to be used in the most pompous and overblown Oscar-bait movie trailers, “Hurts Like Heaven” has a lean arrangement that flatters the easy-going yearning of Chris Martin’s voice and the sparkle in the guitar.
As much as this song conveys a world-weary romanticism, it still suggests an odd hollowness. Notably, the most emotionally stirring lines in the song are quotes, bits of (very emo) graffiti that Martin is reading off walls and signs. There’s a few lines about feeling anxious, but otherwise he doesn’t say much. What does it mean to use your heart as a weapon? How does it feel to hurt like heaven? The music gives you no answer for the former question, but does a pretty great job of filling you in on the latter.
Buy it from Amazon.