Higher Power by Coldplay
By Ron Powers
Higher Power by Coldplay
I typically don’t pay much attention to Coldplay. Sure, they’re a well-put-together band, but it’s been a while since they’ve raised my eyebrows. That is until “Higher Power”, the band’s latest single, was released. This song stands out in the crowd. It shows Coldplay pushing the boundaries of popular music and brings positive and fresh energy to a landscape that needs it badly.
The first thing that strikes me about “Higher Power” is that it feels familiar and yet completely new. The song is rooted in the pop gold of the past and simultaneously at the cutting edge of music. There’s a clear presence of the 1980s in the song but there’s also decade-defining magic running through it. I find it inspiring that despite their colossal success, Coldplay still feels hungry to make great music.
The song begins with an interesting voice counting down “three two one”. This is followed by a powerful melody line performed with synth, bass, and kick drum. Under the big sound of the synth, we hear a snappy drum pattern with all the low frequencies rolled off creating a crackling electric vibe. Syncopated guitar notes which have that familiar Coldplay reverb effect are added to the rhythm layer and feel like sharp streams of light popping in and out of the mix. As all this is going on singer Chris Martin delivers a clever and smooth melody with the words “wah wah wahoooo”. All of this takes up about 13 seconds but it’s worth talking about because it holds the musical signature of the entire song. The newness in “Higher Power” is immediately felt and the love and care put into the song is why Coldplay deserves to be listened to.
For the verse, the bass is performed with a pleasing mix of staccato and legato and maintains a smooth and even volume throughout. The drums for the verse consist of a full and fuzzy snare drum along with a kick drum that tightly follows the bass. As the bass and drums give the music a sturdy foundation the guitar darts around the mix like a gang of magical pixies leaving a trail of dust light. Percussive synth notes are also seasoned throughout the verse while Martin delivers world-class lyrics and melody.
For the chorus, we hear full-bodied and powerful synth chords. Under the chords, high-pitched arpeggios are delivered with a plucked synth string sound. For the topline Chris Martin delivers the simple yet uplifting lyrics, “That you’ve got a higher power / Got me singing evеry second, dancing every hour / Oh yеah, you’ve got a higher power / And you’re really someone I wanna know, ooh”. Each time the chorus is repeated new musical elements are added which bring new excitement to the song. “Higher Power” is a song that Coldplay has put great care into, and every measure of the song bears the evidence of that care.
Honestly, I don’t have enough space here to do this song justice. I could go on and on about the many small touches and variations sprinkled throughout “Higher Power.” It’s the sort of song you hear something new each time you listen. If you’d like to learn more about Coldplay, you can find them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. If you’d like to listen to their music, you can find them on Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, and most places music is streamed or sold.