Coldplay’s 20 Biggest Hits: Revisited & Ranked

Idolator Staff | February 5, 2016 9:20 am
Coldplay's Pop Report Card
We grade the UK band's seven albums.

Super Bowl 50 is just around the corner, and who exactly knows just what halftime performers Coldplay have up their collective sleeves — other than, you know, Beyonce. The British band, who released their seventh studio album A Head Full Of Dreams in December, certainly have a vast catalog of songs to choose from when performing this Sunday (February 7) at Santa Clara, California’s Levi’s Stadium.

Realizing this prompted us to take a look at all of Coldplay’s chart hits since they first alt-pop-rocked onto the scene in 16 years ago with debut album Parachutes and hit single “Yellow.” In case you didn’t know, their discography is strewn with mobile phone-waving anthems quite worthy of the stadium tour the quartet are embarking upon this summer. And so, ahead of the biggest football game of the year, we sorted out the 20 biggest chart hits from the band, reviewed and ranked them retrospectively according to how they hold up.

Let out a Chris Martin-esque woah-oh-OH-oh-ohhhhhh and revisit Coldplay’s biggest hits below!

20. “Atlas”
Year: 2013
Album: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Coldplay’s first foray into writing music for film, “Atlas” appeared on The Hunger Games: Catching Fire soundtrack. A throwback to their earlier sound, it received Grammy and Golden Globe nominations. What this dirge should have received is the Rue special. *Mockingflop whistle* — JONATHAN RIGGS

20. “Christmas Lights”
Year: 2010

Piano ballad “Christmas Lights” walks that fine line that the best of Coldplay’s output does, dancing nimbly between the uplifting and the melancholy. That it was a holiday single gives the song all the more of an emotional impact. Contemplating your miserable year and crushing loneliness on Christmas Eve? Just toss this gem on and prepare to either snap out of it and raise a glass to life’s plusses or, well, start breaking ornaments in your mouth and swallowing the glass.  — ROBBIE DAW

18. “Midnight”
Year: 2014
Album: Ghost Stories

Maybe back when they were seen as mere Radiohead knockoffs, an ambient electro track would’ve been more expected, but not after the pop bombast of Mylo Xyloto. Yet considering at that point they’d worked with electronic soundscapers Brian Eno and Jon Hopkins on two consecutive albums, “Midnight” is a natural outgrowth of the “Death And All His Friends” outro or the interstitial pieces on Mylo Xyloto. It’s only when you factor in Ghost Stories as a whole that the song is a true outlier: What seemed like a daring recalibration ended up being nothing more than a red herring. — CARL WILLIOTT

17. “Speed Of Sound”
Year: 2005
Album: X&Y

The lead single from Coldplay’s third album sits in a paradoxical place within the band’s history. Chris Martin has stated that he doesn’t like the song, and, indeed, he and his bandmates have rarely played it live. Despite this, piano-driven pop-rock number “Speed Of Sound” became Coldplay’s very first Top 10 hit in the US, was nominated for two Grammys and four MTV Video Music Awards, and also landed the quartet a Brit Award for Best British Single. Interestingly, the sound of the track was inspired by Kate Bush‘s synth-pop classic “Running Up That Hill,” released two decades prior in 1985. – ROBBIE DAW

16. “In My Place”
Year: 2002
Album: A Rush Of Blood To The Head

It’s easy to see how Coldplay caught the world’s attention with stark, elegant heartbreakers like “In My Place.” Built around Jonny Buckland’s aching, Oasis-y guitar riff and Chris Martin’s plaintive delivery of deceptively simple lyrics, “Place” cuts deeper with every listen. Plus, there’s something strangely sexy about the lo-fi video, where the only special effect is the fish-belly-white Martin eye-fucking the camera. No wonder this jam won a Grammy! — JONATHAN RIGGS