Bono Says Coldplay "Are Not a Rock Band"

"There is something much more interesting going on there"

Photo: James Marcus Haney

BY Sydney BrasilPublished May 13, 2024

Much like Nickelback, Coldplay have caught a lot of heat from "real" music elitists, who think they kind of suck. And while the former have finally seen their renaissance, we're still waiting for Chris Martin and co. to get their flowers for their earlier output. As Exclaim!'s resident Coldplay apologist, my professional opinion has always been that they'd be better off if they'd been marketed as what they truly are — a pop band — from the start.

With that, my dad will be pleased to know I agree with something Bono has to say for once, as the U2 frontman has quite lovingly proclaimed that Coldplay are not a rock band. He said this while guesting on the BBC Sounds podcast Music Uncovered: The Genius of Coldplay, after saying "Clocks" "sticks to you tighter than time itself."

"I should mention Coldplay are not a rock band," Bono continued. "I hope that's obvious. There is something much more interesting going on there like the Isley Brothers or something. They should not be judged by rock rules. ... Rage is the river running under most rock formations. Coldplay's music has a different source and I think it's best revealed in this song 'Clocks.'"

It might be easier to lump the soft-but-not-bonafide-rock band into the pop category now that they make music that sounds like it was made for anti-bullying rallies [writer's note: I am a first-four-albums purist], but that hasn't always been the case. In the 20 years since Coldplay's ascent, the definition of alt-pop has grown to include bands with traditional set-ups. The world just wasn't ready, and as it happens, pop isn't a bad word! Well, unless you're one of the same Grohl-heads who gave me shit on Facebook for saying he looked like a girly at the club while dancing to U2.

Listen to the entire Music Unconvered: The Genius of Coldplay podcast series on BBC's website.

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