Saturday, November 23, 2019

Coldplay: it's getting crowded in Ed Sheerans boat

This week Ed Sheeran got planning permission to build a giant boat on his property, a space for prayer and contemplation.

Maybe he needs something this size to fit in all the pop collaborators who've put God at the centre of their work. Superstar rappers from both sides of the pond, Stormzy and Kanye West, both wear their faith on their sleeve. 

The latest addition to the congregation is Coldplay, who've been gone a while from it but now...

Everyday Life is wildly uneven, held together only by its thematic obsession with religion: disc one (Sunrise) literally ends with a hymn, disc two (Sunset) with Chris Martin singing “Alleluia, alleluia”. You lose count of the references to God, church and prayer in between. What this signifies remains a mystery: has Chris Martin, a lapsed Christian, rediscovered his faith? Is it intended more in the vein of Nick Cave’s recent line about how “it doesn’t matter whether God exists or not – we must reach as if he does”? The answer remains elusive. As, alas, does the balance between world-beating commercialism and experimentation.

Stormzy and Coldplay both take a leaf from the U2 playbook, who tried to keep their rock credibility by peppering their more religious offerings with regular swearing (e.g. Acrobat, Wake Up Dead Man).  Or maybe that's just how everyone speaks these days and I'm just a reactonary old fuddy duddy. Scatology meet eschatology: ultimately will Jesus be more bothered about how we expressed our faith, or whether we expressed it?

Like ancient Athens, our culture is bursting with attempts to connect with God. More and more of them are outside, rather than inside, the historic churches, but Augustine still holds true "God you have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in you.'

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