British alternative rock group Coldplay has been one of the most influential and successful bands of the past 20 years. The group’s music spans multiple genres, and they’ve cultivated a worldwide audience with their harmonious tracks and stellar live performances. Here are the best Coldplay songs in no particular order.
“Paradise” by Coldplay
Song year: 2011
“Paradise” is a song from Coldplay’s fifth album, “Mylo Xyloto.” The song is about a girl who daydreamed about paradise when she was younger but quickly realized that life is full of difficulties and challenges as she grew older. As an adult, she still closes her eyes and tries to remember the paradise she dreamed about as a girl.
“Paradise” was an international sensation, peaking at number one on the UK singles chart and number 15 on the Billboard Hot 100.
“Something Just Like This” by Coldplay and The Chainsmokers
Song year: 2017
Throughout Coldplay’s career, the band has demonstrated a penchant for exploring new sounds and styles. This was on full display in 2017’s “Something Just Like This,” from the album “Kaleidoscope EP,” with the electronic music duo The Chainsmokers.
“Something Just Like This” combines the mellow sound of lead singer Chris Martin’s voice with the uptempo electro-pop beat of The Chainsmokers, creating a track that plays just as well at a house party as it does in a nightclub. The song hit number three on the Billboard Hot 100.
“Clocks” by Coldplay
Song year: 2002
With an unforgettable piano backing and Martin’s signature crooning, “Clocks” is arguably Coldplay’s signature song. The 2002 track from their second album, “A Rush of Blood to the Head,” established the group as bonafide stars.
The song's meaning is debatable – the reference to clocks could be about the ephemeral nature of life or a failing relationship that is running out of time to heal.
The popularity of “Clocks” was a slow burn. While it had modest commercial success and peaked at number 29 on the Billboard Hot 100, the song eventually won the prestigious Grammy Award for Record of the Year.
“Viva La Vida” by Coldplay
Song year: 2008
“Viva La Vida” is also a contender for Coldplay’s signature song. The iconic violin riff with orchestral backing is one of the most memorable song beginnings in history.
In the song, Martin sings in the first person as King Louis XVI of France, reminiscing about the power he wielded before the French Revolution. The band was inspired by historical themes for this song and the album of the same name.
“Viva La Vida” topped the Billboard Hot 100 and earned the group a Grammy Award for the coveted Song of the Year at the 2009 Grammys.
“My Universe” by Coldplay and BTS
Song year: 2021
It doesn’t always work out when two superstar A-List groups collaborate on a song, but it did on “My Universe,” the 2021 chart-topping hit from Coldplay with Korean pop sensation BTS.
The upbeat synth-pop track from the band’s “Music of the Spheres” album became one of the biggest hits of both groups’ careers. The song proved that talent and songwriting ability transcend genres, no matter how different the musical styles are.
“My Universe” is about being in love despite external forces challenging the relationship.
“Yellow” by Coldplay
Song year: 2000
“Yellow” was the song that started it all for the British rockers. The second single from the band’s debut album, “Parachutes,” became an international sensation that peaked at number 5 in the UK and introduced the band to a worldwide audience.
“Yellow” is a romantic love song. Martin sings about the beauty of the night sky and the shining stars, explaining to his romantic partner that everything in the world is for her. He concludes by promising that he would die for her.
“A Sky Full of Stars” by Coldplay
Song year: 2014
Coldplay teamed up with the late Swedish producer Avicii for the 2014 hit “A Sky Full of Stars,” from the group’s album “Ghost Stories.” The song features a classic, upbeat Avicii beat tailor-made for dancing in the clubs.
“A Sky Full of Stars” is a joyful and optimistic love song. Martin sings to a romantic partner she is a sky full of stars and that he wants to die in her arms.
The track was a critical and commercial success, peaking at number 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 and earning the group a Grammy Award nomination for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance.
“Adventure of a Lifetime” by Coldplay
Song year: 2015
“Adventure of a Lifetime” might be the most fun song in the band’s extensive catalog.
The upbeat, dance-friendly anthem from the group’s album “A Head Full of Dreams,” is about appreciating the beauty and adventure of life. Martin sings to a romantic partner that if this life and adventure are all we have, then he wants to spend it with her.
The accompanying music video – with a group of CGI monkeys jamming out to the song’s lyrics – is arguably the group’s best to date.
“Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall” by Coldplay
Song year: 2011
Anyone who has ever found joy blasting music in their headphones or speakers to drown out the outside world can appreciate the sentiment behind “Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall,” the 2011 hit from Coldplay’s album “Mylo Xyloto.”
The joyful song is about resiliency and turning sad life events into celebrations of joy. A teardrop, representing sadness, can become a mark of beauty like nature’s waterfall. “Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall” hit number 14 on the Billboard Hot 100 and earned the band Grammy Award nominations for Best Rock Song and Best Rock Performance.
“Speed of Sound” by Coldplay
Song year: 2005
Chris Martin takes an introspective dive on “Speed of Sound,” the song from the group’s third studio album “X&Y.”
Over a soothing piano and guitar riff, Martin alludes to discovering the wonders of life, wondering how long he has to wait to experience it all. He is in awe of the planets in the night sky, moving at the speed of sound.
The song reached number eight on the Billboard Hot 100 and earned the group two more Grammy Award nominations.
“Lost+” by Coldplay featuring Jay-Z
Song year: 2008
The song “Lost” was originally featured on Coldplay’s album “Viva La Vida.” Rap god Jay-Z, surprisingly a dedicated Coldplay fan, was so impressed with the track that he teamed up with the band on a reworked version of it called “Lost+.”
Coldplay re-released “Lost+” on the extended play “Prospekt’s March,” setting the foundation for a future career of norm-busting, genre-spanning collaborations with artists across the musical spectrum. “Lost+” might be the best Coldplay song to hear live because of Jay-Z’s powerful verse.
“Magic” by Coldplay
Song year: 2014
Chris Martin breaks out his best falsetto on the 2014 song “Magic,” the lead single from the album “Ghost Stories.”
Like so many of the band’s hits over the years, “Magic” is a love song. Martin is so overwhelmed with emotion when he’s with his lover that the only word he can use to describe it is magic. He assures her that he doesn’t want anyone else in the world but her.
“Magic” hit number 14 on the Billboard Hot 100.