Coldplay a Guitar Influence?

Okay so I was casually listening to the album “Parachutes” by Coldplay and something jumped out at me that I never really noticed before.  The main riff and guitar solo in “Yellow” seems to be the template for almost every single contemporary worship guitar solo that has happened ever since.  Now when one thinks of guitar influences, most especially in the last 10 years, certainly Coldplay doesn’t jump to mind.  (In fact, I wonder if there has even been a major guitar influence in the last 20 years.  A friend of mine was explaining that Matthew Bellamy from Muse is a big deal but unfortunately, I couldn’t hear the major leap I think that all electric guitarists are secretly hoping for.  But that’s just me.)  Nevertheless in “Yellow” that solo is the style that every electric guitarist in the modern church has had to either a) learn or b) doesn’t know anything else exists.  It’s the 8th note, two tone (think 2 strings), all downstrokes, just north of broken sound, with delay on it.  Yeah you could say that came from the Edge, and it’s pretty obvious that Coldplay’s biggest influence is U2 (by admission from the band, but then again they also claim Delirious? is an influence.  But hey, Delirious? is most influenced by, you guessed it, U2).  I have heard “Yellow” many times and never put 2 and 2 together until this last listen.  It was released in 2000 and became a bona fide hit (#5 in UK) and it broke the band to a worldwide audience that embraced a new fresh sound (that sounded like u2 and Delirious? but that’s a niggling detail for anyone under 18 at the time).  Okay so to wrap up:

1) Most Christian guitarists and Christian artists I know listen to and love Coldplay

2) “Yellow” is one the band’s most popular songs and has this guitar solo/riff in it

3) Since 2000 most modern worship has guitar solos that sound like “Yellow.”  

You listen to the song and tell me what you think.  But prior to 2000 if modern worship even had a guitar solo, it certainly didn’t sound like everything coming out of Hillsong and the Passion guys.  Weigh in!

1 Response to “Coldplay a Guitar Influence?”

  1. 1 Julian
    March 7, 2009 at 10:36 pm

    Totally agree…As far as the contemporary worship scene is concerned, the slightly broken/delay sound has become a hallmark of praise music. Second, the down-stroked eight notes have also taken their root in solos/riffs. When I would play weekend services it seems that my playing was toned down to those simplified melodies. (Probably because I am not good enough to play anything else) But mainly because I think the guitar has taken a backseat in most music.

    When I listen to a song I have to accept the whole thing as a compositional accomplishment, instead of the collaboration of skilled musicians. For example, I do not hear peers of mine say things like, “I like the Guitarist from this band” or “the bassist from that band.” For recognition of individual instrumentalists I have to reach back in time to riff-based rockers like Eddie VanHalen or Jimmy Page. Whereas the compositional work of contemporaries like Matthew Bellamy of Muse or Guy Berryman of Coldplay go largely unnoticed. But this may just be my opinion. Though I have a lot of respect for these guitarists, I don’t find that musicians are nearly as big of a deal as compositions in today’s music scene…

    I am not above this. Even my own taste in music has been affected by this trend. My own favorite bands include The Myriad and Fono. Which, although I like musicians in both of these bands they both highlight compositional work rather than individual musicians.


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March 2009

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