Following on from my article, If I had one Question for Paul McCartney, which was released to The Group Hug in November of last year, I am now focusing on a new imagined interview with my next celebrity, Chris Martin.
The band Coldplay was established in 1996. Chris is co-founder and lead vocalist, he is the most prominent member of the band and appears to do much of the song-writing. Having seen him during past interviews, I regard him to be something of a song-writing machine. His style is compelling, he is light-hearted, wears casual layered tee- shirts, almost as a uniform, cleverly communicating his natural, down to earth and happy-go-lucky nature.
Chris and Gwyneth
I want to consider Chris’s journey following the breakdown of his marriage to Gwyneth Paltrow, something he clearly did not choose and brought him much grief, as evident from the lyrics which he penned during that period of time. I want to consider the music which he released and find out just how he coped with the break-up. Please join me, I invite you to grab a ‘drink for me’, ‘drink for me’, pull up a piano stool and let’s see if we can get into that head full of dreams.
Coldplay released several chart hitting songs including the much loved ‘fix you’ in 2005 but it was not until 2008 that the band had their first song to reach number one with Viva La Vida which won best rock album at the 2009 Grammy Awards. This album was quickly followed by the release of Mylo Xyloto in 2011 which contain some fantastic music including the well-known Paradise, Us Against the World and Charlie Brown to name a few.
Chris had made it!
Images emerged of Chris half sitting and half standing at that psychedelic looking piano, bursting with energy, clearly very talented in all aspects, the singer, musician and song-writer. This charisma must surely have influenced the surge in demand for concert tickets. Packed full of colour, explosions of smoke pumped over the crowd, lasers, glow in the dark wristbands and all the woo hoo’s you could muster – it’s nothing short of genius isn’t it? This is the most excited I have been since the appearance of Duran Duran! So Chris has done it, realised the dream, successful fantastic band, huge revenue, beautiful wife and children. However by 2013 it was clear all was not so on the ‘up and up’ for Chris and Gwyneth, it was evident that their marriage was at an end. The release of the album Ghost Stories in 2014 is written directly from Chris’ heart, communicated the depth of his heartbreak.
The music from Ghost Stories takes us on a sombre journey, every track on that album speaks of heart break, aloneness and longing. Songs including ‘Another’s Arms’, ‘Always in my Head’ and ‘Magic’ evidence Chris’s brokenness. Clever melodies to many of these songs are hesitant and haunting, there is no doubt where Chris is in this labyrinth of emotion and raw bewilderment.
The conscious uncoupling
The couple made clear during the break-up that they wished to do things their way, in private and without media involvement. Gwyneth made clear that the intention was for the pair to deal with things by way of ‘conscious uncoupling’ a five-step process and method which appears to have been created by Gwyneth’s counsellor. It was clear that, whilst heartbroken, Chris was determined to ensure the marriage ended with dignity, I am sure not least for their two children Apple and Moses. To complicate matters further there would be the obvious intention of Gwyneth to return to the United States, presumably taking the children with her. Whilst there was clearly plenty of money to fund flights across the pond, this must have been a huge wrench for Chris knowing that he must predominantly remain living in the UK without them.
My question is…
So, my question for Chris in the light of this is, how did he achieve that dignity in ending the marriage so well, whilst also managing to ward off the humiliation which can so often haunt celebs. How too did he cope with the loss of the immediate physical presence of the children in his day to day life?
I think Chris would tell me that the answer to my question lies in their later album Head Full of Dreams. Released a year after the break-up in 2015 this album is far more up-beat, it includes Everglow, Kaleidoscope, Army of One, Up and Up and the song which I want to examine further, Fun.
The lyrics to Fun are so creative and show exactly what can be achieved following marriage breakdown if we can only hold on to the good which we found in each other during the relationship. When I listen to Fun, I can hear so clearly what Chris is saying; we were a couple in love, we were at the top of the waves, we said forever always, we were meant to be and yet I knew it was over before she said. Don’t say it’s over, don’t say it was all a waste. It is one of the most raw and honest songs I have ever heard.
You gave everything this golden glow
Now turn off all the stars ’cause this I know
That it hurts like so
To let somebody go…Coldplay and Selena Gomez
Chris has resigned himself to the position of if we’re done, then we’re done, I must accept it but the thrust of this swan song is through it all, let’s not forget what we had and let that joy go to waste. This song is a celebration of a relationship which is over, but which holds above the waves, the joys and the best of times remembering them rather than writing them off and casting them into the ocean. Chris has succeeded in remaining good friends with Gwyneth and he is a very involved and present father to his children despite the miles between them. I think the message of this song is part of that success.
Thank you for the music Chris and for bearing your raw emotion and creativity. You have dealt with the breakdown of your marriage well. Your inspiration to others will live on in your music.
“If you are experiencing the heartbreak of a relationship breakdown and need help to end it well, please get in touch with me and I can help you to navigate the journey” – Veronica Beard