Coldplay: ‘Something Just Like Piss’

Will Cowie carefully pulls apart the new Coldplay single

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Some say that pointing out the ridiculous nature of Chris Martin’s lyrics is like shooting into either an open goal or a bound, gagged, unarmed man. This sort of analysis usually brings to mind that famous scene from The Simpsons: “Stop! Stop! He’s already dead!” This is completely true.

The latest Coldplay single, ‘Something Just Like This’ is jointly credited with The Chainsmokers, best known as being just one more of those things Chris Martin will never do. Did you know that when Coldplay formed they signed a pact saying that if any of them did hard drugs the others would automatically boot them out of the band? It’s listening to the single that you really start to hope that one day Chris will try some lovely lovely drugs.

The title of the song is, in a word, tantalising—what might Chris Martin be referring to? It goes down as one of their more intriguing lyrics, alongside “I want to live in a wooden house, where making new friends would be easy” (a statement widely believed to be referring to the Defenestration of Prague) and “My drunken hazard Daniel in a lion’s den” (widely cited in Philosophy of Linguistics as a prime example of a category mistake—I prefer to think of it just as a mistake).

The song starts, and Chris jumps in with his first few lines. Apparently he’s been “reading books of old—the legends and the myths”—in fact, he’s been reading about “Achilles with his gold, Hercules and his gifts”. Remember, Chris did Classics so he’s a very smart guy. Very smart.

So, Achilles, Hercules, all well and good. It makes you wonder—which other myths and legends has he been reading about, maybe Hector, or Theseus? Don’t worry, for Chris tells us: “Spider-Man’s control, and Batman with his fists.”

Chris has cleaned up the myths section of the library with the first two lines, so presumably that makes Spider-Man and Batman the ‘legends’. There I was expecting King Arthur, but no, Chris has really pulled the rug from under all of our feet there. What a deviant.

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Chris identifies each character with a key skill and, of course, referring to Spider-Man’s “control” is what many people think of when they’re asked to describe his super-power. Not the ability to shoot webs from his veins, no—his control.

I’m sure it takes all of us back to that moment in the (criminally underrated) Spider-Man 3 where the Green Goblin shouts after Spidey, “Curse you Spider-Man, and curse your control!” And actually, Spider-Man must have great control—great bladder control, that is. After all, I can’t remember a moment in any of the films where he needs a wee.

And this is where the sad part happens as Chris remarks “Clearly I don’t see myself upon that list”. I always thought the rumours of Chris’s degenerative and explosive bowel condition were fake news. Saying that, the qualification of the statement with “clearly” gives the impression of a man eager to cover up the fact that he obviously does see himself standing alongside Achilles and Batman. Sadly for Chris, I don’t think that’s true—he’s only the fourth most famous Martin in the music industry (after Dean, George and, of course, Ricky).

But as Chris breaks up the octave into the EDM chorus, and screams “I want something just like this/Doo-doo-doo, doo-doo-doo/Doodoo-doo, doo-doo-doo/Doo-doo-doo, doo-doodoo” it’s clear that he’s so happy churning out mediocre lyrics (unless “doo-doo” is a reference to the aforementioned bowel condition) that there’s something rather charming about him.

Maybe the song’s a mess, and maybe he’s an odd guy, but I don’t think I want Chris to ever change. That doesn’t mean this song is worth any more than one lowly star though.