Music, Life and Nonsense: Coldplay shines during Super Bowl performance

Coldplay singer Chris Martin performs during halftime of the NFL Super Bowl 50 football game Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016, in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

This one reads more as an op-ed. On Sunday, Coldplay took the stage at the Super Bowl Halftime Show as the headlining artist for the evening. Along with the alternative rockers, Bruno Mars and Beyoncé were featured performers. It was a moving experience and every second of it was an exuberant celebration of life, art and performance.

However to my surprise, when I went to check Twitter and online news outlets after the performance many decided to bash Coldplay instead of  focusing on the positivity that radiated from the event.

Of course, people are entitled to their opinions and not everybody is going to be a fan of Coldplay. But it is nevertheless a reflection of the culture we live in that the first reaction many had towards the performance were snarky, comparative and judgmental. Did I mention the finale featured tens of thousands fans holding up signs that read, “Believe in Love”?

When performing on such a coveted stage that over 100 million viewers are watching, there are bound to be expectations and criticisms. However, it should be noted that many of the responses from these major outlets were a negative opposition to the festive performance.

Major news outlets led the reviews and commentary comparing the acts as if they all set their agenda before the show even took place. USA Today led with the headline “Review: Beyoncé upstages Coldplay in Super Bowl halftime show”; The Guardian with “Super Bowl half-time show review – Beyoncé easily steals the show from Coldplay” and The New York Times saying “Review: It’s Coldplay, Starring Beyoncé, at Super Bowl Halftime Show.”

USA Today and Uproxx featured tweets of people dissing Coldplay, with one tweet reading, “Chris Martin is totally the type of guy to tell people to ‘believe in love,’” which garnered 565 favorites.

Have we really gotten to the place where instead of embracing a positive message such as “believe in love,” we scoff at it? It seems to me as though the standards for what bores us and what’s impressive are impossible to achieve. Have we become spoiled as to what we can expect from entertainment, to where unless it has all the flashes we lose interest?

We now live in a world where many of us have the universe in the palm of our hand. We can see anything and swipe it away for something better as long as we’ve got a phone and a data plan. Has it gotten to the point, or is it nearing the point, where impressing people is a feat verging on impossible?

In a world filled with so much negativity, why can’t we celebrate an occasion that celebrates life, love and joy? Many people's responses to the performance was to criticize, compare and/or take down a band that emanates messages of togetherness and community.

Maybe I am a bias fan of what Coldplay and last night represent. Maybe I am not hardened enough to laugh at the colorful array of melody and positivity last night exuded. Perhaps I am more focused on enjoying the collaboration of legendary artists than I am keen on comparing them for the sake of game.

I for one was moved by Sunday’s performance by Coldplay, Beyoncé and Mars – it added a little more warmth to this world. Maybe we needed it.


Brett Steinberg is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at brett.steinberg@uconn.edu. He tweets @officialbrett.