Let’s get this out of the way first: When a big artist comes up with a surprise release seemingly out of nowhere, can we agree not to call it “Pulling a Beyoncé”? That sounds alternately dirty and painful.
From here on out, whenever a group like Coldplay drops a brand new single and music video on our doorstep—as they did today with the release of “Midnight”—let’s just call it a “Stealth Drop” or a “Surprise Party” or “Throwing the Old Barkley.” Anything but the creepy “Pulling a Beyoncé.”
Anyway, “Midnight” is a very moody piece of business that relies a lot on keyboard hums and electronic squiggles. It takes a few listens to set in, but one thing that really stands out is the vocal performance of Chris Martin, who has been gradually honing his instrument into quite a soulful thing (though it’s ironic that there’s also a ton of vocal effects on “Midnight”).
The video, directed by Mary Wigmore (who also directed the band’s clip for “The Hardest Part” and helmed the excellent documentary Birth Story: Ina May Gaskin and the Farm Midwives), matches the mood of the tune, with a lot of negative space and some ominous wolves. Enjoy its subtle spookiness below.
It’s unclear whether or not “Midnight” is a one-off or if it’s the first shot from an all-out new album assault. The latter would make sense, as they’re about due for a fresh collection of songs (their last album, Mylo Xyloto, came out in 2011, though we last heard them last fall with “Atlas”), and they’ll be headlining the iTunes Festival at SXSW in Austin on March 11. The band doesn’t have anything else planned and there’s no other news at the moment, though perhaps there will be a brand new album and a massive tour when they throw the old Barkley.
What do you think of “Midnight”?