On Thursday, November 5, Coldplay sneakily let fans know they would be releasing new music the following day.
This announcement of a new single (which was accompanied by a super cryptic video taken on the London tube), off their once-again-rumored-to-be-final album, was met with the usual polarization.
There were plenty of cheers, but there were also plenty of groans.
This is how it always is with Coldplay. For some reason, people either hate them or love them.
People are afraid of the stigma of oversensitivity tied to being a Coldplay fan.
Now, I’m not going to say I’m unbiased here. I own every Coldplay album and B-side known to man, as well as a closet full of apparel. I’ve gone to at least six of their concerts.
I’m clearly a supporter; my viewpoint is by no means a neutral one.
But I’m always confused by the public reaction to all things Coldplay.
For some reason, most Coldplay fans, especially the casual ones (the ones who own maybe their fourth album, Viva La Vida, and mostly just bump “Clocks”), are hesitant to admit their love for the British boys.
When their friends find “Fix You” amongst their Top 25 Most Played, they’re quick to deny it: “I don’t actually like the song. It just has a great hook. My girlfriend made me buy it.”
Meanwhile, people like me are willing to stay up until the wee morning hours just to listen to a new song the second it’s released. Then, we also wear all our Coldplay paraphernalia for the next two weeks.
(What, that’s just me? My bad.)
I’m not saying everyone has to love Coldplay. Hell, people can even hate them.
Haters gonna hate, wave your own flag, follow your own drummer and whatnot.
But fans should feel no reason to hide their support.
We know -- or at the very least, I know because I read Coldplay news all-too voraciously -- the usual complaints lobbed against the band: They’re too middle-class, too derivative and too boring.
That’s fine. If they aren’t your taste, I can’t make you change your mind (but have you heard the entirety of "A Rush Of Blood To Your Head?").
This is the argument that always confounds me: They’re apparently "too sensitive."
Being “too sensitive” is an accusation women get all the time. It means they’re crazy and irrational, and their thoughts can be discounted. But women Coldplay fans aren’t afraid of the sensitivity label.
They aren't usually the ones still hiding in the closet.
Obviously, I have conducted no study or survey, but I’d be willing to bet a reason why some fans hide their love away -- especially the seemingly rare male ones -- is due to a fear of being seen as sensitive.
But why is this a bad thing?
I know I can speak for more than a few ladies and guys out there when I say sensitivity is definitely a desirable trait in a man. I’d also say most men are sensitive, and have a much stronger capacity for it than they present to the world.
For some reason, though, being masculine and having feelings don’t mesh.
Real men can’t cry. Real men can’t feel sympathy or remorse. Real men definitely can’t listen to Coldplay.
Sensitivity is defined as exclusively female, and women are “ruled” by their emotions.
Obviously, we know this isn’t actually true. But it’s been used as an excuse for centuries to keep women subordinate.
Women are affected too much by their own feelings, and thus can’t fill in the blank here: have reason, vote, be effective politicians, do anything other than be wives and mothers, etc.
So, as men are afraid of being labeled as feminine, the masculine ideals in our society cling to the idea that being a man means being above emotion.
But masculinity shouldn’t be defined by the power of your emotions and how sensitive you are. It definitely shouldn’t be defined by your favorite musicians and whether or not the lead singer can rock a solid falsetto and sing lyrics about love and loss.
I’d argue masculinity should be defined as being yourself, absolutely unapologetically and without any fear of repercussion.
If that means only listening to 70s classic rock, then you do you. If that means listening to Chris Martin croon, do that too.
It has nothing to do with your worth as a man. Suppressing yourself just means you’re being something you aren’t.
So, the next time you want to bump “Fix You,” do it.
Men are allowed to be sensitive, and they’re allowed to like Coldplay.