The Bottom Line
"Christmas Lights" is a song with a melancholy verse attached to a rousing anthemic chorus of hope for redemption. That sounds like exactly what Coldplay would deliver for a holiday record. Well-written lyrics are moving and the music does truly soar with the help of strings behind the band. In a year well blessed with outstanding new Christmas music, this one does stand out, and it is an instant bestseller all around the world. Make a place for at least one more new song on your holiday playlist.
- Strong set of realism in the lyrics
- Musically soars with strings and piano
- Truly rousing anthemic chorus
- Perhaps a little slight without true emotional power
- Written by Guy Berryman, Jonny Buckland, Will Champion, and Chris Martin
- Video directed by Mat Whitecross
- Released December 2010 by Parlophone
Guide Review - Coldplay - "Christmas Lights"
The release of "Christmas Lights" as a single by Coldplay was originally expected in the 2009 holiday season. So fans of the band have known about the song for over a year. It is worth the wait. Coldplay can make legitimate claim to being the world's most popular rock band of the moment, and this latest single reminds us all why. The construction of "Christmas Lights" as a song and recording is stellar.
A melancholy piano-based verse kicks off describing the pain of a relationship that has fallen apart. The song's protagonist seeks distraction and redemption in the commercialism of Christmas shopping. The tempo picks up as we head into the emotional center of the song, "Oh when I'm still waiting for the snow to fall, it doesn't really feel like Christmas at all." A surge of strings and piano is followed by a pause, and then the band and strings erupt into a grand Coldplay chorus spelling out the hope for redemption, "Oh Christmas lights, light up the street. Light up the fireworks in me. May all your troubles soon be gone. Those Christmas lights keep shining on."
Chris Martin of Coldplay has mentioned in interviews before that the group has attempted to write and perform original holiday songs in the past but nothing turned out right. This effort is solid, and "Christmas Lights" has a good chance to become a classic. Among downbeat holiday classics, it doesn't pack quite the raw emotional punch of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" or the Pogues' classic "Fairytale of New York," but "Christmas Lights" will appeal to a wide range of pop and rock fans. There is real melancholic emotion, and it does not drown in a sea of schmaltz. It is about time we had a Christmas song dedicated to Christmas lights.