“THE HARDEST PART”
b/w “HOW YOU SEE THE WORLD” (Live at Earl’s Court)
There’s this phenomenon I’ve noticed. It’s the fourth single phenomenon. Typically, if a band releases a fourth single from whatever album they’re promoting at the time, it means that that album has probably done very well for itself. It means that the first, radio-friendly pop song has done well, then the second single (possibly/probably a ballad of some sort) has met or maybe even exceeded its predecessor’s success and the third, perhaps another pop song or more of a “rocker”, maybe did slightly less well than those two BUT well enough to warrant a fourth single a.k.a. wring the last drops outta that cash cow. This sounds cynical (maybe it is), but truth be told I actually like fourth singles…often more than first ones. At this point, the band and album have enough success that they can release something that’s not quite as immediate as what came before, and promote it in a way that’s maybe a bit more weird. Which brings us to “The Hardest Part”, the fourth single to be taken from Coldplay’s 2005 album X & Y.
Now I realize I just used “weird” and “Coldplay” next to each other, which some may think is an oxymoron. And “The Hardest Part” is not a weird song…apparently, it’s meant as a musical tribute of sorts to R.E.M., and its piano-based, rock-ballady sound doesn’t deviate from what most people associate with Coldplay. But I think it’s a strong song, it’s got a nice Johnny Buckland solo, and in a strange way, the looped repetition of the intro and outro remind me of a slowed down “The Last Time” by The Rolling Stones. What’s weird is the video. Check it out!
I enjoy it. And it makes for a nice fourth single, one that for me is more memorable than something like “Fix You”, upon which higher expectations are placed. I’ve got a soft spot for it. And most fourth singles in general.