Sure, most Super Bowl gatherings and get-togethers are focused on the NFL season's ultimate contest. A decent amount of folks taking in the festivities probably can't wait to watch the high-budget production commercials as well. For the rest of us, there's the Super Bowl halftime show. British alternative pop-rock band Coldplay are this year's lead entertainers.
The London-based recipients of 62 major music awards with over 80 million records sold to their name will be joined by perhaps an even bigger name in music at the moment, R&B tour-de-force Beyonce. Former Super Bowl halftime show lead act Bruno Mars will be on hand as well.
Here's the scoop on the three acts who'll be rocking Levi's Stadium at halftime.
No one you know doesn't have an opinion on Coldplay. Some of your friends probably think it's cool to hate them. Your parents likely don't change the channel when they come on the radio. But whether you have a favorite Coldplay guilty pleasure or you're all in on the band, it's impossible not to have some kind of visceral reaction when their riff and hook-heavy brand of rock enters your ears.
My opinions on Coldplay aren't particularly nuanced: I think they're fine. Their first album, Parachutes, represented the same promise a high school-aged version of myself idealized. Their second and third, A Rush of Blood to the Head and X&Y, were non-trivial road markers in college-aged me's personal growth.
The Brian Eno-produced Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends is a massively successful band at the peak of their powers not compromising their art while appealing to as a broad a base as possible. Arena rock and high-profile celebrity marriages (frontman Chris Martin was married to Gwyneth Paltrow for nearly a decade) have a tendency to cannibalize many modern musicians, but Coldplay was still hitting at a pop-rock all-star level.
That record's follow up, Mylo Xyloto, experiments with the format with some hits and few misses. With the band seemingly no longer shackled to trying to follow in U2's footsteps, there's a lot to like, even if the group's new direction might not have been your personal favorite.
LP No. 6, Ghost Stories, was a sleepy, forgettable cliche breakup album. Painting it as a "transitional album" is generous, to say the least, and all the indulgences of mega stardom become a bit too affluent for even forgiving fans' tastes. It's hard to not take Ls when you get as successful as Coldplay's been.
The band's most recent record, A Head Full of Stars, is perhaps a step back in the right direction, but guilty of a sonic crime their early career was immune to: being boring. There are flashes of what the band could've achieved, but the formula's worn too thin, by and large.
Does that mean the band's halftime show will be the snooze your cool guy Internet friends think it will? Hardly. There are different skill sets inherent to putting on a show the scale of the Super Bowl, perhaps one of the biggest challenges to scaling live music for bands of Coldplay's path. By all accounts Martin and Co. would seem to have the necessary experience to be able to rise to the occasion.
The lead single from the band's latest album, "Adventure of a Lifetime," is the odds-on favorite to be the band's opener. Its upbeat and addictive guitar riff will help you forget that the band made a terrible music video for it featuring CGI monkeys.
"Hymn for the Weekend," the second single which happens to feature halftime show performer Beyonce, is the second most likely tune for the band to play. The song's colorful music video has drawn criticism for cultural appropriation, but many of its gold-centric visuals would lend to Super Bowl 50's golden anniversary themes. Martin denied they'd be performing it during a tongue-and-cheek pre-Super Bowl press conference, saying it had been too recently released. But with their collaborator present and the song beginning to reach peak saturation, it'd be a sizable upset if they forewent playing it.
There are two types of people in the world: those who love Beyonce and f***ing liars.
I'm admittedly far from a "Beyonce Stan," a phrase that actually made its way into Super Bowl 50 lexicon during Coldplay's press conference (courtesy of an entertainment reporter), but I'd be dishonest if I claimed I thought she was anything other than great.
As if Beyonce's star could shine any brighter, her surprise release of a new single, "Formation," and accompanying music video lit social media on fire Saturday. A Red Lobster reference in the song culminated in a lengthly Twitter stakeout waiting for the social media managers at Red Lobster to finally tweet about it.
Entertainment Tonight reports Beyonce's set to debut "Formation" live as part of the Super Bowl 50 halftime festivities.
As it's customary for the supporting acts to have one song of their own, in addition to the likely duet on "Hymn for the Weekend," Coldplay will only be able to watch as Beyonce slays it and likely overshadows them during the performance of her own single.
Mars is a relatively small-statured guy, but he's got huge pipes, a pretty well-fleshed out musical compass and enough range to slay everything from pop to reggae fusion to R&B. A multi-instrumentalist who at minimum co-writes everything he touches, he had a string of big-time singles in the early 2010s after first breaking through in 2009 singing the hook on flat-earth truther B.o.B.'s "Nothin' on You."
For my money, anyone who writes a chorus that includes the line "I wanna be a billionaire, so f***ing bad" is pretty alright.
Mars co-wrote and handled vocal duties on mega producer Mark Ronson's late 2014 smash hit "UpTown Funk!" which borrowed heavily from The Gap Band, Morris Day & The Time and even Prince. "Uptown Funk" was a sonic earworm the first 300 times you heard it, but after it was in essentially every exercise product commercial and movie trailer for about a six-month stretch, we all got kind of sick of it.
After Coldplay said during their pre-Super Bowl halftime show news conference that their favorite Coldplay song at the moment was "Uptown Funk," you can safely assume that'll be Mars' contribution to the halftime party.
And hey, it's probably been long enough to where maybe we won't be totally put off by hearing it for the first time in a little while.
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Prop Bet: Did Lady Gaga finish over or under for the national anthem?
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