Coldplay has released a new track, “A L I E N S,” that tackles the refugee crisis and is a reminder of how lucky we are.
Are you at home right now? Or at work? Maybe you’re sitting in a comfortable enough office chair in your climate-controlled office building, going about your officey Friday doing office-type things.
Maybe today is payday for you.
Maybe you don’t have to worry about bombs going off above your head tonight as you sleep, your home being destroyed, having to flee the only place you’ve ever known and try like hell to get to a place that will not only let you in, but accept you as a peaceful stranger.
If that’s you, as it is for me, then Chris Martin and Coldplay have a song they’d like you to hear. Their new single “A L I E N S,” from their upcoming EP Kaleidoscope (July 14th), is a love song for the more than 60 million refugees in the world today. It’s a look inside what it might be like for you and me– people who have no idea what it’s like to be displaced—for those who are homeless in the most vast sense of the word.
From a wonky beat to disjointed phrasing, the song offers a musical metaphor for what it might be like for those fleeing their homes, trying to make it to some unknown place without any idea of what might happen once they get there. If they get there. The lyrics are heartbreaking, and a reminder that the vast majority of these people are “just aliens,” nameless and all but faceless to most of us. But they “just want to get home again,” even if home is foreign soil.
The video treats the subjects of the song as literal aliens, showing the colorful but simplistic humanoids flying across the sky in a spaceship, being chased, in the beginning, by a serpentine missile. Notice they aren’t all the same color. That was on purpose, I’m sure.
Coldplay has been my band for a lot of years. I could have done without Mylo Xyloto and whatever album they released in 2015 (I honestly can’t think of what it was called. I thought it was silly and thrown together). But other albums (Parachutes, X&Y, Viva la Vida, and Ghost Stories) gave me pause, offered outlets, built the soundtrack of my life. Even into my early adulthood, I’ve been able to transport myself to places often gentler than reality using Chris’ voice and the songs Coldplay has so lovingly and masterfully crafted. The last two song releases, “All I Can Think About Is You” and now “A L I E N S” have reminded me of my old friends, and offer me hope that the Coldplay I fell in love with is still there, hidden beneath synth beats and silly pop lyrics. That song with The Chainsmokers might be a good summer jam, but it doesn’t do anything for my soul.
This “A L I E N S” reminds me how lucky I am. It fortifies my belief in “Letting them in.” It solidifies my love for other humans, and makes me want to reach out my hand and grab up those less fortunate than myself and wrap them in my arms.
I hope you can find the value and love in “A L I E N S.” And take a peek at the very end of the video. Proceeds from the song sales are going to the Migrant Offshore Aid Station, which assists displaced persons from the Mediterranean.
"“Coldplay’s music is a wakeup call to the world, bringing awareness to the plight of migrants and refugees. We need new and creative ways to educate people of the realities and pain that they have been through. Without empathy, we are lost.” -Chris Catrambone, MOAS co-founder"
Kaleidoscope will be available digitally on July 14th. CD/Vinyl copies will be released August 4th.