The New Romantics

By Mary Kaye Schilling
December 26, 2003 at 05:00 AM EST

Coldplay is one of our Entertainers of the Year

If in the past year you’ve found yourself stalked by Coldplay — in restaurants, yoga class, even the toilet at the gas station, for crying out loud — Chris Martin, the band’s lead singer, has something to say about it: ”Please accept my sincere apology.”

Not since Moby’s 1999 Play has an album become as ubiquitous as A Rush of Blood to the Head, the double-platinum, Grammy-winning second CD by four Brits who — come to think of it — enjoyed ubiquity with their debut, 2000’s Parachutes. But while Moby’s songs were everywhere thanks to a slew of commercials, Coldplay (who have turned down millions in endorsement offers) were 2003’s sonic wallpaper by dint of personal choice; the band’s haunting, heartfelt, and broodingly optimistic tunes have come to define this moment in time.

Thankfully, this is not going to anyone’s head. Returning to the band’s native England, with its more predatory music press, ”you can feel like everyone hates you,” says Martin. He and bandmates Johnny Buckland, Guy Berryman, and Will Champion ”have had a couple of months of feeling like total s — -. We’re going to keep out of the press so people don’t get sick of us.”

Good luck with that. A Rush of Blood’s popularity shows no signs of abating (the lush and cascading ”Clocks” just scored a Record of the Year Grammy nod), and newlywed Martin is expecting a child with a certain suicidal-poet-playing actress. All of which is a difficult situation for a band that nurses its anonymity. ”It’s a strange position, to be in one of the biggest bands in the world and no one knows who you are,” says Champion. Still, ”I’m pretty pleased we’re that way.”

Utter sincerity — a vanishing trait in pop — is, in fact, the band’s most charming quality. ”We take s — – for being boring. It just means that instead of doing coke or partying with the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders, we lock ourselves away and think of a new chord,” says Martin. ”Mind you, I would love to hang out with the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders.”