They’ve had four albums, a few British accents, and the most “fans” of any musician on facebook.com. With their smash hit Viva La Vida that is still played on radio stations despite the fact that it has been released for over a year, Coldplay has breathed new life into the rock music of this generation. Even mom and dad admit that they like to listen to them. And if it’s possible, they are even better live than on record.
I saw Coldplay in Mansfield, Massachusetts on August 3rd. Chris Martin, lead singer of the world-famous alternative rock band, as well as husband and baby-daddy to actress Gwyneth Paltrow, opened the show with “Life in Technicolor”. The crowd was immediately on its feet – it was a wonder that the people had ever sat down. A group of young men had taken their shirts off and were clearly not completely sober, but it didn’t matter because the audience was high off the amount of presence that the band commanded.
Although Coldplay has been in the business for far longer than some other musical superpowers like Lady Gaga or Taylor Swift, it is only recently that they have exploded on the scene. Their past albums, A Rush of Blood to the Head, X&Y, and Parachutes, had a different sound than their most recent, Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends. In an interview with Entertainment weekly, Martin said, “We’re slightly terrified about this record, because we’ve thrown away all our tricks. The truth is, we tried to find new ones.”
Indeed, Chris Martin has been more about using his actual voice recently, rather than the falsetto that made songs like “Yellow”, “Clocks”, and “The Scientist” famous. The new tactic seems to be working for him: August 3rd concert included a full house at the Comcast Center, and audience members everywhere from toddlers to geriatrics. They are now well-known enough that blue t-shirts with “Viva La Vida” scrawled on them by a machine are sold for upwards of 40 dollars.
Coldplay performed about twenty songs in two hours, with an array of changing lights, audience participations, and band running around on three different stages. Martin preceded the second song by saying that his concert last night had been awful, and this one had to be the “best one ever!” (In a distinctively British accent). Although I have nothing to compare it to, it’s hard to imagine a concert more electrifying than that one. The only thing that anyone could possibly complain about was the exorbitant prices that the Comcast Center charged for food – $8 for a plate of fried dough? Really? Nevertheless, the entire night felt kind of surreal, what with huge Yellow balloons falling from the sky, butterflies being shot from air cannons during “Lovers in Japan”, and even “Billie Jean” to commemorate the life and demise of Michael Jackson.
If anything, Coldplay is a classy group. Even if they may swear a bit, even if their opening act drank beer on stage, there is no one who could have come out of that arena without saying that that performance was amazing, and that everyone in that band gave it their all. It was a warm summer night. Martin and others were wearing black long sleeve shirt. Their face and body were soaked with sweat. Somehow, they manage to do it again and again, every night.
Skill Builder: Purpose and Audience
Skill Builder: Purpose and Audience
this exercise is designed to help you understand ways in which you already write rhetorically. Consider the scenario below and analyze how you construct your communications differently based on your purpose (unchanging in this scenario) and audience needs (each audience needs something a bit different here). You already have practice designing documents based on what you know about purpose and audience, but as we move through project 1, the goal is you learn a bit more about these concepts while consciously practicing using them to improve your writing.
Part I: Scenario
You just won tickets to the Once-in-a-Lifetime Tasty-Jams-Summer-Slam concert series as a prize in a contest sponsored by Cool Ranch Doritos™ that you forgot you entered three months ago!
Bummer, though, you have a class and work scheduled on the same day. Now you have to write a bunch of emails, because there’s no way you’re going to miss this amazing experience if at all possible. But, can you get out of work, class, and get your best friend to skip class and come with you WITHOUT OVERTLY LYING?In one document, write a separate email to each of the following people:
Your boss: You must get out of work! Try not to lie about why (don’t say you’re sick) but maybe don’t tell the whole truth.
Your teacher: You are definitely not going to class, but your teacher is very strict about attendance and pop quizzes…how can you navigate this and save your grade? Again, don’t tell a lie!
Your buddy: You wouldn’t dream of going to this mega life-changing event without your buddy, but–oh, no!–your buddy is in class with you on that day! What do you say to your buddy? Will they write the instructor, ditch, or just not go to the thing? Email/text/snapchat your buddy with a plan and tell them how to safely escape your professor’s wrath.
Part II: Comparison
When you write your emails, imagine your boss, one of your teachers, and your best buddy. Try to imagine what you would say to each person in your email. Make your tone realistic for each situation. Once you have written the emails, use the Comments feature in your Word or Google doc to compare the style you used in each, and address the following:
Highlight and comment on the general differences do you see
Highlight and identify words and/or sentences that characterize the different styles
Comment on which email do you think would be the most effective, and why
Skill Builder:Analyzing Fracking Rhetoric
This exercise asks you to apply what you learned in the textbook chapters by analyzing public documents for purpose and audience. You also will compare your analyses to identify how specific choices in content and design target different the works’ different goals.
Watch these three videos first and ask yourself: what is the purpose? who is the audience?
Animation of Hydraulic Fracturing (fracking) (Links to an external site.)
Video 2How does fracking work? – Mia Nacamulli (Links to an external site.)
Fracking 101: Why why fracked gas is dirty and dangerous (Links to an external site.)
For each video, analyze purpose:
What do you think the purpose is?
What specific visual or textual elements of the work suggest the purpose you have identified?
For each work, analyze audience:
Identify primary/secondary audiences, as appropriate
Identify all relevant audience characteristics and categories for each audience (i.e., knowledge level, personality, biases, etc.)
Explain your reasons for characterizing the audience the way you do (i.e., What’s your evidence from the video for your conclusions?).
Compare the three analyses:
Are the purposes the same for each work? Different? How do you know?
Are the audiences the same for each work? Different? How do you know?
What are your final thoughts on the trustworthiness and credibility of these sources?
Submit your answers in Word document.