The Music of Super Bowl 50
The Music of Super Bowl 50
by Kat Chapman
If you’re anything like me, you couldn’t care less about the actual football game that was played on Sunday. Something else brought you to watch for four hours. For some it was the commercials (which were a little lackluster this year…) and for others, myself included, it was the music. With some of the biggest names in music coming together to celebrate one of America’s most beloved traditions, I had big expectations.
Lady Gaga kicked off the festivities with a soaring rendition of the National Anthem. If you watched her performance of the Sound of Music medley at the Oscars last year, then you knew the National Anthem would be a piece of a cake for the songstress. Appropriately yet sparingly, she added riffs to highlight the more impressive notes in the song. And I know I’m supposed to be focusing on the music and vocals, but I think it would be lazy to not mention her attire. She wore a sparkling red pantsuit with eyeshadow to match, sky-high heels, and sparkling blue nails. My favorite part of her performance was the end: she repeated the line ‘the brave’ as the fighter jets flew over the stadium and gestured to both the American flag and servicemen and women. She finished the entire thing by saying “God bless you, America.” No, God bless you, Lady Gaga.
Now onto the halftime show. I have to be honest with you; I was worried when Coldplay was announced as the headliner. Not because their music is bad or they’re not great performers, but because a lot of their big hit songs are slower jams. They opened with part of “Yellow” out on the field as fans ran to the stage and I was skeptical. Then the front man, Chris Martin, ran back to the stage and they went into “Viva La Vida” and “Paradise.” The entire set was colorful and flowers adorned the band’s instruments. My only criticism of this part of the performance was how hype Martin was. He was simply out of breath so his vocals suffered, but the smile that was plastered on his face practically made up for it. The band then played ‘Adventure of a Lifetime’ before Bruno Mars made his appearance. He, and a small crew of backup dancers, broke out into the undeniably fun “Uptown Funk,” which I was overjoyed about (c’mon, he didn’t get to perform it when he was the halftime performer, it was only fair he do it now). Halfway through the song, Beyoncé came out (dressed as an homage to Michael Jackson from his own halftime show) and performed “Formation”, a song she just dropped a couple days ago (She also dropped a world tour after the halftime show, but that’s not really a part of the performance, just something I think is important to mention. Ya know, just Beyoncé being Beyoncé…). Then, her and Mars went back and forth singing ‘Uptown Funk’ and Martin came out to rejoin them and they finished the song. Beyoncé and Mars left the stage and Martin got on the piano and played ‘Fix You’ while a montage of previous halftime shows played, which I thought was really cool and one of few things about the entire game that made it seem like a milestone event. Finally, Beyoncé and Mars rejoined the stage along with all the backup dancers and musicians to sing “We’re gonna get, get together right now” as fireworks went off and the crowd behind the stage held up cards that read ‘Believe in Love’.
As two separate entities, Coldplay and then Bruno Mars and Beyoncé, I thought they were great performances. But together, I was a little confused. Coldplay’s set was very colorful and about crowd interaction and being happy and carefree. While it’s counterparts were very choreographed, black and gold and about putting on a show. When I was on social media after the performance, Twitter user @hslaurent explained it best; she tweeted “that halftime show was so full of gay pride and black excellence. truly iconic.” Why I thought those things couldn’t be combined into one show to represent an entire spectrum of people is beyond me and all it took was one tweet to realize that. Aesthetically, it wasn’t as pleasant as it could’ve been. But the point got across so much better with each artist repping what they know and what they stand for.
NFL, you have very big shoes to fill next year.