The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has published a Coronation Celebration Playlist on Spotify, part of a toolkit intended to help people organise coronation parties ahead of King Charles’s big day on May 6.
There’s a lot to unpack here. This is a bad playlist. It’s incoherent, it has no real through-line and songs seem to have been picked for their titles alone or to tick vague boxes. There’s not many actively awful tracks here (though Michael Bublé’s It’s A Beautiful Day and Coldplay’s A Sky Full of Stars are extremely skippable) and there’s a few solid classics, but none of them seem to have been given any thought.
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It’s like someone has typed keywords into Spotify and dragged in the tunes that came up first. It’s basically one long list of suggestions: People Get Ready to Come Together as we celebrate Daddy Cool and, hey, Let’s Dance because It’s a Beautiful Day so Say You’ll Be There to celebrate the King on his Green Green Grass of Home and let Love Reign O’er Me. It’s a playlist assembled by the sort of person who thinks they can be a wedding DJ, but would realise quite quickly that it’s harder than it looks.
But what’s depressing about the list is not how shallow and route-one it is. After all, its prime objective is presumably to offend the least amount of people at your street party as possible. No. What’s depressing is all of the things it isn’t. A coronation isn’t a celebration of a King. Not really. It’s a celebration of a country and its people. When Charles’s mother, the late Queen Elizabeth, was crowned back in 1953 the event symbolised a new age of youth and vitality in post-War Britain. Charles’s, alas, was never going to capture a moment in quite the same way, mostly because his personal brand is “baffled and exhausted”, which, though probably an accurate summary of the country he rules, isn’t much to shout about.
So what should the Coronation Celebration Playlist do? Celebrate Britain? Sure. Unfortunately someone seems to have forgotten that the United Kingdom is comprised of more than just England until right at the end of the process, when they seemed to have panicked and added the first Welsh and Scottish acts they could think of (Tom Jones, The Proclaimers) and then gave up on Northern Ireland all together (Lads, Teenage Kicks is RIGHT THERE).