How Nirvana's 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' Inspired Coldplay's 'A Sky Full of Stars'

During an interview, Chris Martin once said “A Sky Full of Stars” was Coldplay’s most important song because of the way it made him feel. He revealed Katy Perry’s music and Nirvana‘s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” inspired “A Sky Full of Stars” for the same reason. He also explained why the track was an EDM (electronic dance music) song.

Why ‘A Sky Full of Stars’ meant so much to Chris Martin

During a 2014 interview with Rolling Stone, Martin praised his band’s song “A Sky Full of Stars.” “It’s the most important song we’ve ever had lyrically, because every time I sing it I’m like, ‘Yeah that’s how I want to live my life,” he said.

Martin connected the lyrics of “A Sky Full of Stars” to the state of the world. “There’s stuff going on in the world right now which you can’t imagine why is this happening; it’s crazy,” he continued. “I don’t know what the answer is, but if you didn’t have faith in the universe that somehow something great would arrive at the end then we’d all give up, and that would be a waste of everyone’s time. That would be terrible.”

The chord progression of Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ influenced Coldplay

Martin revealed the repeating chord progressions of Perry’s songs influenced “A Sky Full of Stars.” “Then I realized all these other people that have done that,” Martin said. “Nirvana being a classic example — ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ is the same chord sequence basically the whole time. There’s a simplicity to that. I needed to find a sequence that I could play for ages and ages and ages.”

Martin also revealed “A Sky Full of Stars” is an EDM song because he enjoys EDM so much. He was aware that some listeners don’t respect EDM as a genre. Martin didn’t care about the critical reaction to EDM. He loves the genre because it seems to bring fans together.

The way the world reacted to Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ and Coldplay’s ‘A Sky Full of Stars’

“Smells Like Teen Spirit” and “A Sky Full of Stars” were hits; however, one charted higher than the other. The former reached No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100, staying on the chart for 20 weeks. “Smells Like Teen Spirit” appeared on Nirvana’s album Nevermind. Nevermind spent two weeks atop the Billboard 200 and 558 total weeks on the chart.

“A Sky Full of Stars” became popular too. It peaked at No. 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 and remained on the chart for 26 weeks. Coldplay released “A Sky Full of Stars” on its album Ghost Stories. Ghost Stories stayed on top of the Billboard 200 for two weeks and 43 total weeks on the chart. “A Sky Full of Stars” doesn’t sound much like “Smells Like Teen Spirit” — but Coldplay’s song wouldn’t be the same without Nirvana.

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