Listen to this: Coldplay and Bruno Mars do the Super Bowl (and new Beyoncé!)

By Nicholas Jennings

It’s Super Bowl 50 this weekend, and while some will watch anxiously as the Panthers and Broncos battle for one of the most coveted trophies in professional sports, the rest of us will be tuning in Sunday for the halftime show. The star-studded 2016 cast is comprised of Coldplay, Bruno Mars and… wait for it… Beyoncé. Bey is the big draw here, having stolen the show at the 2013 Super Bowl with an electrifying performance and Destiny’s Child mini-reunion, which generated 299,000 tweets per minute and became the second-most-tweeted moment in the history of Twitter. Can she do it again? As we wait and see, here are some key tunes to get your Super Bowl party started.

Coldplay: “Hymn for the Weekend”
“Then we’ll shoot across the sky,” Beyoncé sings somewhat breathlessly in Coldplay’s euphoric second single from A Head Full of Dreams. It’s easily the album’s most infectious track. Shooting across the sky like a lightning bolt has been the controversy surrounding the song’s accompanying filmed-in-Mumbai video, which features Queen Bey as a Bollywood actress and Chris Martin and his bandmates taking part in India’s colorful Holi festival. Critics have charged that the video reeks of cultural appropriation and that Coldplay and Beyoncé are guilty of dabbling in exoticism. Judge for yourself:

Bruno Mars: “Uptown Funk”
Bruno headlined the 2014 Super Bowl and looked resplendent as he and his band the Hooligans, all dressed in matching gold lamé jackets, delivered a thrilling “Locked Out of Heaven.” He also joined Red Hot Chili Peppers on “Give It Away.” Some rank Bruno’s halftime performance that year one of Super Bowl’s best.

No news on exactly what the Honolulu Hottie will be performing this time, but it’s a good chance he’ll include his irresistible Grammy-nominated smash collab with Mark Ronson, which just never gets old.

Naughty Boy: “Runnin’ (Lose It All) featuring Beyoncé
OK, we don’t have new Beyoncé music yet, although Ms. Knowles has been hard at work on her latest album and a rumored collaboration with husband Jay-Z. Her last singles were 2014’s “7/11” and “Ring Off.” While the world waits for a new Bey single to drop, her recent appearance on Brit DJ Naughty Boy’s romantic ballad will do nicely.

Meanwhile, the Twitterverse has been ablaze with speculation about what’s coming next from Queen Bey and whether she’ll use the Super Bowl to debut new music or simply stage a massive dance between herself and a surprise guest performer.

Hello! music columnist Nicholas Jennings surveys the pop landscape each week to find the most dynamic tracks to add to your playlist.

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