Album Review: Coldplay – A Head Full of Dreams

By on Friday, 11th December 2015 at 12:00 pm
 

Coldplay Head Full of Dreams coverBy this point, if you don’t know what to expect from Coldplay, then you’re just never going to get it. Coldplay are the kind of band who, successful on a gigantic scale they may be, have managed to survive on a mixture of melancholy and melody in its, for a better word, tamest form. Sure, big hitters such as ‘Yellow’ or ‘Fix You’ tug at even the toughest of heart strings but at the end of the day, there’s no offence. Why should there be? It’s Coldplay. The closest we got to any kind of development formed around the era of ‘Viva La Vida…’ and ‘Mylo Xyloto’, where things headed north on the epic scale and introduced electronic components to the current formula.

Now, an album or so after the aforementioned priors, we have ‘A Head Full of Dreams’, the potential finale if we were to begin to take the media speculation around Chris Martin’s comparison between this and the last Harry Potter book seriously. ‘A Head Full of Dreams’ certainly could be seen as a swan song of sorts, almost a celebration, a celebration of everything Coldplay brought to us when they first formed in 1996 and what they still continue to bestow upon the world.

There are certainly even more developments: the first that comes to mind is ‘Hymn for the Weekend’, its content not similar to that of any previous Coldplay song that jumps out. “I’m feeling drunk and high, so high, so high”, it very well may be about love in its deepest layers, but the prominent synonyms certainly are that of the weekend partiers, and, when coupled with enough Beyonce to not take over the song but to be worthy of a feature credit, it’s a surefire hit, yes. But one thing it isn’t is Coldplay.

There are other moments that follow this pattern: for example, ‘Adventure of a Lifetime’, a track that could quite easily be a summer dance anthem, were we not in the midst of winter. It begins with a tumbling guitar introduction that automatically gets firmly lodged in your head, which along with backing vocals by Merry ‘Gimme Shelter’ Clayton and a thumping dance beat, makes it infectious, happy and also definitely not Coldplay.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QtXby3twMmI[/youtube]

The winning formula of the early days makes an appearance with ‘Everglow’, a piano-led slow cut that focuses upon what they do best: raw, unbridled emotion. Backed by a slow, pattering drum beat and swirling guitars, it’s Coldplay at their best, and you can’t help but fall a little bit more in love with them, no matter how much you try not to.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P8jOQUsTU9o[/youtube]

It would be unjust to not mention ‘Kaleidoscope’, which is a track that strangely enough doesn’t feature Chris Martin, or any of Coldplay in fact. It does, however, feature poet Coleman Barks reading a Rumi poem and none other than President Obama. As little as his inclusion is, it’s a powerful message in a powerfully charged song. Some may see it as a publicity stunt, but it’s tasteful and minimal.

If this were to be, as previously mentioned, the final Coldplay album, then it’s perfect. Last track ‘Up&Up’ is epic, has a backing chorus featuring both previously mentioned Beyonce and Merry Clayton, as well as help from Noel Gallagher on guitar. The album has everything, including further experimentation, which may not be entirely be a strength, but why would you want to wave the world off with the exact same components? That’s what the greatest hits are for, right?

7/10

‘A Head Full of Dreams’ is out now via Parlophone and streaming on Tidal. It’s purported to be coming to other streaming services soon. For past coverage of Coldplay on TGTF, go here.

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