I can’t believe what I’m about to say, but this is definitely Coldplay’s worst album. Yeah, you read that right, read it again just incase. I did not think I would be able to put those two words together in a sentence ever, but it has happened. I understand Christian said this was Coldplay’s last album and they wanted to leave the fans with one last Charleston Dancing hurrah.
Don’t get me wrong its not a bad album, just not the best one we were all expecting. It feels commercial and heavy with a nervous energy and if not at first after a couple of listens a little bit rushed. I support all artists to experiment and expand their sound especially if you start at one stage you need to grow and mature with your audience as they grow older and mature as well. The only way you do that is by playing outside of your comfort zone, possibly by taking in new influences, combining with a new genre, collaborating with different artists and flirting with different producers (all of which Coldplay did 5 out of 5). But at the end you don’t want to lose your signature sound that makes you unique and individualistic.
A Head Full of Dreams comes as the British quartet’s Seventh full length effort and brings a lot of new direction to compliment its accomplished catalogue of success and experimentation. After 15 years, a stellar 80 million records sold and worldwide touring across six continents, Coldplay’s mantra and life philosophy is fervently ever-present in A Head Full of Dreams. What is that mantra you may ask?
The first track of the album (which happens to be the title track) opens with energy, funk and love. Christian Martin screams
I sing, oh, I think I’ve landed
Where there are miracles at work
Now you’ve got me open handed
Now you got me lost for words
A Head Full of Dreams is really one of the easy favorites for most, with its positive uplifting message that life is beautiful “You can see the change you want to, Be what you want to be.” Coldplay’s Mantra is just that a reminder to live life and love it as much as possible.
The second track Birds starts off with a Indie-Pop-Rock rhythm and beat, very soft and easy on the instruments and vocals. For fans of the French rockers Phoenix they will immediately see similarities in style on this track. Don’t be surprise to see Coldplay play halftime at this year’s Superbowl, remember you heard it hear first! As the song progresses Coldplay meticulously adds instruments little by little and synth overlays after each chorus, building it up to an all out orchestral pop rock celebration anthem complete with string ensemble, ending the song with a silent shout “Cool.”
Hymn For The Weekend
The third track titled Hymn For The Weekend my personally least favorite of the whole album, nothing against the Queen Bee Beyonce but she seems a little out of place in the song (not to mention Martin). If at all this sounds eerily like a Coldplay Cover with an added Pt II to Beyonce’s Drunk In Love. But Fortunately the backstory is a little bit more interesting than that Guy Berryman said in an interview that the song was Martin’s idea that wasn’t such a great one.
Apparently Martin wanted make a Coldplay remix of Lil’ Jons/DJ Snake Turn Down for What, with a line supposedly going along the lines of “drinks on me, drinks on me.” fortunately for us the band made him come to his senses that he couldn’t get away with that, yeah we’d all have killed him for it. Hence they brought in Beyonce to ease the transition from Pop to RNB and to help soften the song’s reworked lyrics with Martin’s innocent sounding voice “So drink from me, drink from me.” Nice save Martin, but we’re on to you. Although Hymn For The Weekend is the least sounding Coldplay song ever, it is a lot better produced and executed than most of the commercial radio RNB songs released this year but that’s thanks to the super producing duo Stargate.
Our first ballad of the album and also the first Coldplay-like song Everglow does not disappoint, with heartfelt lyrics and an equally brooding Martin singing it. One of the best songs of the album for the traditional Coldplay fans. You can hear Gwyneth Paltrow accompanying Martin on background vocals. When I first heard this song all I could think was in the background Tom Petty’s Free Fallin would fit in perfectly!
Adventure Of A Lifetime
The first single released from A Full Head of Dreams, definitely delivered on all fronts I usually am not a Singles fan but when I heard this song I was blown away. Here Coldplay had been able to bring back a little bit of the sounds explored in Mylo Xyloto, as well as a guaranteed easy sing-along, shuffle of the feet and energy Martin had promised us on this album. Although totally ecstatic to hear the rest of the album, I couldn’t help but feel that underneath the beautiful lyrics and upbeat rhythm there was a slight farewell tone to the song.
But despite it all definitely one of my favorite songs off the album, with all the trademarks of a Coldplay song written within. Martin starts off the song with:
Turn your magic on
Umi she’d say
Everything you want’s a dream away
We are legends, every day
That’s what she told me
The song continues with a funky guitar riff and bass lines not previously heard from Coldplay’s catalogue a definite welcome as a fresh new sound this year. Definitely the guitars feel almost like electrical sitars with an 80s Pop Disco progression. Very energetic and uplifting as always delivered with a strong range of Martin’s Chest and falsettos vocal range. My favorite lines from the song have to be “under this pressure under this weight,
we are diamonds taking shape.” To me what this means although in life you have to have your moments of fun and relaxation, there comes a time where you evolve and grow. You go from that diamond in the rough to a full blown 2,000 carat diamond, meaning that out of the hell and pressures that life may throw at you something beautiful is made. You.
If you were curious to know how they made the music video
Army of One
My personal favorite off the album, incorporating a strong synth and electronic based orchestra, its definitely a Coldplay classic with an experimentation twist of synths that you may be familiar with from Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends. This track also comes with a secret track which is what makes this Army of One perfect! If you want to hear a one hour endless loop of it you can go to our Soundcloud and listen to it!
For the fans of the Coldplay that brought them Parachutes, they will feel right at home with Amazing Day. As a reminder to fans that they’re still here to making songs for the road home. To me it feels like a post-divorce song with a hint of reference towards U2’s Beautiful Day doesn’t it? The strongest lyrics of this track are at the near end:
Can the Birds in poetry chime?
can there be breaks in the chaos sometimes?
oh thanks God, must have heard when I prayed
cause now I always want to feel this way
All in all although not the closing effort of a last album hurrah we expected, A Head Full of Dreams will not leave any Coldplay fan disappointed. In my recommendation the essential tracks or “meat and bones” of the album are: Adventure of a Lifetime, Birds, Army of One, Everglow and Amazing Day.