Since first breaking into the music scene in 2000 with the widely acclaimed Parachutes Coldplay have gone from strength-to-strength breaking markets world wide and managing massive success without selling out. Something very few artists manage and something that deserves the utmost respect, even more so after lending weight to humanitarian and political issues worldwide, following in the footsteps of Bob Geldof and U2 (the latter to whom their music has often been compared). With their upcoming 7th studio album, A Head Full of Dreams they had suggested in interviews with the BBC that this may be their last, but does it play out like a grand finale?
On first listen, it plays like an upbeat, foot tapping pop album and as you delve deeper, they seem to draw on influences in dance, hip-hop and acid jazz. Chris’ vocals are polished and occasionally a bit stretched, but this is nothing new in the band’s back catalogue. Opener and title track, A Head Full of Dreams is a euphoric, slightly psychedelic feel good track full of oh-oh-oh’s and an anthemic chorus. This sets the mood for the album through Hymn for the Weekend with it’s offbeat percussion and piano driven Everglow with it’s soaring chorus. It’s big, nice and poppy and Adventure of a Lifetime and Fun (feat. Tove Lo) follow suit before hitting a turning point in Kaleidoscope.
Kaleidoscope with its psychedelic backing and radio sermon serve as an interlude before the album moves into more dance driven territory. It sees the band experiment with more synth and hip-hop beats on Army of One and Amazing Day. Unfortunately, Army of One ends up a little repetitive and Amazing Day with the cliché lyrics “my heart goes ba-boom-ba-boom-boom” leaves much to be desired. Don’t get me wrong, they’re good, they’re just nothing new.
Overall the album ends up being what they set out to create, a foot shuffling slow-dance floor filler and the concepts are great, they just fail to make anything their own. No doubt it will be a great commercial success like its predecessors, it’s just a shame that the supposed final instalment is lacking the excitement that their début brought to the fray 15 years ago. If this is the end, I wish them luck, if not, I wait with baited breath to hear how they eventually bow out of their illustrious career.