in Review

Coldplay – A Head Full of Dreams

Since when did Coldplay start writing New Age music? Look at these track names: “A Head Full of Dreams”, “Birds”, “Hymn for the Weekend”, “Everglow.” I literally named the first four tracks in order. This is a rock band, right? Not that Coldplay ever rocked that much to begin with, but what is this? Does Chris Martin need this much cheering up after his split with G-Pal? First, he had to record the equivalent of him crying into a pillow with Ghost Stories and now he’s like, “Everything’s good y’all!” as if the mere concept of being alive is like living in a euphoric Candyland.

Saying A Head Full of Dreams is upbeat is the understatement of all understatements. Like rainbow sorbet, A Head Full of Dreams is a heaping pile of super sweet excrement. If this wasn’t enough, the album features guest performances from Beyonce, Tove Lo, and… Barack Obama? What is this band? Whatever integrity this group once had is now completely gone only to be replaced with the quest for infinite money. Though money can’t buy you love Mr. Martin or happiness. Well, it can buy you up $75,000 worth, but no more.

If you were to travel back in time to 2005 and give a 16-year-old me this album, I would probably flip you off and steal your time machine. Then I would buy a hover board and hover on over to the Holomax Theater for a matinee showing of Jaws 19. I can’t believe this is even the same band. The band who wrote classic rock ballads like, “Yellow,” “The Scientist,” and “Fix You.” Remember when the old man with the breathing apparatus sang “Fix You” in the movie Young@Heart? Remember how much it made us all love that song? Coldplay is so far removed from “Fix You” it might as well have been recorded by someone else. Over the years Coldplays has morphed into another entity completely. An entity driven by charts, synthesizers, and flashy Hollywood flings. I’m talking to you Will Champion.

I already called A Head Full of Full of Dreams New Age, but I think the band is trying to disguise it as dance music. Except everything is so chilled out and mid-tempo the only dancing you’ll be doing is in the dentist’s chair. The lead single, “Adventure of a Lifetime,” which also happened to be the tagline to every kids movie made in the 90s is the closest to a song I don’t hate. I love the Disco-flavored guitar riff. Not sure I could tell you what the vocal hook was. Remembering the chorus is a bit of a struggle. As is remembering most of the album. I remember a great deal of spoken word performances by some calm old guy and as I mentioned earlier, Barack Obama singing “Amazing Grace” is sampled on a track. The production is nice, thanks to producers Rik Simpson and Stargate… Wait, Stargate? Like the movie, Stargate? What the hell is going on here?

Normally I encourage bands to try new things. If you’re stuck in a rut go for it, man. Play the music your heart tells you to play. The problem with Coldplay is they weren’t in a rut. X&Y was full of catchy pop-rock hits and Viva La Vida (which by all means should have been a disaster) showed the group exploring more diverse influences and sounds. Then they made Myloxlxozoto. Just look at it’s indecipherable name. Was there a clear vision? Coldplay just kind of crapped it out and because it was successful—as they are incapable of not being successful—they have continued down the path of mediocre radio pop. I’m sure a lot of people out there would argue Coldplay has ALWAYS been mediocre radio pop, but I disagree. Coldplay was a rock band. Their contemporaries were bands like The Flaming Lips and Modest Mouse. Now? I’m not sure who Coldplay would play with at a festival. Maroon 5? Oh god, Coldplay isn’t even as good as Maroon 5 now! NOOOOO!!!

I have defended Coldplay for a long time. Even though I never understood all the hate. I usually get why people hate bands. Let’s take U2. Bono is preachy, the group “tackles” so many issues to the point of self parody, they sell out like it’s going out of style, and don’t forget the accusations of them evading taxes in their homeland. These seem like valid reasons to hate a band. What’s wrong with Coldplay? “Chris Martin’s a whiny b*tch!” Why? Because of how he sings? There’s a lot whiny bands. I think what’s unique about Coldplay hatred is it somehow became trendy over the years for “intellectual” music fans. Pitchfork HATES Coldplay. Peter Griffin HATES Coldplay. Judd Apatow even made fun of Coldplay. It’s what people did and still do. What annoys me is how Coldplay really didn’t deserve it back then. They deserve it now.

I say all of this because I don’t want Coldplay’s new material to overshadow what they accomplished in the past. I don’t want the next generation of cynical teenagers to turn their noses at so much great music because Coldplay is dating Jennifer Lawrence. They were good once. Just not now. Coldplay has become a money makin’ machine from the worst musical output of their career. Christ, they’re playing the damn Super Bowl! Maybe someday someone will fix you Coldplay, and I’ll be waiting. Waiting in a chair as a dentists drills a hole in my tooth to the tune of “Adventure of a Lifetime.”

Favorite Tracks: “Adventure of a Lifetime,” I guess? I don’t care.