Coldplay

A Head Full of Dreams

Parlophone/Atlantic

Dec 11, 2015 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Coldplay's seventh album A Head Full of Dreams is insufferably bland at best and downright offensive at worst. Over the course of 11 tracks, Chris Martin and company repeatedly and frequently make decisions that prompt the simple question: why?

Take, for instance, "Kaleidoscope." This is the track that made headlines a while ago for including a sample of Barack Obama singing "Amazing Grace" at the eulogy for those slain in a mass hate crime in a Charleston church earlier this year. The thing is, it's shoved into the final seconds of a breezy instrumental interlude. It's not used to make or further any point, or to genuinely attempt to heal any wounds, which are still fresh for many. So why use it? For the headlines? (For what it's worth, the track also includes an excerpt of a Rumi poem, which isn't much better.) It's a deeply misguided attempt at generic, broad uplift, and unfortunately it's only one of a list of meaningless, manufactured pseudo-inspirational moments.

Another bafflingly wrong decision is the Beyoncé-featuring "Hymn for the Weekend," with its incorrigible refrain "I'm feeling drunk and high, so high, so high." Why Coldplay thought they could make what is essentially an imitation of a Beyoncé song is utterly confusing. The next song is "Everglow," whose over-processed twinkly piano attempts at such hammy uplift that you expect Martin to start singing about Jesus. But no, it's just another song full of Martin's emoting about the end of his marriage to Gwyneth Paltrow, with Paltrow herself contributing wordless vocal moans to the background. "Fun," featuring Tove Lo, mines the same lyrical territory, and it prompts the question: if last year's snoozefest Ghost Stories was a "breakup album," why is Martin still writing unoriginal heartbroken ballads? It wouldn't be such a problem if he hadn't done the same thing so much better on Coldplay's still-great first two albums.

And that's the ultimate tragedy about A Head Full of Dreams: if this was the band's debut, it could easily be written off as another slick, overproduced pop group. But Coldplay was once a group of capable musicians. Poor Jonny Buckland, once a master of simple and ear-catching guitar melodies, is relegated to background texture work, and the most notable guitar moment on the album comes from Oasis' Noel Gallagher, playing an extremely early-Coldplay sounding solo on closer "Up&Up." It's a final grab at guest-star attention on an album that is processed and fake at its core. Everybody at the club, please pour one out for Coldplay, for A Head Full of Dreams is (hopefully) the final nail in their artistic coffin. (www.coldplay.com)

Author rating: 2/10

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Average reader rating: 7/10



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Anon
December 12th 2015
11:36am

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OW47FkThbio

Iwan
December 17th 2015
8:49am

I dislike this review quite a lot. Im sorry Sir, but it is absolutely rubbish. I sounds like a teenager, who doesn’t like served home-made dinner..

I agree, not the best Coldplay album. But you are not objective with your points, and that is a shame. Too much about personal taste, but in the end, thats what MUSIC is all about.

Lusali
December 28th 2015
2:38am

I haven’t listened to this album yet since my sister warned me against it but this album flopping isn’t a surprise.  Coldplay has already been on a decline.  Their last two albums have been mediocre.  Lyrically, they couldn’t be any worse which is baffling since their early work has been pretty good in this area.

Tatremy
January 3rd 2017
5:42pm

The fact that this rating was even included on Metacritic is just disgraceful. This review is so immature and ridiculous that the reviewer should just quit his job if he is going to act this way.. We get it, you hate the album, but that doesn’t entitle you to write in such an unnecessarily brutal and childish dialogue with points that mostly pertain soley to personal taste.