The musicians who brought us timeless classics such as “Yellow,” “The Scientist” and “Clocks” now bring us a new, fast-paced feel with songs from their latest album, “A Head Full of Dreams.” Coldplay, the seminal British rock band fronted by singer Chris Martin, could be considered legendary due to the way it has revolutionized the idea of alternative rock with its flair and immense popularity in the past two decades. Until the release of “A Head Full of Dreams,” the band had not strayed far from this mellow, indie-alternative style of music, leading to controversy over the newer album’s techno, pop and electronic dance influences throughout the 11-song playlist. Many fans question if this album will be the end of Coldplay’s chart-topping success, but this may only be the beginning of a new, modern era of Coldplay.
In the title track, “A Head Full of Dreams,” Martin belts with the same great vocals he started with in 1996 in this fast-paced number that sets the energetic tone for the remainder of the album. Martin is getting older, and his voice in certain songs (“Everglow” and “Amazing Day,” specifically) sounds a little croaky. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, where in songs like “A Head Full of Dreams” and “Birds” it works well with the rhythmic structure.
The melody on “Hymn for the Weekend,” featuring Beyoncé, soars well above countless other Coldplay melodies, providing the most solid pop foundation pulled off by the group in this endeavor. The lyrics are stellar as Martin reminisces about his emotional battles against an electro-dance backdrop, singing, “Oh now I think I must be miles up / When I was hurt, withered, dried up / You came to rain a flood.” Perhaps the best song on the album, one could listen to this four-minute track on repeat for hours without becoming bored or aggravated.
Unfortunately, not every song on the album proves to be easy on the ears. “Amazing Day” is not Martin’s best work. While the title of the ballad leads to the assumption that this will be a positive, happy number, Martin sounds as if he is wailing in agony in the duration of this symphonic mess. “Up&Up” has a similar harmony to this track, only it approaches the style of singing in a far better manner and is a superior song on this account. Both of these songs sound different than past Coldplay songs in the sense that Martin is trying to hit a larger range of pitches in a shorter amount of time. In “Amazing Day,” he fails this feat, though, while in “Up&Up” he succeeds.
This album is not the demise of Coldplay. The new sound works very well for the band, and isn’t nearly as alarming as many fans feared. Listen to it while driving, cooking, working, or celebrating and it will surely be one of your most favorite albums of 2015.