Coldplay’s been my favorite band for a few years now, which doesn’t quite add up even to me given that most of the other music I listen to is both made and listened to by the types of people that love to hate on Coldplay. Also, their newish (post-2010) music doesn’t do much for me. It’s not even a nostalgic thing either, since sadly, I didn’t know them well as a kid while they were releasing their older songs. There’s just something about their earlier, less poppy music that I deeply connect with, despite many people and music critics not feeling the same way.
So when I found out they were finally releasing a new album after two quiet years since their last tour, I didn’t have the highest expectations. I still love them as people and their live shows keep getting better and better, but I honestly expected their new album to be full of even more of the wannabe-club hits of A Head Full of Dreams, their last album. Yeah, the one released right before the 2016 Super Bowl that everyone said Beyonce and Bruno Mars stole from Coldplay. Even before the album came out, the very monotonous title (Everyday Life) threw me off, especially from a band that once made an album called Mylo Xyloto.
Everyday Life, their new album, is technically a double album, divided into two short parts called Sunrise and Sunset. They teased the album in strange ways, including sending notes written on typewriters to fans in the mail and putting up posters all over the world with the entire band edited into a picture of the guitarist’s great-grandfather’s band from 1919, which ended up serving as the album cover. They also announced that they weren’t going to tour the album. Instead (apart from a few live shows), they played the entire album in Amman, Jordan at sunrise and sunset and broadcast it live on YouTube on November 22nd, the album’s release date.
All of this seems to be a pretty atypical promotion for a new album, but for a band of Coldplay’s long-term success and stature, they can afford to do what they want at this point. As for the actual quality of Everyday Life, it completely reflects this.
Photo Credit: Egyptian Streets
I couldn’t have been more wrong with my initial expectations. The album is unlike anything they’ve done before, but a return to their early sound at the same time. It is more political than anything they have done in the past, referencing police brutality, the Syrian civil war, gun control, and more in 52 minutes.
Everyday Life comes from a wide range of people and places, including three generations of the Nigerian Kuti family playing on one song, Belgian singer Stromae, and a Persian poem as inspiration for a song named after the poem: بنی آدم (Bani Adam). Instead of just their normal grand-sounding pop rock, the album also dabbles in genres such as gospel and soul. “Cry Cry Cry” somehow manages to sound a bit like Frank Ocean. It is also notably the first album where Chris Martin swears: not just one, but three of the songs are marked explicit.
However, plenty of the songs (including “Trouble in Town”, “Champion of the World”, and “Old Friends”) would not be out of place on their albums of the early aughts. It is a return to their old, more edgy sound, but with a 2019 feel. The song “Arabesque,” easily the strangest song they have ever done (if you don’t think Coldplay can be strange, listen to it first) resembles their amazing 2002 song “Politik” in many ways, retouched with a modern vibrance.
In my opinion, nothing will ever compete with the signature soft rock sound they became famous for and were known for in the 2000s. But Everyday Life is the best thing they’ve released since 2008’s Viva la Vida or Death and all His Friends, which I’m sure you’ve heard at least one song from. Each layer of music seems to almost hint that they’ve come full circle.
In my opinion, their last few albums headed in an overproduced pop direction with corny themes, and although I don’t hate that style of music, I believe that soft rock suits Coldplay a lot better than modern pop. A few of the songs, including “Church” and “Orphans”, are filled with elements of that pop style, but it is executed in a way more subtle and interesting way, including a deeply dark theme on the seemingly happy “Orphans” complete with old school U2 style guitar and a great bassline.
Overall, many of the songs are less poppy and incorporate fragments from recent years into their old style of writing music. “Trouble In Town,” “Arabesque,” “Orphans,” “Èkó,” “Cry Cry Cry,” and “Champion of the World” especially contain interesting elements and execute them well. I’m not as much of a fan of softer tracks “Daddy” and “Old Friends” since they’re a bit cheesy, but they do sound like their very first album Parachutes and contain truly heartfelt messages.
Overall, I’m impressed Coldplay managed to go in yet another direction after the seven paths they have taken with their albums before and execute this album better than they have in years. I suggest giving it a listen—it’s not an album you’ll hear every day (Although I have to admit, it ranks dead last out of all their albums in song title creativity. “Old Friends” and “When I Need A Friend” on the same album…really?). But anyway, this isn’t a bad album by any means.
Photo Credit: The Independent
Coldplay released Parachutes and took off within a month of when I was born, and although I wasn’t fully aware of them for a long time, I feel that I’ve grown up with their career and music. I’m so excited that they decided to release another album after all they’ve done and in a way, enter the adult stage of their career.