Review: Coldplay – Everyday Life

Coldplay - Everyday Life

On their eighth studio album, Coldplay have made a record that embraces the past while still keeping most of its heart in the present. The double album entitled Everyday Life is broken into two chapters, in “Sunrise” and “Sunset,” and paints a picture of a band with plenty of tricks still up their sleeves. Every detail of this album seems carefully crafted, right down to the artwork mirrored on both the top and bottom. Chris Martin and his bandmates could have made a record in the same vein of their last effort, A Head Full of Dreams, but that’s simply not in Coldplay’s DNA to be complacent with what they have done before. Instead, we are left with 16 songs that sound simultaneously immediate, current, and creative.

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Review: Coldplay – A Head Full of Dreams

Coldplay - A Head Full of Dreams

A year and a half ago, Coldplay released their best record. Let me stop you before you start trying to figure out how that warped timeline can get you back to 2008’s Viva la Vida or 2002’s A Rush of Blood to the Head. Sure, those records had big world-beating singles and a lot of ambition, but as an album, nothing in this band’s catalog touches Ghost Stories. A stark, spectral disc about a Chris Martin’s broken heart, Ghost Stories was great precisely because it played so against type for Coldplay. These guys were supposed to be stadium rockers! Where were the hooks? Where was the celebration? Where was the consummate hugeness that they’d been leveling up gradually for a decade? For most of their history, Coldplay have been a band about you and we, not a band about me. But on Ghost Stories, the key line was “Tell me you love me, if you don’t then lie.” It wasn’t a record that was meant for communal gatherings in stadiums or arenas; hell, it didn’t even sound like a record that was supposed to escape Chris Martin’s heartbroken, insomniac brain, so personal and intimate was the music within.

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Review: Coldplay – Ghost Stories

Coldplay - Ghost Stories

There aren’t many artists in pop music today that are easier to dismiss out of hand than Coldplay. I know this because I spent the better part of a decade doing it myself, mercilessly mocking this band for their limp, wimpy attempts at arena rock. I’m not entirely sure why that was, since Coldplay’s ballad-heavy music has pretty much always been situated directly in my wheelhouse, but regardless of the reasoning, the fact remains that there is something about Coldplay that just makes people want to disparage them.

When I finally started to pull down my walls of mocking, mean-spirited indifference toward this band, I moved instead to skepticism. I saw the promise in certain songs on the band’s third album, 2005’s X&Y, but I also saw a lot of bloat, the stink of lofty ambitions that didn’t pay off. I was only slightly more taken with the band’s fourth full-length release, 2008’s Viva la Vida, an album that most people adored, but that I saw as a pale imitation of countless better bands, from U2 to Radiohead and beyond. There was promise on that album too, but it was lost somewhere under layers of stadium rock pretense and misplaced bombast, from the overbearing title track to the lyrically inept “Lost!”

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