Coldplay
A Head Full of Dreams


3.0
good

Review

by MercuryToHell CONTRIBUTOR (43 Reviews)
December 5th, 2015 | 16 replies


Release Date: 12/04/2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: When you paint with every colour, expect some clashes.

Coldplay's ability to bounce between unrelenting dreariness and saccharine sweet positivity may be a key factor in their overwhelming popularity, but for this reviewer, it's served only as a barrier, causing their albums to be overwhelmingly inconsistent. That being said, heading into this new (and possibly final, if some reports are to be believed) release, there appeared something of substance behind the lurid colours and overtly optimistic aesthetic.

There are well-realised expansions on the Mylo Xyloto style ideas on this record, as evidenced on the T/T intro, lead single 'Adventure Of A Lifetime' and 'Birds', and there are the standard lighters-in-the-air festival pleasers in 'Fun' (which features a lovely vocal spot from Tove Lo), 'Amazing Day', and 'Everglow'. So far, so good, although possibly a little as if the band are discarding 2014's Ghost Stories altogether.

Where this album loses it's way, however, is that while Coldplay definitely have the chops to take on differing styles and sound convincing rather than just following trends, the peaks and troughs are too haphazardly spread across the length of the record. 'Army Of One/X Marks The Spot' are both interesting takes on synth-pop, showing restraint and moody instrumentation, but there is no reason to hold them together as one track. They are similar in tempo and aesthetic, sure, but putting them right next to each other suggests that they were two half-ideas that the band didn't have enough faith in to stand on their own.

Further to this, the two interludes are, at best, OK, with 'Kaleidoscope' being the better of the two, but when your album is only 45 minutes long and slaloms through genres as carelessly as A Head Full Of Dreams does, it only jars the experience further, and the many satisfying moments on offer here become muddied. Jackson Pollock on an off day, perhaps.

Chris Martin, unfortunately, remains a fairly unconvincing pop vocalist - the common 'oh-oh' and 'woo' refrains sound a little forced and disingenuous from someone with Martin's range and previous material. The higher pitches of 'Everglow' and 'Amazing Day' put him under a little too much strain, and while fragility has been one of the stronger facet of his voice, here it just sounds uncomfortable, and (dare I say it) a bit off-key. However, not wanting to exaggerate the effect this has on the record as a whole, it is worthwhile mentioning that the high points are capable of inducing a genuine euphoria. The closing bars on the Beyonce-feature 'Hymn For The Weekend' boast swagger and triumphance, and the closer 'Up + Up' is everything from the 'happy Coldplay' blueprint realised excellently - Jonny Buckland's guitars glide effortlessly through a synth-laden explosion of joy, that channels Primal Scream's Screamadelica at points. Glastonbury 2016, mark my words...

Bizarrely, despite not being completely impressed by this album, one gets the impression it would be a lot better if it was longer - giving the individual components time to shine and taking the listener on a journey, rather than appealing to the short attention span of the singles market. This record had a potential to roll on like a neon steam train, taking everyone in with it, but in refusing to pace itself and throwing ideas at the wall so brazenly and recklessly, it's turned itself into an undoubtedly enjoyable but ultimately frustrating listen.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
MercuryToHell
Contributing Reviewer
December 5th 2015


1336 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Back after a fair while.

All feedback appreciated as per!

MercuryToHell
Contributing Reviewer
December 5th 2015


1336 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Although apparently I missed the boat on submitting the first one. Damnit.

Tunaboy45
December 5th 2015


16702 Comments


Nice summary, I doubt I'll ever check this, lost hope a long time ago.
Great review, pos.

MercuryToHell
Contributing Reviewer
December 5th 2015


1336 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Cheers man, top marks on the fucked up Bowie avatar!

Tunaboy45
December 5th 2015


16702 Comments


Thanks man, extremely hyped for Blackstar now.

neekafat
March 7th 2017


14330 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Guess I'm gonna have to write something defending this

glorybox94
March 29th 2017


968 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

holy shit this album sucks

conditionals
June 9th 2017


555 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I really loathe this album for solidifying a certain version of the band - basically a point of no return for them in terms of becoming simplistic, uber-positive crowd pleasers. The Kaleidoscope EP and Chainsmokers collaboration confirm that.

On the other hand, I really do like some of these songs on a base level. The majority of them, actually, except for 'Amazing Day', 'Up&Up', 'Fun' and of course 'Hymn for the Weekend'. On the other end of the scale, 'Army of One' is exceptional IMO.

BTW: I never thought any comparison would shit me more than U2 being a constant touchpoint, but seeing The Chainsmokers as a 'similar artist' on Sputnik takes the cake.

neekafat
July 10th 2017


14330 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

You guys suck, album is coldplay's worst but still really solid

Pangea
July 10th 2017


2785 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

ehh i'm a big coldplay fan but i don't think this is solid at all

Digging: Sharon Van Etten - Remind Me Tomorrow

theBoneyKing
July 10th 2017


16043 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Yeah this sucks

I'm actually kind of excited to hear their new EP though

Digging: Modest Mouse - The Lonesome Crowded West

neekafat
July 10th 2017


14330 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

New EP is probably gonna rock, at least we can all agree on this

Yeah everyone is allowed to hate on this if y'all can lay off Mylo Xyloto and Ghost Stories

MrSirLordGentleman
July 10th 2017


12328 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Mylo Xyloto at least has a couple of excellent songs



this, this is 100% poop

theBoneyKing
July 10th 2017


16043 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

I haven't heard any of the songs they've released for the new EP (well aside from the Chainsmokers one) but from what I've read 3 of the 5 songs are great and a return somewhat to their pre-Mylo styles. Chances are I'll just edit out the Chainsmokers and the Big Sean songs and spin the rest on their own.

neekafat
July 10th 2017


14330 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Indeed, I'm curious to hear the Big Sean one tho because of the quality of the rest of them aside from the Chainsmokers one lol

neekafat
July 10th 2017


14330 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I mean clearly I'll defend whatever the fuck they put out but that Chainsmokers single was, well, 100% poop



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