Review Summary: a depression, a meanness
There’s a good lesson to be learned in Coldplay’s latest LP, A Head Full of Dreams - good intentions can only take you so far. The alt-rock minds of Coldplay wanted to treat Dreams as sort of a successor to its predecessor, aiming to make Dreams a far more vivacious, upbeat project than the depressing, invisibly mediocre Ghost Stories. To that end, an awesome hit single was needed, and Coldplay thought that their disco-influenced “Adventure of a Lifetime” was up for the job, complete with a music video featuring the members of Coldplay as monkeys who swing around on vines, play guitars, dance in synchronization, and throw their sh*t at the unsuspecting, likely bewildered innocents. The music video ends with the phrase: “Dedicated to the people of Paris, where this film was brought to life.” Lovely sentiment, considering the attacks, but in regards to the video, “brought to life” doesn’t seem very apt. “Shat out in a haze of drugs” would be a more fitting way to sum up how the video was made.
Breakdancing monkeys. It’s around this point Dreams starts to show its flaws – because “Adventure Of A Lifetime” isn’t half-bad, even if it’s torturously prolonged, clocking in at under five minutes when two or three could have sufficed. And its follow-up track, “Fun” (feat. Tove Lo) is pretty good as well, featuring a nice duet between Jesus Christ Martin and Tove Lo. However, the chub in your pants will go away very quickly, because the rest of the album is trash. Nobody (should have) expected “Violet Hill” or “Princess of China” from a chintzy, uncoordinated project like this (the bar for Dreams was not very high: all it had to do, really, was not be as morbid as Ghost Stories), but the songs are quite bad, even so. The Youngblood Hawke-esque “Birds” is f*ck-all boring, four minutes of pure nothing carried forward without any distinct instrumental or vocal melodies; in essence, it’s noise. “Everglow” features some monstrously bad songwriting, and it serves only one real purpose, which is to show that Dreams’ idea of a showstopping ballad is going to be a bit
littler than the Coldplay albums preceding it. “Up and Up” is the album’s nadir, musically or otherwise, full of unfocused, bored-sounding warbling via Chris Martin, along with a mediocre guitar solo, lackluster soifnsopvxcj xjvopizn vzxcusdbvgzsdfvgzbvzfxcb xfmzcvno’[‘[pcvnmgtnv x
I’m sorry, I fell asleep on my desk. “X Marks the Spot” (a so-called hidden track) sucks – try to imagine singing a phrase like “My heart, go boom-ba-boom-boom” and you’ll see why it doesn’t work. It is interesting solely for its weird, experimental soundscape – there’s no guitar at all, and the track feels like a huge wall of synthesizers and processed sounds. It almost sounds cool, but it isn’t. “X Marks the Spot” is attached to the similarly-boring “Army of One”, which is followed by the dreadfully boring “Amazing Day”, and then bam, this masterpiece
is over, clocking in at a little over forty-five minutes. Jesus take the wheel, wasn’t that fun
I have to give Dreams credit where credit is due – it’s a great cure for insomnia, and it’ll do the trick when eating until you pass out doesn’t work. Dreams is definitely free of all the teenage angst and cock-stroking that Martin was going through in Ghost Stories, but that doesn’t mean it’s good. It’s well-produced, and slick-sounding, and it has Beyonce for like twenty seconds, but almost none of it sounds good. Gone are the days of successful experimentation and ambition from Viva la Vida
and, to a lesser extent, Mylo Xyloto
. Instead, Coldplay falls back on doing what Coldplay does best – suck. I cringed so much listening to this album on Spotify, and it made me realize that Coldplay’s moment in the sun is over, and it’s been over for a long time. They had their chance to shine, and they crafted some pretty great songs in the process, but now they’re settling for the easy, lazy route, and it is not good; almost every single song sucks. The whole damn project is dreadful. If this is truly the last Coldplay album (I probably should have mentioned that earlier, but I didn’t, because who cares), then damn, what a terrible note to go out on.
Breakdancing f*cking monkeys.