Album Review: Coldplay - A Head Full Of Dreams

Album Review: Coldplay - A Head Full Of Dreams

What’s going on in Chris Martin’s head has never been a mystery. Early in Coldplay’s career, the singer was shy and tortured (and obsessed with the colour yellow).

Now, following an internet-breaking “conscious uncoupling” from wife, Gwyneth Paltrow, he’s shy and tortured — but learning to take one day at a time and appreciate life’s more straightforward pleasures.

These are in plentiful supply on Coldplay’s seventh studio album and include a duet with Beyonce, a Noel Gallagher guitar solo, and twinkling electro production from hit-makers, Stargate.

As the involvement of the studio tag-team behind Rihanna’s Umbrella makes clear, Head Full Of Dreams is a stepping-into-the sunlight affair. Our favourite Martin is coming to terms with life as a wealthy and famous single dude and concluding that, on balance, there might be some upsides.

As there are for fans of Coldplay, who had to suffer through the stultifying despondency of Ghost Stories, last year’s break-up LP, which laid the misery on with a spade. In place of that record’s endless mooching, the mood here is briskly upbeat, occasionally exuberant.

The tonal switch-up is unmistakable on swooping closer ‘Up and Up’ (the one with Noel G on guitars) and on ‘Hymn For The Weekend’, a strident get-together with Lady Bey, featuring cut ’n’ paste vocal samples and a jackbooted groove.

The only surprise, arguably, is the presence of ex, Paltrow, chiming in with backing ‘woos’ on ballad ‘Everglow’.

Fifteen years in, most people’s minds are long ago made up about Coldplay.

Certainly, anyone who could not tolerate their simpering early anthems is unlikely to have much time for the Elton Johnesque flourishes of technicolour wonderment that Martin frequently deploys here (he sounds perpetually on the brink of breaking into the chorus to ‘The Circle Of Life’).

For those fans who have stayed through slick and thin, though, A Head Full Of Dreams’ deluge of pop nuggets may feel like a kind of victory.

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