Review by Nick Erickson, Staff writer
The British pop-rock group, Coldplay, is undoubtedly one of the biggest bands in the world. Everyone who owns a radio has come across the dreamlike piano notes of “Clocks” or the powerful violins of “Viva La Vida,” whether they knew it or not. After being around for more than 15 years, the group released their seventh studio album, an impressive feat for any band.
“A Head Full of Dreams” encapsulates the soul the band puts into their work, but ultimately, it seems like it’s Coldplay’s attempt to repeat what they’ve done well in the past, and it falls short of bringing anything new to the table.
For those who have been fans since their debut release, “Parachutes,” there are a handful of highlights over 11 tracks that pay homage to it.
The lead single, “Adventure of a Lifetime,” has reached mainstream success in a short amount of time, already topping 89 million views on YouTube. Arguably the strongest on the record, this track brings back the early 2000s nostalgia. With its catchy guitar hook, subtle ambiance, and a groovy drumbeat, it’s classic Coldplay, and it works. Lead singer and keyboardist Chris Martin’s charismatic lyricism is ever–present here. “Oh, you make me feel like I’m alive again,” Martin sings.
It’s hard to fight the urge to dance ever so slightly to this track.
However, it does not have one particular thing that could set it apart from any previous track from the band.
The underlying problem with this record is its predictability. Sure, there are hints at what could have been some experimentation with a fresh sound, but they are few and far between. The album showcases what Coldplay has done best in their career: making catchy tracks, but really lacking the musicianship and substance to be more than background music while you’re studying.
The infamous soft rock they’re known for, combined with some beautiful organ soundscapes, makes its way onto the record with “Birds.”
The title track opens with an unusual progression, utilizing chimes, bell, and an infectious dance beat, but seconds in, it feels all too familiar. “Everglow” is a piano ballad that, while having a lighthearted atmosphere, the acoustic guitar that accompanies the overall melody feels a little cliché, and the track overall feels like it’s borrowed the same structure as a number of other ballads. Further into the album, “Up & Up,” falls into the same trap, with ever-so generic instrumentation and lackluster vocals.
Coldplay is loved by hundreds of millions of people. People will eat up this record simply for the fact that it is Coldplay.
Unfortunately it seems that despite Coldplay’s attempts to keep the listeners imaginative, they have in turn lost any sense of imagination in their songwriting. “A Head Full of Dreams” is a true Coldplay album, but perhaps that is where the fault truly lies: it’s easily forgettable and fades from memory after a few listens.
Coldplay has talent, and it still is evident at times, but as a whole, this record has fallen victim to the mainstream pop clichés.
With the size of their fan base, I doubt the band will take note of this, but hopefully one day, the band will venture out into new territory. Here’s to hope for that.