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Coldplay – Always in My Head – The beautiful opener from Ghost Stories

Coldplay – Always in My Head

Ghost Stories has been out in the big wide world for just over 2 weeks. For those who have immersed themselves in the emotional Ghost Stories, it may feel like an age away since the iTunes festival in March showcased some of the new material. Coldplaying.com will look back at where it began for each Ghost Story, the fan reaction, live performances and more.

Today, we start off with Always in My Head, which surprisingly appeared at the start of their appearance at SXSW iTunes festival in the Austin Convention Center on 11th March 2014. In recent times, we are used to an uptempo start to Coldplay’s live shows like Hurts Like Heaven, which kicked off proceedings on the Mylo Xyloto tour. Always in My Head represented a slower pace but also gave us a glimpse into what we should of expected from Ghost Stories and captured the beautiful love story theme.

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Chris Martin and the boys return in March 2014

Always in My Head has been a prominant feature in Coldplay’s live performances so far in 2014, mainly as the opening track. The song was been widely praised by fans since the first live performance, while there were some criticisms for the length of the track with some fans thinking the track feels ‘incomplete’ due to the swift ending, “This, I guess, is to tell you you’re chosen out from the rest”.

The first taster of the studio version was from the preview clip of BBC Radio 1’s Zane Lowe, interviewing Chris Martin.

The studio version features an angelic choir that adds a beautiful layer to the song in which Chris Martin’s daughter, Apple Martin features on backing vocals as revealed during the said Radio 1 interview. Chris was asked by Zane in the emotional interview whether Ghost Stories took shape after finishing Always in My Head and listening back to it, to which Chris replied,

“Yeah, 100%, because, I feel… i’m 37, the rest of us are 36 and if I was like…for one reason or another, with everything going on in real life, the way that we see the world….there’s no point in being anything other than completely open and honest and so…when that song came out, I went, that’s it! well, it doesn’t matter if you won’t like this and i’m never going to be as lyrically adept as Jay-Z or you know…Morrisey! but I can sing what I really think, what i’m learning, or what i’m feeling, so in a way, i’m happy that we put that there as it puts me at ease with like…its ok, I don’t really mind what anyone says about this album because, its just the truth!” Zane agrees with Chris stating “You know what I mean, its as true as my nose! so if some people have a real problem with my nose, what can I do!” as Chris charmingly laughs.

The simple lyrics, especially at the start of the song, are really effective and become a common theme throughout the album but most importantly, Chris is very genuine with these lyrics and it really adds to the atmosphere and theme of the brilliant LP overall.

Live highlights

There is no doubt, Always In My Head has been one of the live highlights of this era. The highlights of the live performances have arrived when the venue has been as intimate as possible which really compliments the song. A prime example of this is performance on the Jimmy Fallon show. Chris has had better vocal performances than this such as the iTunes festival but the compact stage really captures the chemistry of the band and Jonny Buckland was also fantastic in this as with the rest of the band!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tDFXcjcUKF8

Another undoubted highlight was the opening of the Ghost Stories film / TV special, where Chris was flying (in a pink harness apparently from the lucky fans who were present) as the band were playing in an empty theater before Chris closed to eyes to end the first track of Ghost Stories and perform Magic!

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Fan reviews and reactions to Always in My Head

By Christa42, one of the Coldplaying moderators

The first word I think of is hypnotic. I love that it is the first song on the album. The intro, which I did not hear fully until I got the cd, is beautiful. I glides you gracefully into the song. Will’s constant drum “heart” beat mixed with Guy’s bass is intoxicating. The guitar dances over the chords. Chris’s voice is so sweet, honest and pure, the words just flow. All the elements of the song capture you and you are lost in it all and you are floating. And then, as if you are in a dream, the song ends, not abruptly but sooner than you think and you wake up….. with a smile.

By the_escapist on the Coldplaying forums

Angel’s singing from a distant heaven and Will’s electronic drums and one of the most seductive Jonny’s riffs ever serve as the beginning of a great album opener, clearly a standout of the new album. Once again – like with the whole album, the attention is centered in Chris’ voice and lyrics. The drums provide ambient while the angel’s keep singing. It is probably one the most solid lyrics – although a bit repetitive – Chris has written. Guy’s bass suits perfectly and Will’s backing vocals do an amazing job. The songs attracts you immensely, but already lets you know that you will be heartbroken while listening to this record. That is probably why Will’s drums kind of mimic a heart beating, while Chris closes the song with probably one of the best piece of lyrics he has ever written: “This / I guess / Is to tell you / You’re chosen out from the rest”. 9/10.

And RhysBP also shares his opinion of Always in My Head

Coldplay have always made a habit of opening their albums with rather explosive numbers. However, on Ghost Stories, listeners are greeted with a rather subdued piece that could be labelled as one of their best openers since Politik in 2002.

As the band make a gradual shift to the new territory of electronic, Always In My Head sounds the most like the Coldplay of old. Starting off with the ethereal sounds of a distant choir under a wash of ambient synthesizers, you can hear a slight crescendo right before Jonny Buckland, Guy Berryman and Will Champion all kick in at the same time. 


There are two things that are most interesting at this part in the song. The first is that out of the three, Berryman on bass produces the most prominent sound, which is very uncommon for a Coldplay song. The second fact is that Chris Martin doesn’t make a contribution until his opening lyric, which occurs one minute in. I find this interesting because it gives listeners a chance to appreciate Coldplay without Martin.

From the minute mark onwards, Martin delivers some of his most heartfelt and direct lyrics yet. You can really hear the anguish and despair of his separation in lyrics like “I think of you / I haven’t slept” and “Though I try / My heart stays still”.

The song never reaches an amazing climax like most of Coldplay’s album openers do. Instead, the sounds of swirling guitars, heavy bass and resounding drum beats form a very dreamy song that certainly sets the tone for the rest of the album. The song may be only around three and a half minutes long but any more time and Coldplay would have definitely over cooked it.

RATING – 4/5

Now, for the overall Poll results of Always In My Head since the release of Ghost Stories!

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Just under 50% of Coldplayers voted the opening track a perfect 10 out of 10!

There are no doubts, that Always In My Head will be considered one of the greatest Coldplay album openers and the band have released some absolute cracking tunes to start of each album. That speaks volumes!

What do you think of Always in My Head? please leave a Facebook comment below and let us know!

Next…

Call it Magic, Call it True, stay tuned as we move onto the magical second track off Ghost Stories soon!