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AHFOD - YOUR reviews

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Thoughts On “A Head Full of Dreams”

 

Well here we are, 18 months later and another Coldplay album is upon us. It really shouldn’t be that surprising though, given the personal nature of 2014’s Ghost Stories and the limited promotion surrounding the release, it was really a matter of time before the band got right back into the studio for another album. And did they ever. A Head Full of Dreams can be described as the colorfully neon yin to the grey and melancholy Ghost Stories yang, and is what I’d originally envisioned the band would follow Mylo Xyloxo (2011) with.

 

This new album also sees Coldplay open up to more collaborators and guest artists than ever before. Gone are the days of the shock and horror that was received when it was announced Rihanna was to guest on “Princess of China.” A Head Full of Dreams features no less than 14 listed artistic contributions from outside of the band, including Beyoncé, Avicii, Noel Gallagher, US President Barack Obama (seriously), Davide Rossi, Tove Lo, Chris Martin’s son Moses, his ex-wife Gwyenth Paltrow, and new girlfriend Annabelle Wallis. Each of these collaborator’s contributions ranges in scale, but it’s amazing to see how many people were featured in this album. And on top of all of them, there is a listed 28 member “chorus” comprised of family & friends that help sing the final track “Up&Up.”

 

For the new album, Coldplay enlisted the Norwegian production team of Stargate to help them work. Known for more pop acts like Beyoncé, Katy Perry, and Rhianna, I was initially apprehensive about this new direction. But I think they managed to produce a fantastic sounding album. It’s got all of the electronic pop elements I was expecting, while still keeping true to that signature Coldplay sound.

 

Some thoughts on a track by track analysis:

 

A Head Full of Dreams - Coldplay like to treat their intro song as a mission statement of the album, and by also making the first track the title track, they really want to emphasize what the listener is about to experience. I love the instrumentation collage (bells?) that open the album, the first 15 seconds feels a bit like “Life In Technicolour” on Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends. Bright, colorful, and upbeat, “A Head Full of Dreams” is a beautiful track complete with a signature “woahhhoohhhh” wordless vocal over the final chorus. A great stadium singalong, to be sure.

 

Birds - The second track in the album is another upbeat one, but a little quieter compared to the bombastic opening song. Jonny Buckland’s guitar parts over most of this song makes it feel like a reprise of “Hurts Like Heaven” from Mylo Xyloto. My only real complaint about this song is that it’s the third album in a row with a song concerning birds. I’m stuck between calling it lazy or chalking it up to the fact that Chris Martin is clearly influenced by birds. Regardless, another great track.

 

Hymn For The Weekend - Three songs in and Coldplay aren’t taking their feet off the gas. Another very upbeat and colorful track, but with a more R&B beat (compliments of Avicii). Featuring Beyoncé, I admittedly figured it would be a duet or mostly her, but it really is Coldplay featuring Beyoncé. She sings the background hook and duets the chorus with Martin, which is just enough of an element without overpowering the entire song. I didn’t much care for it on my first listen, but after a few repeats I found myself dancing and singing along with the chorus. It’s now one of my favorites on the album.

 

Everglow - Classic Coldplay. They finally ease up on the tempo and allow the listener a chance to breathe. Lyrically, the song deals with the feeling of “joyful residue” thinking about someone after they leave your life. Looking back positively on an ending relationship, the track could easily serve as an epilogue to Ghost Stories. By no accident I’m sure, this track features vocals by Gwyneth Paltrow, Martin’s ex-wife. Like Beyoncé, I assumed she would be all over the track. However, she only features a minor “heyyyy” in the background that, if you didn’t know it was her, would just write it off as a sample or session musician. A great breath of air.

 

Adventure of A Lifetime - Break’s over, time to dance. Upon first listen, this disco-inspired track immediately felt like the band’s attempt to make a track like Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky.” The song is built around a repeating 4 chord structure and guitar lick (go Jonny!), a great bassline (go Guy!), and another classic “woo-hoo” Coldplay chorus that we’ll all be singing along at stadiums soon enough. Martin says this track came out of a jam the other 3 members of the band were having, and I think it comes across as a great ensemble piece. Production-wise, I love the decision to run a high-pass filter on the line “feel my heartbeat” so that we’re essentially left with a kick drum and bass, the heartbeat of the track. Excellent stuff, great song.

 

Fun - Another post-breakup track, but like “Everglow”, this is about looking back positively on having fun with someone during your time together. Another featured artist, Tove Lo, sings along with Chris Martin but never takes a lead vocal. They blend well nicely, however. Maybe the weakest track on the album, but by no means a bad one. Just less good than others.

 

Kaleidoscope - The first of two interlude tracks, “Kaleidoscope” lives up to it’s name by incorporating the seemingly random collection of a spoken word poem, several piano riffs, and finishing with a sample of Barack Obama singing Amazing Grace. Again, after hearing Obama would be on this I was hesitant that it would be heavy-handed, but again I was proven wrong. If I didn’t know it would have thought it was just a mumbled sample. Cool track.

 

Army of One - Rhythmically, this feels kinda similar to “Fun”. I love the use of the organ and church bell in the background of this song, a very cool and powerful song. Not much to say other than it gets stuck in my head very frequently.

 

X Marks The Spot - A “hidden track” on this album that and maybe the only time that my worry about what I’d heard about this song was confirmed. Described as Chris Martin “spitting rhymes over a beat” sums it up nicely. I really want to not like this song, but it gets stuck in my head pretty frequently. The jury is still out.

 

Amazing Day - Easily one of my favorites on the album, and a perfect mirror to the opening track of “Always In My Head” on Ghost Stories, right down to the drum beat and tempo. But while “Always In My Head” was dark and melancholy about how life can just suck, this is a joyous and celebratory song about how life just couldn’t get any better. Another cliché wordless “wooooahhhahhahhh” vocal, but might be my favorite since “Viva La Vida.” This song makes me feel like I’m running through a field of wildflowers or something. Amazing indeed.

 

“Colour Spectrum” - Another interlude, and a reprise of the bells that make up the intro to “A Head Full of Dreams,” mixed with some other samples of vocals in the album. A great little track, I just wish it was longer. I use quotes for the title because, as it’s listed on the CD, it’s actually a bar with the color spectrum.

 

Up&Up - A great closing track, probably the second best album closer since “Death And All His Friends” on VLVODAAHF. The song slowly builds from a beat and piano with Martin singing to a grand crescendo with two guitar solos by Noel Gallagher from Oasis, a 28-member chorus, and every insrument you could possibly imagine. A great song about how things, no matter what, are always getting better and that it’s important to focus on those parts of your life. After the climax of the song comes to pass, we’re left with one final thought in the form of a piano coda: Believe In Love.

 

A Head Full of Dreams is a colorful and ambitious album. Period. It sounds like it was written by a band who couldn’t be more happy to be alive and doing what they are doing. It’s certainly a great juxtaposition with Ghost Stories in that it forms a happy ending and resolution to the darker work, both musically and lyrically. It’s a great addition to the Coldplay canon.

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A Head Full Of Dreams - There's a lot more "going on" in the studio version than the live version I had previously heard. The atmospherics and Jonny's guitar playing steal the song for me. I admit I originally expected more of a DLIBYH kind of song, with less U2 influence, but I was pleasantly surprised to get something a little more reminiscent of Hurts Like Heaven and ETIAW; AHFOD is very uptempo (Guy and Will are on fire!) and has one of the catchiest melodies Coldplay have ever written. It's not my favorite track on the album but it's a solid opener. Well done. 8.5/10

 

Birds - Now I see where a lot of the Phoenix and indie comparisons come from; this is a bit different from anything the band has done before but the lyrics are far better than expected and I actually don't mind the electronic drums. When they're not used like they are in Up In Flames, True Love, or X Marks The Spot (I'll get to that one later...), they sound more natural and they don't stick out like a sore thumb. This one's going to be amazing live. 8.5/10

 

Hymn For The Weekend - From my first listen to the snippet I assumed I was going to despise this song, but... now that I've heard it, it's starting to make some sense. It's still generic pop to my ears but there's something about it that sets it apart... and it's not just that jungle noise intro that is snippetted in the AOAL video. It's that melody and the fact that the lyrics aren't complete and total crap. Sure, they're repetitive, and I never would've imagined Chris singing about being drunk and high (LOL), but they're less cliche than most music of this type. I don't love the song, and I don't even really like it either because of the genre, but it is better thought out and better produced than either Princess of China or ASFOS. I can actually tolerate listening to it. 6.5/10

 

Everglow - This song is like Proof combined with Magic and Up In Flames... except the whole is better than the sum of its parts. The lyrics are better than each song combined, the drums aren't generic, annoying, and electronic, and there's a brief yet gorgeous guitar solo towards the end. The synths give off an X&Y vibe but there is also a lot of GS in the song. However, despite the GS similarities, it is produced in a way that makes everything listenable without sounding too polished. Heck, I don't even mind the Gwyneth Paltrow "Heys" throughout the track. The live version is better, but the studio version is great as well. I hear some Oldplay here, and even though there is a lot of the signature Newplay sounds as well, it is a great compromise between the two sides. I absolutely dig this song, maybe even more so than when it was released; it gives me this total Everglow. ;) 8.5/10.

 

Adventure Of A Lifetime - I was a little underwhelmed by this one at first, but it’s safe to say now that it has grown on me. The Stargate production on this song is unnecessary and isn’t needed to produce that disco sound, but the riff is an ear worm in itself and the song proves that Will and Guy don’t need to be playing something musically complex to just drive the song along well. Lyrics are cheesy but better than most of GS. 7.5/10.

 

Fun - This is yet another song with an amazing riff, but it’s more of a “meh” moment for me. There is a partly GS and partly X&Y sound going on but the song bores me a bit to be honest. The lyrics are nice and Tove Lo sounds good. 7.5/10

 

Kaleidoscope - This is more of an interlude than a full song, but it’s still beautiful. The Guest House is inspiring and it’s basically where the whole album’s themes come from. Very nice. :) 9/10

 

Army Of One - I seriously thought I’d enjoy this song more. There are good things about it, like that cool organ sound and the melody, but it’s a bit boring. The lyrics are okay, too bad they aren’t the Viva throwback that the title kind of suggests. 7/10

 

X Marks The Spot - Ughhhhhhhh……. this sounds like a Chris Martin solo cover of a Justin Bieber song. No originality whatsoever, and something I will probably never want to listen to again. The lyrics are a joke and I can barely tell that’s even Coldplay. It gets 2 points only because it’s an experiment. 2/10

 

Amazing Day - Wow! I’ve reiterated a few times that Amazing Day was amazing live, and the studio version is almost at the same level. There’s the same tenderness and emotion that appears in songs like The Scientist… though it’s not quite as good, it pulls off the mood perfectly. Davide Rossi’s strings are so beautiful and the whole band is spot on. My only complaint is that the electronic drums aren’t necessary. My first listen to the live version put tears in my eyes and the studio version was no exception. Wow. Well done, Coldplay; this is one of the very best songs since Viva. 9/10

 

Colour Spectrum - This one’s pretty cool. It’s a combination of almost every song on the album, with a bit of the same feeling as the Oceans outro. I guess it’s the closest we got to an ambient song, a la The Escapist. It’s a nice transition into Up&Up… 8/10

 

Up&Up - This song is approaching classic Coldplay levels for me. Wow. The live version is better because of the piano but the sweetness of the studio version with the choir, the chorus, and Noel and Jonny’s solos makes up for the piano’s relative absence in most of the song. I prefer the live outro with the “Believe in love” part, but this sounds good too; it sounds like O! The lyrics are so uplifting yet they somehow avoid becoming cheesy. Up&Up is a very fitting conclusion and is one of the best album closers in Coldplay’s entire discography. Amsterdam is better, but this is close. Nearly perfect. 9.5/10

 

Average score: 7/10

 

Overall, this album is far better than expected. It’s simply more inspired than the last two albums and though it’s inferior to most Oldplay, there are a few songs that I’d consider classics. Stargate kept a few songs from reaching their full potential, but there weren’t any serious production flops like DLIBYH where the whole song drowns in a wall of sound. A few songs were somewhat boring, Hymn For The Weekend sounds generic, X Marks The Spot is trash, and there is no acoustic song, but everything else is strong. Right now I’m liking this better than MX; it’s like MX done right for the most part and the return to real drums on some tracks is nice.

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Oldplayer here - been following the band since 1999. Was in awe of parachutes and arobtth when they came out. Disappointed with x&y. Invigorated and technically impressed with vlv but didn't feel the connection with the the band I had felt the first 2 albums. Mx had a few tracks that had promise but the depth of the music was not there. Ghost stories gave me a feel that Coldplay had refoubd their old formula - still not as good as the first 2 albums and b sides but the emotional connection was revived.

 

I have to say I was expecting disaster with ahfod. However I have to say I haven't been this initially geeked up about their music since vlv and I feel the depth of the Music is so much more than vlv. However I don't know if I can put it ahead of vlv yet. If you remove kaleidoscope and color spectrum you have 9 tracks (plus 1 hidden).

X marks the spot is horrific for me. Really doesn't do it. Neither does army of one but I will give it time. The rest of the tracks range from stellar to very good.

 

Ahfod - 9/10 - only complaint -wish this had a more prominent outro or solo guitar at some point. This track does so much good. It has such a unique start that really leaves you guessing as to what direction you are about to be taken to. Not long enough!

Birds - 9/10 - perfect except the vocal performance. Not bad but not on par with the superior display of music exhibited by all 4. This song is meant to be heard driving home on the highway after a long day of work . Makes me feel so alive.

Hftw - 7/10 thought I would hate it. I don't love it but I don't dislike it and I kinda like it.

Everglow - 8/10 - it is a Grower for me. Didn't like it at first but hearing it after hftw and before aoal it is so needed. The guitar by Johnny at the end should be lengthened. Also it sounds too clean. Would have liked to hear it totatlly stripped down like Amsterdam. Maybe slowed down a bit as well.

Aoal - 7.5/10 - this song has so much promise but it failed to hit on being absolutely beautifully epic. Lyrically shallow and too repetitive. I still love the song but it is missing just a little bit of mystery - it is too predictable and the sad thing is - this is the song that was teased first. Johnnys riff is so amazing and the way the bass drops at the beginning could have really transformed this into something greater than just a perpetual loop of his riff. Either way better than etdhaw. I definitely feel like dancing and having a party to this song as well.

Fun - 9/10 - besides the acoustic guitar with chris playing solo near the end and the ending itself - great song. The song takes you for a ride in stimulation and emotion.

Kaleidoscope - 6/10 - not a fan of putting Obama in there and don't like the narrator of the rumi poem. I really disapprove of Obama and it really bothers me he is on this album. I am unfairly punishing Coldplay for it. Concept and implementation great for what the track is but the narrator songs so cheesy. Would've rather had cm read it.

Aoo - 4/10 - not feeling this. Don't have a specific reason yet - just think it is pop noise I have heard too often

Xmts - 1/10 - crap!

Ad - 9/10 - this song is good. I with I never heard it from that concert back in September. This song makes me tear up. Anyone can personalize the feelings from this song. It is lacking in the production.

CS - 8/10 - mood setter. Does it's job.

Up&up- 10/10 - beautiful. Epic. One of the best Coldplay songs ever.

 

Total Average - 7.29/10

 

Now if you take out the mood setting tracks (which I will really skip over most of the time), that brings the average up to - 7.35/10

 

Now if you take out xmts It brings the average up to - 8.06/10

 

Now if you take deliberate attempts at pop out - 8.79/10

 

This is a damn good album with the boys adding some things that they are interested in that is driving a lot of their energy. I know we need to count all songs on the album equally to really judge it, but I am looking at this and realizing we just picked up 7 new tracks that are all better than almost all of mx except hlh and maybe paradise.. Additionally the quality of these 7 tracks have a timeless feel.

 

Coldplay could have released safe tracks to buffer their album this time but chose to take a chance to explore their passion. They are not done with learning and finding themselves in the music. If one or two tracks doesn't appease our view of what Coldplay should be then so be it.. But I respect the hell out of the guys for trying.

 

Album ranking

AROBTTH

Parachutes

VLV/AHFOD <- can't decide which one is better yet. Early leader is AHFOD.

GS

XY

MX

 

I am very proud to be a fan of Coldplay and am impressed greatly with this release.

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Nice to see so many people enjoying the new album! :D It's definetly one of my favourite albums by them so far.

After a few more listens, I changed my mind a bit. I'm beginning to like Fun and Army of One a bit more. So I'll raise both scores by 0.5 :)

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OK to begin with I'd like to say I'm a big fan of the evolving Coldplay and I think it helps them as friends and as a band stay healthy and happy with each other. Maybe this is because I became a big fan during the Mylo era or just cause I like fun music. Whatever the reason I love the changes.

 

I would then like to say I love this album

 

Listening to Ghost Stories for the first time left me unfulfilled and a little disappointed. I missed two or three tracks that just would have given the album more substance. I came to love Ghost Stories but I still feel this way about the album. However, this is not a Ghost Stories review.

 

A Head Full of Dreams

What an opener. Listening to this on the Tidal stream gave me instant excitement. It delivers a lot of energy, excitement and joy to the listener (or me at least) and it always makes me want to listen to the rest of the album. The Oooohs don't bother me, it's a popular technique and I think it's executed well. Johnny's guitar is not buried in my opinion and I love it, great to hear Guy slapping the bass and I think Will's drums are killer too (as always).

 

Birds

To be honest, it's my tied favourite with Army of One. It has a great funky beat to it, the chorus is what I wouldn't expect to hear from Coldplay as far as sound and lyrics and how those lyrics are delivered but it is real great to listen to and I was so pleasantly surprised. Johnny, mate you and your guitar are amazing. Again, Guy has a strong bass presence which I love as well. The lyrics are nice and pleasant too.

 

Hymn for the Weekend

A tiny bit shocked when I first heard the lyrics of this song to begin with. But in context they're absolutely fine. Beyonce has a good balance in there, it isn't a Duet and it sure as heck doesn't feel like it either which I like. Piano is great, Will's drums great and I absolutely love the brass instruments on this track. It's a great single, not my favourite Coldplay song by any means but it's very fun to listen too and I can't imagine how much fun it'll be live.

 

Everglow

This was the ballad Ghost Stories was looking for. It's got a great message to it and I love that I can hear everyone contributing to this song, something I struggled to hear in some Ghost Stories tracks. Great to listen to and the lyrics are really meaningful. It feels like a song of peaceful lament, something that is hard to describe and I think it's a unique human emotion that's hard to express but it's done perfectly here.

 

Adventure of a Lifetime

So much fun, me and my mate have had so much fun just listening to and attempting to dance to this one. Sure the lyrics might not be that strong but the music makes up for it and it's kinda the point of the song, it's to dance to and I actually think the lyrics are great to sing with as well. If you want deep lyrics read a poem. Lets have some fun with music.

 

Fun

A great duet. I can't really fault it. Again to me it's more musically and lyrically fulfilling than, what I feel are it's Ghost Stories counterparts, Ink and True Love combined. I really enjoy listening to it and the sense of hope that it gives with the final lyrics. Never heard Tove Lo before, I think she's bigger in the US than here in AUS, but she was perfect and well balanced great on this song.

 

Kaleidoscope & Colour Spectrum

Grouped both the interludes together cause there's only so much you can say.

I like Kaleidoscope a lot. As an interlude it's great, Poem is great, piano is sold, Barack Obama: 10/10

Colour Spectrum... eh

 

Army of One

Was greatly surprised by this. Did not expect such a solid song from it but it's great. The Chris backing thing doesn't bother me and it's got a great euphoric feel to it. I love how the organ/synth things kick in during the intro and I think the lyrics are quite good and I love listening to it. Again it just makes me feel happy. Kind of a trend on the album.

 

X Marks the Spot

Oh this song makes me giggle. It's a solid effort. I don't think it's awful, but then I don't love it either. It's kinda eh but it's funny to listen to haha

 

Amazing Day

Another happy song, got some real substance to it's lyrics I feel. I think the bridge is one of the best part of the song and it's gonna sound great with 50,000 people belting it out in a stadium.

 

Up&Up

Like it, don't love it. Still nothing has knocked Amsterdam from it's place as my favourite closer, DAAOHF came close but no. I do like the hat tip to Ghost Stories in the ending. It sounds kinda like the O reprise. I see what Chris means by saying it's the completion of something. It's a good song.

 

Conclusion

I love this album and I'm glad I bought it... twice. I think it's Coldplay at their best and I can't wait to see them live. And if you're reading this Coldplay, can you pls come to Adelaide, thanks.

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Ah yes, lemme just contribute to the ever growing list of reviews with my own, 'cause everyone wants to hear it, right? Well.

 

As many have said before me and will continue to say, we can say that Coldplay has thoroughly developed from their image of being a "rock band". And that's okay. Bands change, and they've stated that they just let loose on this album. So, we really do need to keep that in mind when reviewing this album. Coldplay will always be a shadow of their old selves. Of course, this might not matter, as they might earn themselves a hit on the radio, but for loyal Coldplay fans, might be a bit disappointing.

 

This being said, I must note how this album, as much as it digressed into "pop", actually has a lot of "Oldplay" elements imo. Maybe that was the point, maybe it was accidental, who knows. What I personally do know, is that in listening to AHFOD, my initial impression was a long heaved sigh, and telling myself that that's what happens to bands over time, and that I shouldn't get down over it. However, on a second/third/fourth listen, it seems to me that a lot of "rock" elements _have_ been included. Just comparing it to GS and MX, AHFOD seems like a love child between MX and VLV/X&Y; I find the sound was focused more on the band's instruments, rather than synths (synths getting pushed into the background), as GS or MX used.

 

I feel mixed about the album's overall sound. On one side, I feel like the band got more technically better, but the mastering does need improvement. One notable improvement is Guy's bass lines; Coldplay is notorious for boring bass lines, but in listening to AHFOD, it makes me actual _want_ to learn some cool bass lines. AHFOD, AOAL, anyone?

While it did sound nice for the most part, I found myself having to turn down my headphones because it was too loud at times, whereas other times would be too quiet (mind you, at full blast). I'm not sure if I was the only one who experienced this, but it did make me grimace.

 

Their choice of additional voices on the album was interesting. One thing I need to tip my hat for is the choice of making additional voices just that; an addition. Where they went wrong with Princess of China they certainly fixed this time round; Beyoncé's voice worked wonderfully in the background (which, I thought was impossible, as her voice is so wonderful you'd think is a crime to push back, but worked out better than expected). Tove Lo in fun is a highlight for me, personally. Their voices sounded nice together, and sort of reminded me of Mother Mother, even.

 

With the general nice sound of this album, comes the rotten apples. XMTS was really :s for me (shocking, I know). As an extension, I really didn't like Army of One, either; both had really odd sounding intros (which were _super synth-y_). Overall, it was different from the rest of the album, but the synths really ruined it. This further proves my point

 

One thing I loved about Coldplay were the lyrics. They were interesting, and weren't exclusively about ~~love~~. With AHFOD, (and GS, but that's for another day) the lyrics weren't interesting. Really straightforward, not really memorable ( "Got me feeling drunk and high"; like wow you couldn't get any more clear)

 

Overall, not my favourite album, but best out of the most recent albums. This album was closest to their older stuff out of the 3 most recent albums, but of course, their sound has permanently changed, and it's just something we need to accept! Bass lines were incredible, the integration of guests was amazing, but boring lyrics and synths in the foreground with this band is a nono.

 

Favourite albums, favourite to least!

 

VLV, X&Y, AROBTTH, Parachutes, AHFOD, GS, MX

 

Tell me what you think!

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I think people bash on Coldplay's lyrics unfairly. They have lots of great lyrics:

"I'm a dream, I die by light of day", "Leave your broken windows open and in the light just streams" these are all great lyrics but people only talk about the "Woo hoo"s and "I'm feeling so high" parts of the album.

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I think people bash on Coldplay's lyrics unfairly. They have lots of great lyrics:

"I'm a dream, I die by light of day", "Leave your broken windows open and in the light just streams" these are all great lyrics but people only talk about the "Woo hoo"s and "I'm feeling so high" parts of the album.

 

I agree wholeheartedly. Adventure has one of my favourite lyrics of all time "Under this pressure, under this weight, we are diamonds taking shape". Such a fantastic way to put the challenges in life in a positive context, and poetic too. You gave some great examples too and there are really a lot to choose from on AHFOD.

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I agree wholeheartedly. Adventure has one of my favourite lyrics of all time "Under this pressure, under this weight, we are diamonds taking shape". Such a fantastic way to put the challenges in life in a positive context, and poetic too. You gave some great examples too and there are really a lot to choose from on AHFOD.

 

Up&Up as a whole probably has the strongest lyrics of any Coldplay song. Birds has some great lyrics. I'd say that the only lyrical clunker on this one is XMTS -- there are a few meh (HFTW, AOO) but AHFOD, Everglow, Amazing Day, Up&Up, Fun are great.

 

Would love to see a night/day comparison of AHFOD v. GS - think the former comes out on pretty much every angle.

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I think people bash on Coldplay's lyrics unfairly. They have lots of great lyrics:

"I'm a dream, I die by light of day", "Leave your broken windows open and in the light just streams" these are all great lyrics but people only talk about the "Woo hoo"s and "I'm feeling so high" parts of the album.

 

There are some great lyrics in this album (such as the ones you mentioned), but I think the reason we all focus more on the lackluster ones is because, well, there are a lot more of them :P

 

Chris is on the right track though! There are several lines on AHFoD that are better than anything that was on MX or GS (in my opinion, of course). I'm partial to the "nothing's too broken to find a way back" line in Fun.

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but I think the reason we all focus more on the lackluster ones is because, well, there are a lot more of them :p

 

I like that the album has a good balance of cheeky fun moments (including lyric-wise) and profound poetic lyrics. Thats after all what life is like too, a mix of both and to have only one or the other I think would be boring imo.

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The lyrics have always been a mixed bag. A lot of personal taste and what one would consider "poetic" or "lyrical" probably comes in here, too. I also like the mix of simpler, maybe even cheeky lyrics as Jedi Leo put it, and the more profound moments. So far I like the whole album lyrics-wise very much and it gives me inspiration. Especially with the inclusion of 'The Guest House'.

 

It's not like "it was all yellow" was a deep meaningful masterpiece. Chris said that 'yellow' itself had no meaning, but it just fit. And yes, it does and that's completely okay. "You put me on a line and hung me out to dry." Yeah, well. It wasn't exactly a favourite of mine, either. :D

 

I love the diamonds line from AOAL as well! <3

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A Head Full of Dreams- I really do like this track. It's very MX-ish, but it also has hints of Life in Technicolor in it. No album opener will ever beat Politik for me, but this is possibly my second favourite. However, listening to U2's 'One Tree Hill', it's virtually identical for the most part. Similar repeating bassline and same chord sequence- not quite sure how they've got away with that. Absolutely love the chanting, and this is one of the tracks where the production is top-notch. Not too intrusive at all. 8/10

 

Birds- Of all the previews before the album release, this was the one that soundest the weakest to me, but when the chorus kicks in, the song just soars like, well, a bird. It has a Lovers in Japan feel to it, underpinned by the more techno-style drums. My favourite part, however, is the ending. I mentioned earlier how much I liked Politik, and the climax of Birds is extremely reminiscent of Politik's huge ending. The strings from Davide Rossi are just epic, and the abrupt ending is a stroke of genius. 8/10

 

Hymn for the Weekend- Everything about this song feels wrong on a Coldplay album, but I like it, and I'm not sure why. It's a lyrically dreadful song- possibly the worst Chris has ever written. But it has a lot of charm, and it's catchy. Beyonce is great on the track- not too intrusive, but still adds a lot. A lack of the other three guys though- this could easily be from a Chris Martin solo club album. 7/10

 

Everglow- I absolutely love this song. If I were to compare it to any previous Coldplay song it would be Up in Flames, one of the most underrated in my opinion. Again, there is some very dodgy songwriting, but to me, this is the only track on the album that could be described as 'Classic' Coldplay. The chorus radiates emotion, and I like how Chris' vocal hasn't been altered to sound studio perfect- it sounds like a live performance. This is also possibly the best bit of piano playing on a Coldplay album- musically, it's lovely. Not entirely sure about the Gwyneth vocal parts, though. 9/10

 

Adventure of a Lifetime- This is a fun song, that I didn't take to instantly on its release, but I'll now find myself humming around my flat. I don't want to keep picking up on the lyrics, but it is frustrating. To be fair, they aren't as bad on this as they are on other songs, but they still aren't strong. Jonny's guitar and Guy's bass are particularly impressive. 7/10

 

Fun- An absolutely gorgeous song. I hadn't heard of Tove Lo before this, but her voice matches Chris' perfectly, with some beautiful harmonies. The production on Fun is perfect- simple but effective. When the drums kick in just before the choruses, it's positively euphoric. Also, the lyrics for Fun are probably the best on the album. Love it. 9/10

 

Kaleidoscope- In theory, I like the idea of interludes in albums- it's a very creative idea. But I just find that Kaleidoscope adds nothing to the album. If anything, it breaks the other tracks up in an unwelcome way. The music behind the spoken word is fairly pleasant, I just wish it'd been behind singing or something of substance. 4/10

 

Army of One- The epic Organ sound behind most of the track is fantastic and full, and Guy's incredible bass line powers this track along. I'd question some of the mixing on this track, but all in all, I think it's a really great song. The concept of an 'army of one' is also a very clever one (If I criticise the bad lyrics, I'll praise the good ones!). 8/10

 

X Marks the Spot- I really can't think of anything good to say about this. It sounds like an awful attempt to recreate a song by The Weeknd or something like that. It's disjointed, the lyrics are abysmal and, put after the gorgeous Army of One, it's even more disappointing. Also, a 'secret' track that starts instantly after the end of the previous track seems fairly pointless. 4/10

 

Amazing Day- When I first heard Amazing Day (the live performance), I really wasn't convinced. It seemed weak and overly-soppy, and I wasn't too keen on it. To be fair, it's gorgeous on the album. The build up at the end is positively epic, and the production is beautifully carried out. A fairly laid-back reflective song on the album. 8/10

 

Colour Spectrum- Like Kaleidoscope, this just seems absolutely pointless. It's not like MX, where the linking tracks actually link into the following song- these tracks are supposed to stand up on their own, and quite simply, they don't. 4/10

 

Up&Up- I was so excited when I heard the live performance of this song. An epic piano-driven song with an uplifting choir-filled chorus. So why has the piano been taken out on the album version after the into?! The volume swells during the verses just disjoint the feel of the song, and the percussion feels intrusive and annoying. And why was the live ending not included? The "believe in love" ,as it was done live, would have been the perfect way to end the album, but sadly they chose a different direction. The track I was looking forward to most turned into the most disappointing. 5/10

 

73/110

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Guest kmm1482

This is a very polarizing album for me: I really really like A Head Full of Dreams, Birds, Adventure of a Lifetime and Up&up and honestly, I hate the rest. It's like two totally different albums to me

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So after a couple of times listening to it in its entirety, I'll give it a go. I listened to it for the first time on Friday shortly after midnight, with my headphones on, lying in bed. It was lovely and the feeling still remains. It really suits my current stage of life. I feel like they've always made the album that I needed at that exact moment in time. Well, they did it again. Almost spooky.

A Head Full Of Dreams

That beat and bass! I love the introduction with it gradually getting louder and reminiscing MX as well as Oceans. As a U2 fan I dig it. I strongly feel the message of dreams coming true through the music. Right on a par with others of their strong openers. 8/10

 

Birds

Needed a bit of time for me, so not an immediate favourite. But the guitar is absolutely lovely and the hypnotic nature together with the chorus makes it kind of bittersweet for me. I even like the anti-climatic ending after it builds up into something more and more and more - and then the end. 8/10

Hymn For The Weekend

Loving the experimentalism with another genre. As others have pointed out, they still manage to sound like Coldplay though, which really is pretty amazing. Beyoncé really brings across the angelic aspect for me and she's a great addition without being a front-and-center star of the song. Great to have something to shuffle your feet to. Probably a song with a wear-out effect for me, though. 7/10

 

Everglow

I want to find it really beautiful, but I somehow lack the emotional connection. The live version really got me though, maybe because the instruments sounded warmer than on the album. The concept of an everglow is very moving, and I like how it focuses on the positive things that remain when losing someone. 6/10

 

Adventure Of A Lifetime

I've listened to this so often by now, I feel like I can't even make a judgement anymore. Still loving it and I'm glad this was my introduction to this new era. Fresh and Coldplay with a little twist. Ever since hearing it for the first time, I can't wait to sing the woohoo's out loud. That's always a good sign. 9/10

 

Fun

Oh wow, Jonny's guitar here. Again not an immediate favourite, but the biggest grower. Sad and yet so hopeful in its best combination. Tove Lo's voice as a faint memory is a beautiful addition. "Nothing's too broken to find a way back." Aw. 9/10

 

Kaleidoscope

The central piece of this album for me, really. I find the poem very inspiring and to me it expresses that the theme of the album is not necessarily happiness, but acceptance of everything good and bad to eventually reach a kind of happiness. Ties in perfectly with Obama singing Amazing Grace at the end as well. And then this message embedded in so beautiful music. I cried when I heard it for the first time. 10/10

 

Army Of One

My immediate favourite. I love the silly looping sound that's been stuck in my head - there's something in it that pushes my happiness buttons. Even more so when the epic organ sets in. And I love the connection with Hurts Like Heaven (My heart is my gun / Use your heart as a weapon). 9/10

 

X Marks The Spot

Neither a masterpiece nor a total breakdown. I expected somthing truly horrid, but the hypnotic beat somehow gets me. For me it's well-placed after the joyous Army Of One, kind of levelling out the mood into something more sober again before leading up to Amazing Day. 5/10

Amazing Day

More beautiful than I thought it would be. Lyrics might be cheesy, but ever since I started imagining Chris with one of his kids sitting on the rooftop, they somehow improved, lol. Works beautifully as an ode to life. Davide's string arrangements are great and the guitar ties in so well. Still not 100% convinced emotionally, though. 7/10

Colour Spectrum

I love this interlude! It picks up some of the themes and sounds from the songs before and creates a kind of summary before the finale starts with Up&Up. Clever! The intro from AHFOD, then the birds and Beyoncé, the muffled woohoo's from AOAL, the spoken word part of Kaleidoscope... I would find it even stronger if it had something from all the songs before, but maybe I just haven't found it all. 9/10

 

Up&Up

Yeah, I was a bit underwhelmed. It's a good song with great live potential (and the first performances promise a lot), but something is still missing for me and I can't exactly put my finger on it. Maybe I'll find out or it will simply become one of the songs I prefer live (like Hurts Like Heaven). The guitar solos make me want to weep because of their perfection though and the message of never giving up is beautiful and such a strong ending to the album theme. 7/10

 

OVERALL: 94/120 = 78% = **** = yeah, I'm really happy with this album

 

I can't wait to experience it live. I'm sure it will make the album even better for me (as with MX).

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It really suits my current stage of life. I feel like they've always made the album that I needed at that exact moment in time. Well, they did it again. Almost spooky.

 

It is, almost spooky that is and I feel absolutely the same ! :)

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Simply, stop comparing. And just learn to grow up with them and to like it (or not), because a lot happens/changes in a year. Life is so full of unpredictable and strange surprises. I can feel and hear Coldplay shifting in this particular album and I believe AHFOD is interesting And YES it's a bit different.

 

That being said I STRONGLY DISLIKE FEATURING BEYONCÉ ON HFTW

She's overrated and got nothing in common to work with Coldplay. Very bad bad idea I just can't ..

 

Anyways l loved it (Everglow and Amazing day stood out for me)

I can't rated it now maybe later, or not idk.

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That being said I STRONGLY DISLIKE FEATURING BEYONCÉ ON HFTW

She's overrated and got nothing in common to work with Coldplay. Very bad bad idea I just can't ..

 

I must admit I only own two Beyonce songs LOL I am not a fan either, but even I cant really deny her voice is truly angelic on Hymn. I dont know many other female artists who could have done a better job singing those lines in that particular context of the "angel theme".

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I must admit I only own two Beyonce songs LOL I am not a fan either, but even I cant really deny her voice is truly angelic on Hymn. I dont know many other female artists who could have done a better job singing those lines in that particular context of the "angel theme".

 

Tbh I don't feel the same at all

I mean I would be a huge ignorant if I didn't admit that she has a strong voice but not every strong voice is beautiful and you can relate to it or collaborate with it, I mean individually Each one is good at what the do but not Coldplay *awfully* ft. Beyoncé.

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not every strong voice is beautiful

 

Yeah, I hear ya. But I really think she did a wonderful job on the track. She can pretty much use her voice however she pleases in light of her range and ability. Who else would you have seen on Hymn instead? :)

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I'd give it a 6/10 on first listen. Some decent songs in there but also some not so good ones.

 

I don't like the first half of the album. Think the album gets better in the second half. Also they completely ruined the army of one song by adding that two minutes of the worst music I've ever heard. I think someone was trolling when they added that on lol.

There's only really 9 tracks on the album.

 

Army of one (THE FIRST SONG), Amazing day, Up and up are the songs I'm instantly liking from the album. Might take a few more listens for the other songs.

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My Initial Thoughts

On first listen, I felt that this was the first time Coldplay had disappointed me, and proved that it is indeed possible for Coldplay to fall into the trap of many modern artists, and sell out their great sound in the name of producing something super upbeat that everyone can listen to - or, the dreadful word we seem to hate so much - "pop". For my expectations of Coldplay, I was prepared to give the album a 6.5/10. Now I'm not saying that I hated the album on the first listen, because in all honestly I love everything Coldplay produces, but I did feel like this may quickly become one of the weakest Coldplay albums, and scared me even more about their future direction. However, I did not complete this review based on my first listen or two. I have listened to the album countless times over the first weekend of release, and my review for the songs below is based on that.

 

A Head Full of Dream - 8/10

A great opening track. Sounds U2-esque, but provides us with a new original sounds that captures the essence of the album. Yet, the lyrics seem familiar, and Chris' singing in this songs reminds me of the X&Y era for some reason. The upbeat sound throughout the song will be great to dance to in concert, and the ending "ohhhhhhs" will be great to sing to in concert. Nothing bad to say about this song.

 

Birds - 9.0/10

Birds is easily my favourite full-length song on the album. Similarly to AHFOD, it is quite a new sound for Coldplay, yet it makes you want to hop on board with Chris' statement that Coldplay is "no longer a rock band". The sound in this song reminds me of the wonderful opening song of MX, Hurts Like Heaven. The song builds up to an absolutely brilliant and inspiring chorus, match by some guitar work by Jonny that is genuinely awing. Chris' passion towards the end of the song provides us with an overall superb and uplifting second song to the album.

 

A Hymn for the Weekend - 7.5/10

On first listen, this song worried me, as I expected the R&B sound song with Beyonce to end in nothing more than mediocrity (similar to Princess of China). However, Beyonce added the perfect touch to the song, and Chris simply nailed it at finally creating a decent "R&B sounding" sound. I truly enjoyed listening to this song, and respect the band for taking such a big step out of their usual style to make this song.

 

Everglow - 8.5/10

Everglow is exactly what you would expect from the title. A piano masterpiece, I can't seem to get tired of this song. The song feels so pure and open, and I felt like I could really relate to the emotion that Chris was trying to express with this song. There's really not much more I can say about this song - it's just really good.

 

Adventure of a Lifetime - 7.5/10

When Coldplay released this song before the rest of the album, I had a lot of things going through my head. It's sound was very, very different from the Coldplay we are used to. However, I had faith in the band - as when Midnight first came out, I had a lot of hesitation about Ghost Stories (yet Midnight has now become one of my favourite Coldplay songs). What stands out from this song is Moses' voice in the background throughout the song, provide a youthful uplift, and the stellar guitar riff from Johny. These two great sounds together made me not care as much that the song seemed very "disco-y" on first listen. With time, as expected, the song grew on me I can certainly say I enjoy the song now.

 

Fun - 7.5/10

This song was simply *fun* to listen to. I really couldn't find anything bad to say about this song. The feature of Tove Lo was an excellent addition to this song, and it will keep me listening for quite some time. As with most of the songs on this album, I am in love with Johnny's background guitar riffs, it adds a sublime layer to the song.

 

Kaleidoscope - 9.5/10

Now I know what you're thinking..."how could I possibly give this short transitional song a 9.5/10?!". But the truth is, the only thing keeping this from being a 10/10 in my books is that it ends (too early). While the transition reminds me a bit of the MX era, it is much more sophisticated, and reminds me a bit of Bon Iver meets M83. The poem in this song is simply beautiful. It is sublime, thought provoking, and I find that it makes this song the most purposeful on the album. Now I don't expect everyone to see the beauty in this song, but for me, this song is brilliant and makes me wish Coldplay would release a whole album of this sort of experimental stuff.

 

Army of One - 7.0/10

Army of One reminds me a bit Hedley's new music style (for those of you who don't know Hedley, they are a Canadian band that used to produce alternative punk rock and now produces more poppy sounding, very electronic music, while still blending in a bit of alternative rock). The song is warming, unique, and really don't have anything bad to say about it. It certainly isn't the 'Oldplay' some of us so desperately want to see back, but in my opinion, it's not bad and is representational of the new direction of the band.

 

X Marks the Spot - 5.0/10

I see a lot of people giving this a zero or 1/10, and while I certainly can't say I love this song, you have to appreciate it for what it is. It very much gives me a feeling that Chris is trying another new style to his singing and music, but I this X Marks the Spot very much misses the mark, and I can't seem to figure out why it was added as a 'hidden track'. If you take the song out of the context of the album (which certainly isn't hard is it sounds nothing like the rest of the album), you can start to appreciate it a bit more. But it's not my jam - I would have loved that the band took this space on the album to add a different kind of "out-there" song...maybe more experimental and electronic than R&B.

 

Amazing Day - 9/10

When I first heard this song, I fell in love. Amazing Day is exactly the unexpected Coldplay song that I expect to see on the new album. It's very different, yet authentically Coldplay. It reminds me of Ghost Stories meeting Mylo Xyloto, arguably my favourite Coldplay albums (as much as I do still absolutely love the 'Oldplay' albums like A Rush of Blood to the Head!). Amazing Day is a song that gently rocks me into a state of peacefulness and hope on each listen. It's kind of like the sequel to one of my favourite Coldplay songs, Always In My Head. Amazing Day makes the perfect song to wake up to both wake up to in the morning, and fall asleep to at night.

 

Colour Spectrum - 8/10

This song incorporates sounds from various other (if not all) songs from he rest of the album, which if you think about it, is kind of cool! It's another transitional song that can make you visualize looking into a Kaleidoscope. Again, I wish these transitional songs were a lot longer, and helped the rest of the songs on the album flow a bit more.

 

Up&Up - 7.0/10

I expect that some of you will be outraged that my 7/10 for this song is not a 9 or 10/10, but I have my reasons. I get why everyone lives this song, and I honestly really do like it, but it I felt like the song lacked some passion, deep musically layers, and missed the mark lyrically. The songs is still a nice addition to the album, and you can see why Chris and the band really enjoyed putting this song together, but all I'm saying is that I don't think this song was the absolute best song on the album. Will I still listen to it? - of course! It's a song that builds up and fills me with positivity on each listen. It's a solid finish to the album - and I must say, I did really enjoy the 30 second mini 'hidden track' at the end!

 

FINAL THOUGHTS - 8.5/10

After many listens through, as I expected may happen, this album really grew on me. Through music, Coldplay has convinced me to not only respect their choice to expand to new styles of music, but actually left me with another instant classic album that I will cherish in my collection for the rest of my life. There were moments of imperfect in this album, and serious lack of flow was definitely a major issue with this album, but that doesn't stop this album from standing along side every other album that Coldplay has release in my collect, especially matching the what I call the new Coldplay 'trilogy' (MX, GS, and AHFOD). Did this album completely meet my expectations? No - I think this album doesn't tell a complete sublime story like I expect from any great artist, but I still love the album with an incredible passion. I think that's what every true Coldplayer feels - we cling to the hopes that everything we hear moving forward will resemble the sound or even the album structure that we are so familiar with in Coldplay's past albums - but that's clearly not the way the band works, and I whole-heartedly respect that. Always a Coldplayer for life.

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Stuart Berman from Pitchfork described perfectly the lyrics from AHFOD:

 

But Martin has a tendency to sing of extraordinary, mind-expanding experiences in muddled metaphors ("My army of one is going to fight for you … my heart is my gun") and rote "high"/"sky" rhymes. And with his many wide-eyed ruminations on stars and moons and hearts and diamonds, it can sound like he gets his lyrical inspiration from a spoonful of Lucky Charms.

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Stuart Berman from Pitchfork described perfectly the lyrics from AHFOD:

 

Read that review too and I agree with this passage.

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Lucky charms are a work of art do not even go there I defend them before all else grrr

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