here are my thoughts about two listens in:
it's pretty fantastic. 8/10
sunrise: stunning, perhaps it's a tad long but the strings sound so gorgeous i couldn't really care less
church: maybe a touch too repetitive but i dig the production on this one, and the tune is nice enough
trouble in town: banger, in contrast from a lot you here, i think the police sample is f***ing fantastic and pushes the song to a visceral sort of space. only complaint is that i wish the distorted guitar in the bridge was louder...why is the guitar getting hidden in the mix all the time???
brokEn: also in contrast to a lot here, i love this song. it's feel good gospel, i don't feel like chris sounds out of place with the choir. feels really classic singalong to me, honestly in the best way.
daddy: just heartbreakingly beautiful. it resonated with me in a very personal way.
WOTW/POTP: demo-- yes, but it adds to the weird nature of the record. the fact that it's like a soundbite/voice memos sort of thing isn't really a turn off, and though it could've probably been fleshed out into something decent, i don't think i needs to be.
arabesque: best song on the record, probably. so much so i kind of wish i had waited to hear it with the rest of the record; i would've loved to be blown away again.
when i needed a friend: don't get how jo while cried over this, but it's dope. jacob collier does his thing on this one. wish chris's vocals were a little louder though.
guns: nice short cut, i personally i haven't heard music like this so it's uniqueness is what makes it above average. nothing to write home about though...it's over too quickly to make any other sort of lasting impression.
orphans: pop banger. enough said.
éko: the composition (chords, melody, structure) is up there with the most beautiful coldplay songs, such as prospekt's march/poppyfields and a rush a blood to the head. the modulations are wonderful; so much color packed in such a short track.
cry cry cry: a throwback vibe. i don't know if i'm completely sold yet on coldplay's performance on this track., though it is a nice enough tune itself.
old friends: charming. basically éko, but not as striking in my opinion.
bani adam: best instrumental they've ever done. this is what a quality interlude sounds like, coldplay.
champion of the world: absolutely do NOT get the hype when it comes to this track. i understand the comparisons to AROBTTH but it's sounds like a cheap derivative of the sound they crafted on that record and even on X&Y. the melody isn't particularly interesting, and the progression feels soooo repetitive. that's the thing with pop: you want to have repetition so that it's catchy but the progression and melody themselves have to be interesting enough to prevent becoming stale after each cycle. i don't think coldplay succeeded in making this one. i'd use this song as evidence to back up claims by critics who say coldplay sounds like white bread and wallpaper, to be honest.
everyday life: makes way more sense in the context of the record. more bombast after the (somewhat bland) bombast of COTW wasn't the best choice. it's a hopeful way to end the record. beautiful work lads.