Released: Dec 4, 2015
Genre: Pop Rock, Pop
Label: Parlophone, Atlantic
Number Of Tracks: 11
Coldplay attempt to craft the album of upbeat, pop rock anthems that many longtime followers anticipated with their seventh studio album, "A Head Full of Dreams."
A Head Full Of DreamsFeatured review by: UG Team, on december 28, 2015 3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Sound: The members of Coldplay have achieved the most prompt turnaround between albums in the rock group's history with the release of their seventh studio album, "A Head Full of Dreams." The record arrives right on the trail of the haunted 2014 installment "Ghost Stories," which in itself was an unusually dark and gloaming effort from a band most readily recognized for developing lighthearted pop rock staples highlighted by synth arrangements and bright vocal harmonies. Within the year and a half that separates "A Head Full of Dreams" from Coldplay's preceding installment, Coldplay found themselves collaborating alongside such names as Noel Gallagher of Oasis, Beyoncé, hit indie pop songwriter Tove Lo, concert pianist Khatia Buniatishvili and celebrated gospel singer Merry Clayton, most readily recognized for her appearance on The Rolling Stones' "Gimme Shelter." Supported by the extensive cast of not-so-subtle guest appearances, Coldplay appear to have been deliberately aiming to unite such an all-star unification for a modern day pop masterpiece.
Regardless of the perhaps bewildering array of cameos, "A Head Full of Dreams" achieves varying levels of successful and less-than-memorable moments throughout, not unlike the Coldplay albums which went before it. There's no chance of deviating from the overtly energetic and optimistic attitude of Coldplay mainman Chris Martin with a simple press of the skip button, as the full duration of "A Head Full of Dreams" follows a similar suit. Whether it's the harmonies of "Fun" or the smooth grooves of "Amazing Day," even the casual listener would understand what they're getting into prior to starting each track. "Adventure of a Lifetime" shares a similar tale, with Martin expressing his carefree attitude towards reaching middle age. The band ventures into a rather unaccustomed terrain during the opening title track "A Head Full of Dreams," which is supported primarily by a borderline house music persona that will obviously attract mainstream pop listeners, while altogether abandoning the art rock character which Coldplay developed with strength on 2008's "Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends," and to a lesser yet still evident extent on 2011's "Mylo Xyloto."
Not such a completely disorganized listen, the new wave-esque themes of "Army of One" and the more reflective "Everglow" come to mind as momentary highlights. Overall, Coldplay appear to have taken the road often traveled when rock groups trade their original approach in exchange for a sound that can appeal to a broader audience with "A Head Full of Dreams"; it's a transition in the making for quite some time, however the members of Coldplay go the extra mile in that regard, resulting in an almost unrecognizable display of well crafted, yet unoriginal pop music. // 5
Lyrics: One of the few remaining elements of the distinctive Coldplay approach is the familiar appearance of Chris Martin at the forefront of the lineup. The co-founder and frontman has retained every bit of range and lyrical delivery as found on the band's 2000 debut "Parachutes," which plays heavily in the favor of Coldplay's recent ventures into more mainstream territory with "A Head Full of Dreams." Whether it's the reaching high notes of the aforementioned title track or the slightly melancholic midrange overtones of "Everglow," Martin remains in fine form throughout. // 6
Overall Impression: The potential for Coldplay to put together a frequently rewarding return-to-form was evident prior to the formation of their seventh studio album, "A Head Full of Dreams." The notion to bring in some of their similarly successful contemporaries would have gone either way, which perhaps explains the band's full-fledged departure into mainstream pop territory with their latest installment. While the album still contains a handful of notable listens, "A Head Full of Dreams" is likely an effort which many dedicated Coldplay fans will shelve after the first runthrough. // 5