‘A solid and intrepid effort, but lacking in places’
After the bleak and bare emotional blueprint of Ghost Stories, Coldplay return with a more optimistic and euphoric album in A Head Full Of Dreams. The band enlisting Norwegian R&B-pop outfit Stargate for production duties may seem like the equivalent of watching your Dad throwing cringe shapes on the dancefloor, but there are some brilliant tracks where the rock band are at total ease with this new formula.
The title track starts deceptively as a rock anthem, then weaves into a disco groove so intoxicating you can already picture yourself with a flower painted on your cheek roaring along in a stadium. Adventure of a Lifetime sounds like a sequel to George Michael’s Fast Love and surefire pop stomper Hymn For The Weekend has added celestial class and shimmy from Beyoncé.
Army Of One sounds a lot like Rhianna’s Umbrella, although does not pack the same punch due to some cliché-ridden lyrical couplets; it’s almost saved by the dark licks in “hidden track” X Marks The Spot, although listening to Chris Martin almost rap is all kinds of American Life awful. The bittersweet nostalgia of Fun is instantly forgettable, even with Swedish pop doyen Tove Lo on vocals.
Conversely, Kaleidoscope is a beautiful sanguine moment with extracts from poet Rumi’s The Guest House and this is revisited later in another interlude Colour Spectrum. The album closes with the slow-burning, gospel track Up & Up and if Chris Martin can recruit Noel Gallagher to add a guitar solo to this song, then there is a knowing truth to the lyric “Don’t ever give up” which closes the album. A solid and intrepid effort, but lacking in places.