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Coldplay Confronts the Challenges of ‘Everyday Life’ with Sprawling, Risk-Taking New Album (Listen)

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Coldplay albums are all about vibe — the vibe of the music, the vibe of the lyrical themes and the vibe of the message the band is trying to convey at that particular time.

Dynamic vocalist/pianist/focal point Chris Martin is the star of the show, of course, flanked by Will Champion, Jonny Buckland and Guy Berryman, and together the quartet has built a massive career on emotional music that usually lands somewhere between “pop” and “indie pop,” swelling and churning and bursting with the melancholy of everyday life.

That happens to be the title of the band’s eighth album — Everyday Lifewhich was released on Friday. It’s a grandiose, haunting and powerful record that hits all the notes you’d expect from a Coldplay record. The track “Daddy,” for example, is as touching a composition the band has ever released, and its music video will trigger some serious emotional reactions:

It’s also a concept album broken into two parts. The first segment, Sunrise, starts things with fancy instrumental flourishes and mostly uplifting arrangements. It’s on this half where pre-release songs “Daddy” and “Arabesque” show up, and one (as the Apple Music album biography cites) Martin explains as follows:

“It’s the challenges we see happening in our lives and lots of other people’s lives.”

That’s carried out to dramatic effect on “Trouble in Town,” which begins whimsically before an audio sample of a verbal altercation between a citizen and a police officer and the track suddenly turns darker. The effect is haunting and jarring.

The second half is “Sunset,” which Martin explains as being, “a bit more, ‘How might you meet those challenges? How can one go on?'”

“Guns” sheds any veneer of subtlety, with Martin and the band focusing specifically on, well, guns, and the problems they cause.

Here’s the song’s second verse, for example:

Meltdown all the trumpets, all the trombones and the drums
Who needs education or A Thousand Splendid Suns?
Poor is good for business, cut the forests, they’re so dumb
Only save your look-alikes and fuck the other ones
It’s the opinion of this board that we need more guns

It’s also jarring hearing Martin sing the word “fuck,” but that’s beside the point. It’s all about the message being conveyed, and it’s one delivered as strongly as Coldplay has ever delivered a message:

Coldplay has long sought to achieve something its peers didn’t. When “Yellow” came out nearly twenty years ago, it was easy to dismiss the band as another emotional pop/rock band, but they’ve always grasped for more — more drama, more meaning, more significance, more impact.

To that end, the band performed two special live concerts in Jordan on Friday carrying out the album’s two halves. First at sunrise:

And then a second performance at sunset.

While Coldplay’s endless yearning for “more” has band a derisive reputation to some audiences as “self-important,” that’s what art’s all about. One of the world’s biggest bands trying to make some powerful statements on the state of the world and our relationship to it takes some strength, as songs like “Guns” will obviously turn off many who listen to the album.

Those same folks will probably also roll their eyes at Martin’s promise that Coldplay will cease official touring until they’re able to offer fully “environmentally beneficial” ways to do so. 

But that’s probably entirely the point. Chris Martin and his band have their perspective and they’re not afraid to spread it far and wide.

Even beyond the socially conscious aims of Everyday Life, Coldplay have also released one of their strongest collections of songs to date. It’s a vastly different experience than 2015’s A Head Full of Dreams or 2011’s Mylo Xyloto (which was also a concept album, of sorts, with a futuristic bent), and one fans will likely want to come back to again and again.

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