Coldplay has earned a certain reputation over the years. People have long associated them with sappy ballads and easy-to-digest pop hits as they have dominated the charts for the past decade. However, Coldplay released their new album “Everyday Life” on Nov. 22, and while their chart-topping style isn’t going away any-time soon, the band has certainly changed the game a bit with these new songs.
The album is technically a double album, with the first half titled “Sunrise” and the second half titled “Sunset.” This was at first exciting to hear, but both of these halves are only about 25 minutes long each, meaning that “Everyday Life” still only has the length of a normal album.
The lead single from the album, titled “Orphans,” has the distinctive Coldplay sound that listeners have come to expect from the band over the past few years. The hook is huge, with singer Chris Martin singing, “I want to know / When I can go / Back and get drunk with my friends” accompanied by a choir of schoolchildren and an outstanding bassline from Guy Berryman. The interesting part though is that the song is actually about children in Syria who have been left orphaned by bombings there. For how happy and cheerful the song sounds, the fact that it is about such a serious topic is an interesting and unusual move for the band. One could argue that it cheapens these children’s plight, but it also broadens their specific situation to a wider human feeling: The desire to forget our worries and enjoy ourselves with loved ones.
Similarly to “Orphans,” many of the other songs on the album revolve around emotions people all across the world experience and the importance of caring about each other. These other songs though have a much different, less commercial sound than “Orphans” and consist of differing styles and sounds. A great example is “Arabesque,” which has an extended saxophone solo and even a verse sung in French by Belgian artist Stromae.
“We share the same blood,” Martin repeatedly yells in the climax of the track.
Another song, “Cry Cry Cry,” sounds like a slow blues song that should be sung by Etta James and features Martin singing “When you cry cry cry baby I’ll be by your side / Don’t want us to hurt each other or cause each other pain.”
Much of the album also has religious themes, and some of the songs sound like they come from a church mass. “BrokEn” has obvious gospel influences and features numerous backing singers accompanying Martin in a call and response. “When I Need a Friend” sounds like it was recorded inside a church and features a male choir singing along with Martin.
“Love reign o’er me / When I need a friend,” sings Martin in this vulnerable, emotionally loaded hymn.
Surprisingly for Coldplay, “Everyday Life” even has political themes, which is one of the most exciting parts of the album. Coldplay usually shies away from overt political themes in favor of singing about love and life, but this album is much different.
The most obvious political commentary is in the song “Guns.” The song sounds like an early Bob Dylan protest song and has Chris Martin cursing, a rarity for a band such as Coldplay.
“Everything’s gone so crazy / Everything tangled in blue / Everyone’s going f***ing crazy / Maybe I’m crazy too” declares Martin in “Guns.”
Another political song is “Trouble in Town,” which has themes of police brutality. During the climax of the song, a recording plays of a police officer yelling at someone to tell him their name while distorted guitar from Jonny Buckland comes roaring in, hitting the listener with the adrenaline and dread that someone being pulled over might feel.
“Everyday Life” is an important step for Coldplay as they finally advance from an overly commercial sound on their last album “A Head Full of Dreams.” The songs are still plagued with cliché lyrics at some points though, especially the title track and “Daddy.” Still, the melodies and instrumentals mostly make up for this weakness, and Coldplay has a knack for impacting the listener’s emotions even if the lyrics are a bit weak and the songs are less popular styles. It takes a good band to do this, and with this album, Coldplay further cements their status as a band who can truly appeal to anyone.
Thumbnail photo courtesy of @coldplay Instagram.
Ben Crnic is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org