Review: A Head Full of Dreams by Coldplay

A Head Full of Dreams by ColdplayColdplay supposedly designed A Head Full of Dreams, their seventh album, as a continuation of their last effort, Ghost Stories. It makes sense if you think about how that record peaked, after taking way too long, with a song called “A Sky Full of Stars”, a typical Coldplay anthem with a completely different behavior, thanks to Avicii’s production. He’s not involved in this record, but Norwegian production duo Stargate – who had a hand in recent smashes for Rihanna and Fifth Harmony, and also, uhh, this song – are, which gives A Head Full of Dreams a particularly pop flavor. That’s not the problem, though; it’s that the record just sounds very middle of the road. Yes, everybody else has been saying this, the folk automatically dismissing Coldplay the superstar as a boring band, but even in their more recent albums they have managed to sound refreshing, or at least maintain some semblance of edge, on their songs. (See “Princess of China”, their collaboration with Rihanna on Mylo Xyloto.) And sure, Ghost Stories may be very tedious, but the decision to go very subdued suggests they’re still willing to take risks. (It’s like U2, really – another band that’s gotten the exact same criticism.) And some of the songs – for instance, the two singles so far, “Adventure of a Lifetime” and “Everglow” – work. But A Head Full of Dreams, with its Obama-sampling gimmicks and its oddly tropical beginnings and its dance-party-for-Miami-retirees vibe, sees the band stoop down the level of the acts that they inspired – think the Script or Kodaline or the Feeling. Now, I like some of those bands’ songs (and I have a fondness for the Feeling, especially) but Coldplay? Doing that? Now? [NB] | 3/5

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