The new Coldplay album came out on Friday, and I’m digging it. Alex Haitz put it best in his review when he called it “so refreshing” and “back to form, but new stuff.” It’s definitely highly conceptual and with the exception of a few songs, it doesn’t have much of a pop feel to it. To me that’s ok and even exciting.
I like to be taken on a journey when I listen to an album, and that’s exactly what Coldplay does here. The tracks are deeply emotional, and while some would say the shift from one song to the next feels jarring, I don’t agree. It’s one of those albums that you have to just sit back and let happen to you.
Some have said that Everyday Life will end up looking a lot like the more experimental Ghost Stories that was followed up the next year by the pop-heavy, A Head Full of Dreams. And if that’s the case, I’m fine with it.
To me, the beauty of Coldplay is that they’re able to do that—get experimental, dabble in a multitude of different genres, and then come back with some pop hits that appeal to a much broader audience. It’s like they’ve got a little something for everyone. Want a melancholic acoustic piece? They’ve got it. A stadium-rocking pop smash hit? They can deliver that also. Or if you want a mixture of the two, they’re also capable of that, all in one song.
With that introduction, here are my thoughts on each track in the new album, Everyday Life.
This piece starts off with what sounds like cello or base, and then you have a fuller string orchestra come in over the top. Yet, it all sounds a bit muffled. It’s got a melancholic feel, but with about a minute left in the song you get this beautiful weeping (that’s the best way I can describe it) violin solo. It’s a very emotional instrumental intro to the album and it sets the stage for the rest of the journey they’ll take us on.
The first track almost melts right into this one, but it sounds like we’re getting some acoustic guitar now, and the pace gradually picks up as a heartbeat-sounding beat comes in. More drums and layers are added.
The more I listen to this one, the more it reminds me of the opening track on their Parachutes album. I think it’s the drum line that does it.
Chris comes in with the vocals. Eventually, it builds to a smooth, groovy little guitar section. This song has me feeling like Aladdin taking a nice cruise on his magic carpet at a relaxing, yet swift 60 miles per hour. We pass a camel, salute the dude riding it, and keep skimming along the sand.
Piano, bass, a western, sheriff ridin’ on a horse kind of feel. It’s like I’m riding through a dark old town, shining a flashlight into old trading posts and taverns. Everything’s empty, seems like a ghost town.
This song has a really cool feel to it. Smooth, mysterious, a bit brooding. After a recording of a heated police exchange, we get some heavier, yet still smooth rockish sounding stuff. More turbulent. After that, it’s back to me riding my horse. From there, it’s smooth to the end and I hear children’s voices and then a heartbeat.
In stark contrast to the previous tracks, this is a gospel song. Piano, background singers, simple. The message is “Lord, Shine Your Light on Me.” It’s joyful with plenty of feeling, yet very simple and undoctored.
We go back to the heartbeat. For a good 10-plus seconds. It continues as a soft nocturne-ish sounding piano comes in. Melancholic, nostalgic, sad. Chris sings a lullaby that’s both sad and sweet. Just so raw and emotional.
It’s a kid crying out for their daddy, saying they need them. Expressing deep longing, yet acceptance and forgiveness. Man, this song is deeply moving, and it’ll hit some people right in the feels, particularly if they’ve lost their father or he’s hurt them deeply or run away. This one’s enough to almost bring tears to your eyes.
Near the end of the song, it swells for just a minute with some Christmas Lights-esque bells. It softens back down and ends with the heartbeat again.
I think this stands for “Wonder of the World/ Power of the People.”
This one is very organic. Just sounds like Chris playing around on his guitar and figuring stuff out as he goes. Almost has a Jack Johnson feel or maybe more like a Brett Dennon vibe. It’s like if you smashed the two together.
This definitely has a Viva La Vida album vibe at the beginning. Almost some Violet-Hillish sounds, that is…until the brass comes in. Really cool riff with the brass added in makes this sound a bit different than anything they’ve ever done.
The sax solo starts at 2:25ish and then the majority of the rest of the 5 and a half minute song is just instrumental new jazz jamming. Pretty cool. Sounds like Sesame Street, but if Big Bird were getting just a bit tipsy. The “We Share the Same Blood” chorus doesn’t come back in until a minute and a half left in the song.
From here, you really start getting heavier on the Violet Hill vibes. With the beating of the drum and the bass. Then it’s the buildup where you get the brass mixed with the bass. Chris adamantly cries out “Same f—–g blood.”
This one sounds a lot like the Christmas song called Still, Still, Still (listen here). There’s a choir in the background. Beautiful, soothing harmonies. This seems to be the last song on the “Sunrise” side.
The last 38 seconds have what sounds like an older hispanic man essentially saying in spanish that everything is rough and people don’t realize it.
Feels like I’m back on my horse in the wild wild west again. The horse is going fast though. I’m zippin’ across the dust. I’m not entirely sure what the message is here, but it kinda just seems like they’re talking about how crazy the gun violence situation has gotten.
This is the first one that seems really poppy. Definitely seems like it could fit well on the Head Full of Dreams album. Almost sounds like if the song Sky Full of Stars met a Head Full of Dreams. I don’t love it, but I don’t hate it. Seems fairly generic and sounds a lot like their other songs. It’ll satisfy the casual listener, but there’s nothing too experimental or unique about it.
Now I feel like I’m sitting in a coffee shop. Then, it seems like I’m driving through some wheat fields. Next, it says “In Africa, the rivers are perfectly deep and beautifully wide. This song feels like it would go well around dusk on the beautiful African savanna.
This sounds like a Randy Newman song. A lot like Short People Got No Reason to Live. Made me think of this scene from Little Rascals. I don’t have much more to say about that one. Just makes me want to go watch Toy Story or Little Rascals.
Starts off with a folky smooth acoustic guitar. Very simple. Not a lot to it beyond just the guitar and Chris singing. Seems a little more organic and raw.
The title of this song is a Farsi word that translates to “Children of Adam.” It’s also the name of a famous poem by the Iranian poet, Saadi Shirazi entitled Bani Adam. The track starts as a beautiful piano interlude. You could maybe call it a little bit Yann Tiersen-ish. Next, it switches to guitar and high-hat. Then you hear a lady speaking something in a different language, probably Arabic. Then you hear… “Let there be peace and love and perfection in all creation.” Must be a meditation or a prayer.
Starts off with some chanting likely in Arabic. Aside from that, this sounds a little bit more like a traditional Coldplay song, though I think they pulled it from someone. It’s kind of giving me some slight Speed of Sound vibes at parts. It’s kind of like that mixed with Miracles, the single they did for the movie, Unbroken.
Starting at around the three minute mark, it kinda sounds like Brett Dennen again. I can’t quite put my finger on which song, but maybe it’s the :38 mark of Wild Child. That might not quite be it. I think it’s the voice that isn’t Chris’s that I’m hearing. And at 3:52, it sounds a little bit like John Mayer’s new Carry Me Away.
The beginning sounds like another song of theirs that I’ve heard… Just the empty interlude part. Then the song itself sounds like an acoustic version of A Sky Full of Stars mixed with Atlas.
The subtle strings in this one make it really nice. It also has just a little bit of an Up&Up vibe to it. There’s not a lot to this song, but maybe that’s what makes it good. Simple, sweet, and not a bad ending to the album. At times though, it does seem like the album just ends.
Not bad. Slightly different from their other stuff, but still distinctly Coldplay. Simple, but some cool stuff going on. This one’s hard to describe, but it’s definitely worth a listen.
I really like this album. There’s a lot of experimentation, emotion, and depth. It might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but as an avid Coldplay fan, it was well worth the wait. I think I would put it in my top 3 Coldplay albums without much hesitation. And when it comes down to it, for me it’s really tough to even rank albums, because a different one will be my favorite at any given time depending on my mood.
Anyway, hope you liked some of my first song-by-song thoughts of the new album. It’s a great one, so definitely give it a listen. You should also check out the following two videos shot live in Jordan. They’re beautifully done: