Coldplay's Head Full of Dreams Would Have Been Great...in 2005

Last week, indie rock band Coldplay released its latest and apparently final album, A Head Full of Dreams. After weeks of anticipation for the LP’s release, set off by the early release of the album's fifth track “Adventure of a Lifetime”, long-term Coldplay fans and critics, like myself, bow our heads in sorrow at the feature-length album that was expected to end 2015 with a bang, but fell short of expectations.

As loyal fans, we clearly don’t hate the band, and most definitely still plan on secretly headbanging to older collections like Parachutes and Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends. Yet, with A Head Full of Dreams, it’s more like we watched a young love child of U2 and every 2000s indie pop band ever develop over the past decade, only for it to do something irresponsible on impulse and leave us saying, “Look, it’s not that we’re angry — we’re just disappointed."

Now in all honesty, with remnants of Ghost Stories still floating about in the realm of "modern" Coldplay, the band's newest release should've been expected to fall right through the cracks. Our misplaced anticipation for something engaging, though, was set off by the rather cleverly timed release of the single "Adventure Of A Lifetime".

The perfect mix of melodic notes that could only be delivered by the likes of Chris Martin, Justin Beiber and 14-year-old choir girls combined with the incorporation of funky, upbeat electronics to reflect the growing trend of modernizing the 70s aesthetics we've seen this year in music, film, and fashion (see Tom Ford's Spring 2016 disco video), the single arguably served as the face of 2015 Indie Pop. Unfortunately, this face was nothing but a hollow mask, and Coldplay was really creating nothing but a duplicate of Ghost Stories.

Image courtesy of tumblr

Image courtesy of tumblr

So, if "Adventure of a Lifetime" even remotely reflects the sound we find throughout the rest of the album, what went wrong? The problem is that while one single may be remotely similar, every other song is too similar, as in basically the same thing happening over and over again (seriously, listen to "Fun", "Everglow", and "Army of One" and I dare you to attempt to remember any differences that separate them). Each one starts off with a 4/4 beat emptily layered with a quick piano riff or some unidentifiable electronic modulation, subsequently followed by the drop of whichever set of four beginners chords Mr. Martin chooses to deliver on electric keyboard in order to give the song some depth.

At this point, it's actually not so bad. In fact, it brings back memories of Generation Y classics like "Fix You" and “Clocks.” And while the LP may succeed at reproducing this sound while adding a few "modern twists”, its modernity is only relative to 2005, leaving Coldplay only slightly ahead of Snow Patrol and The Fray in terms of bringing anything new to the table.  Keep listening, and once you get past that first minute of Martin’s melancholic plea for understanding and rather stagnant chord progression, you’ll most likely find yourself scrolling mindlessly through three-day old Instagram posts, nodding off, and tearing up (from yawning, that is).

In closing, I’d like to reiterate that Coldplay is a classic band of our generation that unquestionably set a standard for an entire decade of music; it’s not like any band can just pull up names like Beyoncé and Tove Lo and just add them to a few tracks for kicks and giggles. These guys are legit.  But at the end of the day, the only modern twist we hear in a legendary band’s supposed final album is a sarcastic “Plot twist! — Coldplay still just sounds like Coldplay”.

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