COldplay: A head full of dreams review
In their 15+ years as a band, Will Champion, Guy Berryman, Johnny Buckland and Chris Martin have managed to achieve monumental success throughout the world. Their band? Coldplay. You either love them or despise them but you have to give credit where credit's due in regards to their ever evolving sound. This is evident in their new album "A Head Full of Dreams".
Following 2014's deeply introspective "Ghost Stories", Coldplay went from night to day with AHFOD. Recorded over the period of late 2014 leading up to fall of this year, the band emerged with a collective of songs that ebb and flow effortlessly. From start to finish, AHFOD is a radiant, feel good record that captures the beauty of life even in the midst of the dark times we live in. "A Head Full of Dreams" is a ray of light that refuses to dim.
The band as a whole constructed a tight knit sound for AHFOD to match the vivid artistic and emotional imagery of the songs. The album's title track and "Birds" are prime examples of this. It's always great to hear the individual band members ideas brought to the table and have them fit together without sounding like a battle of musical egos. The guitar, bass, drums, piano, vocals and additional instruments really make this record flourish.
"A Head Full of Dreams" also includes many notable guest musicians and singers. This isn't new for Coldplay given Rihanna provided guest vocals for the song "Princess of China" on their 2011 album "Mylo Xyloto". As a music fan I'm always weary of guest spots like this but Coldplay manages to incorporate their guests as if they were the missing pieces to make the songs truly whole. Case in point: "Hymn for the Weekend". Beyonce is featured as a guest vocalist and it works! Singers like Beyonce are known for being front and center but her contribution to "Hymn for the Weekend" couldn't be more perfect and respectful to the song.
In addition to Beyonce, the plethora of guest contributors is staggering are neither overwhelming nor over the top. Other guest musicians include Gwyneth Paltrow on "Everglow", Merry Clayton (most notable for her duet with Mick Jagger for the Rolling Stones song "Gimme Shelter") on "Adventure of a Lifetime" and "Up&Up", Swedish singer Tove Lo on "Fun" and lead guitarist of Oasis Noel Gallagher providing guitars for the song "Up&Up" to name a few. One of the surprising contributors comes in the form of an audio sample from President Barack Obama. President Obama's voice is heard on the short, but thought provoking song "Kaleidoscope". "This being human is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival. A joy, a depression, a meanness. Some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor. Welcome and entertain them all! Be grateful for whoever comes because each has been sent as a guide." The man has always had a way with words.
"A Head Full of Dreams" in it's 11-track state is hard to pin down a favorite song, but I'll try. "Adventure of a Lifetime" instantly hooked me when the single premiered on November 6th. The rhythm and groove of Buckland, Martin, Berryman and Champion really make this song an insanely catchy song. It inspired me to learn the notable guitar riff and dance around while doing so. I'm just glad no one was around to see that. It's also worth noting the music video for "Adventure of a Lifetime" is just as lively as the song. Done entirely with motion capture technology, the concept was born by singer Chris Martin and Andy Serkis (mo-cap genius behind Gollum for "Lord of the Rings") and directed by Mat Whitecross. You're taken on a visual journey that complements the song so beautifully. Also, you can't beat dancing apes who are also playing instruments!
Coldplay's latest release has something for everybody. It's one worth listening to from start to finish. "A Head Full of Dreams" feels like a journey into a living daydream and I believe that's what the band was aiming for. There have been rumors this might be the band's "final album". While I hope this isn't true, I can rest easy knowing if this ends up being their final bow that they went out on the highest of notes.