Coldplay album review: they took a step back towards classic rock

Cold game Music of the spheres Outside now

Evaluation:

Adele Easy on me Outside now

Evaluation:

When you think about it, Coldplay is a pretty weird band. They started out looking like Travis, then they wanted to be Pink Floyd, and these days they’re halfway from Supertramp to Take That.

Their lead singer, Chris Martin, has grown into an older statesman, bouncing around in Day-Glo sneakers. His public appearances really should come with a Tigger warning.

Lately, his energy has been invested in strategic alliances. In London the other night, he brought Ed Sheeran on stage to play two of his own hits.

Coldplay lead singer Chris Martin (above) has grown into an older statesman, bouncing around in Day-Glo sneakers.  His public appearances really should come with a Tigger warning

Coldplay lead singer Chris Martin (above) has grown into an older statesman, bouncing around in Day-Glo sneakers. His public appearances really should come with a Tigger warning

Three of Coldplay’s last five singles have been collaborations, compared to just two of the first 31. Their latest hit, My Universe, stars boy band BTS: Not content with going pop, Coldplay went K-pop.

These joint ventures are depressing but effective. My Universe gave Coldplay their first top-three single since 2017. Now they’ve taken a step back from classic rock and released a concept album about an imaginary galaxy.

In space, no one can hear you turn around.

Every Coldplay album tops the UK charts, but the latest, Everyday Life, was the worst-selling ever. With 270,000 copies, it sold a million less than its predecessor, A Head Full Of Dreams. He deserved better: carefree and daring, it was their White Album.

Perhaps shaken by this relative flop, they roped up a new producer, the unstoppable hit machine Max Martin (unrelated to Chris). Brian Eno, he’s not. Most songwriters aim for the universal, but the trick isn’t to make it too obvious.

My universe is joined here by songs titled Higher Power, Humankind and Human Heart.

Four of the 12 tracks are featureless instrumentals. Deprived of Chris Martin’s nervous voice, they’re just space fillers. Another is their first stab at glam rock. Tonight Matthew they want to be Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds.

The rest of the album is at least recognizable, with an anthem, two slices of pop charter and three ballads, including an elegant a cappella number. So far everything has been fast – 11 tracks going by in half an hour.

But then comes the finale, Coloratura, which lasts ten minutes, like the kid in love with Hey Jude and Comfortably Numb, and only sparkles in spurts. It’s a strange group, and they created a spatial weirdness.

Back on planet Earth, there's a new single from Adele (above), pop's most entrenched superstar.  This is the first taste of his fourth album, titled 30, due on November 19

Back on planet Earth, there’s a new single from Adele (above), pop’s most entrenched superstar. This is the first taste of his fourth album, titled 30, due on November 19

Back on planet Earth, there’s a new single from Adele, pop’s most entrenched superstar. This is the first taste of his fourth album, titled 30, due on November 19.

Since the last time we heard from her, six long years ago, she has gone through a divorce and a drastic makeover, but her sound remains the same. Easy on me is very Adele: just voice and piano, heart and soul.


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