A heart full of storytelling

Coldplay’s “A Head Full of Dreams” distills previously murky narratives and mingles new sounds with old.



Grace Gibney, Writer

Coldplay and I have history, and it goes all the way back to the fourth grade.

When I was a 10-year-old, I played “Speed of Sound” on repeat in my bedroom. Even at such a young age, their music mesmerized me. Since then, the band has become a staple in my life. Through thick and thin, good times and bad, Coldplay has remained a friend to reside in. For me, their new release “A Head Full Of Dreams” is a continuation of this relationship and a refreshing reinvention of the foursome’s subtle narrative.


Coldplay is seven for seven with new album “A Head Full Of Dreams” released on Dec. 4. Although the group’s performance at the American Music Awards on Nov. 22 was notably one for the books, the album’s release is not solely here to monkey around.

“A Head Full Of Dreams” is a refreshing, initial breath of air after the deep plunge of their album, “Ghost Stories.” As a whole, the new album is a reawakening of the band’s narrative that connects the group’s old style with fresh tones.


The album kicks off in a good fashion similar to previous albums “A Rush of Blood to the Head,” “Viva La Vida,” and “Mylo Xyloto” in beginning with a sweeping instrumental on the opening track, “A Head Full Of Dreams.” Following this, “Everglow,” a track pairing Martin’s recognizable piano melody that also drew fame on those same earlier albums, meshes penetrable beats with reverberating bass. Together, the three instruments create a warmth that can be discovered within every album Coldplay has produced. Such warmth can also be found on “Amazing Day,” a track that similarly mirrors the resonating thrum of “ Ghost Stories” track, “Always In My Head.”

Yet, while pairing old styles with new, the band continues to reinvent their sound on “A Head Full of Dreams” and does so with flair. This much is evident with Guy Berryman’s upbeat bass line and Johnny Buckland’s flurrying electric guitar melody on “Adventure of a Lifetime.” The group executes the track with an excitement vaguely reminiscent of “Mylo Xyloto.”

However, the fun does not stop there — “Hymn For The Weekend” features Beyoncé and “Fun” features Tove Lo. Teaming up with featured artists is nothing new for Coldplay, as headman Chris Martin and Rihanna previously collaborated together on “Princess Of China.” It is safe to say the role Beyoncé and Tove Lo contribute to these tracks is in similar fashion to Rihanna. Their vocals are minimalist and compliment Coldplay’s musicality well enough.


There is another surprise artist on the album: President Barack Obama.

After seeking a presidential cosign, the group obtained permission to use an audio recording of President Obama singing “Amazing Grace” during the funeral of state senator Clementa C. Pinckney, one of the nine victims shot during a prayer service in Charleston, SC on June 17, 2015. Obama’s debut comes in “Kaleidoscope,” a middle track whose lyrics resound a mending narrative: “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.”

Out of their seven albums, the band’s narrative has never shown as much transparency as it does on “A Head Full Of Dreams.” I am satisfied the murkiness of the group’s narrative has grown with clarity since the release of “Ghost Stories”.

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