Thursday, 24 March 2016

Spotlight On: A Head Full Of Dreams - Coldplay

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This month's Spotlight On is an album I've spent all month listening to on Spotify. In fact, I've spent so much time listening to it that I used up 80% of my mobile data for the month two weeks before it was supposed to run out and now I'm trying to savour what little 4G I have left until April. It's Coldplay's latest release A Head Full Of Dreams. I've mentioned before that Coldplay are the first anything I've ever seen live. First out of any artist, band or musician. And so I guess that, as a result, I'm always going to love their music. Especially this album.



The album has a lot of longer songs, some that sound like two songs put under one title, which is a slightly unusual choice but I find that it works. The album starts with the title track, A Head Full Of Dreams, and it's a lovely way to start off the album. It captures the different sounds of every single other song on the album into one, making it the perfect opening track. It's a proper Coldplay song too - this album is noticeably different from their previous releases but this song is still their style. It sounds anthemic and this is the one that I'm hoping will be the next single (though I've heard that it's actually Up & Up). 

There are two noticeable collaborations on the album, with Beyoncé on Hymn For The Weekend and Tove Lo on Fun, although Beyoncé also appears on the closing track Up & Up and there are other subtle features throughout the album.. Both collaborations are done with true Coldplay class - no random artist jumping in for the hook or the middle eight without having any relevance to the song but both female vocalists assisting Chris and acting almost like a fifth band member on their feature tracks respectively, working with the song and the band as a whole. 

There are two short songs that act like transitions in the album, Kaleidoscope and Colour Spectrum. Kaleidoscope is one that I don't totally get, if I'm honest, and it has a lot going on. Colour Spectrum has a bit of a random placement, it's something I'd expect to be used at the start of an album as an intro (similar to Ellie Goulding's Delirium or the intro Charli XCX added onto the start of Nuclear Seasons on her True Romance album) but it's made up of different parts from different songs on the album, a main part being the intro of A Head Full Of Dreams which is the first song anyway. 

While this album was known as being the different one for Coldplay, there are a few true Coldplay songs aside from A Head Full Of Dreams. Everglow is one of them, a beautiful song which is probably the most stripped back song on the album. Amazing Day and Up & Up are also true Coldplay songs. The former starts with the bird sounds you hear many times over the course of the album, and the music as well as Chris' vocals are so beautiful on this song, it's one of my favourites. Up & Up is the closing track and it's one of those songs that has a catchy chorus and is so easy to listen to, and has an uplifting mood to it. It's the perfect end to the album too, I think they really thought out the tracklisting of this album and their opening and closing tracks because they nailed it. There's a slight little outro on the end of the album studio version of the song, which I dislike as an outro for the song but I love as an outro for the album as a whole. Although there is a breakdown at the end which you'd think was the outro until you hear the real outro afterward, and it's one of my favourite things about the whole song.

Army Of One is like a 2-for-1 special, it sounds like two totally different songs put together but they strangely work together. I really like this one as an entirety, it's one of my favourites on the album. The mix of the 'produced' kind of sound with the real instruments playing is really clever, and it's what makes me like the song so much. I'd say it's one of the songs that is different and slightly out-there for Coldplay, as well as Birds. It's a fast-paced, upbeat song which makes me love it. The name of the song fits in with the whole bird theme that is consistent throughout the album, and the song has a really abrupt ending which sounds surprisingly amazing and gives a little bit of contrast to the more drawn out outros of the other songs.

Their choices for the first two singles have been the best choices too. Both Adventure Of A Lifetime and Hymn For The Weekend are catchy, upbeat songs that are chart-topping single material, and have both done impressively well. 

Overall, the album is in a bit of a different direction than the direction Coldplay usually go in, but that's why I love it. There's something for everyone, a mix of Coldplay's classic sound with a new, slightly more 'produced' sound. It's also a great era for Coldplay - they played the Superbowl, have multiple Summer dates in Wembley Stadium and are headlining Glastonbury with this album.

Have you heard Coldplay's latest album? Do you love it as much as I do or is it too different for your music taste?

Yasmin

Check out my previous Spotlight On and music blog posts!

Photography by Amy Beer
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