I just started subscribing to NME, and as much as I love it for the unabated music-centered zeal and the relative lowness of advertising, sometimes I just get this feeling of being surrounded by things overwhelmingly BRITISH. A Head Full of Dreams is just that — like Colorado’s high and dry Big Head Todd and the Monsters’ “daydreams,” and is an album that couldn’t have come from America, in this current time. In this way, it’s incredibly refreshing.
At the time I’m writing this, Scott Weiland has just passed away, amidst a regular smorgasbord of substances, having been an ex-junkie now apparently dabbling in coke. Feeling “regular” seems to be a problem in America, it’s something no one wants to do. Well, maybe it’s a problem in Britain too — Chris Martin announces to a love interest on “Birds” that “We’ll be birds.” Now, what does that make you think of, as an American? Ah, lame! Damn hippies! Weakness! Yes, we’re all a bunch of regular old man Castanzas (George’s dad on Seinfeld), on this side of the pond, you might say.
To be honest, I haven’t really kept up on Coldplay in the last 11 years. At some point after like my hundredth listen to A Rush of Blood to the Head, I decided beyond a shadow of a doubt that I hated it (I wasn’t lonely anymore, to be specific). And damn, “The Scientist,” was that ever some lonely sh**.
Well, guess what folks (and self), Coldplay makes really good music, there’s no doubting it. The songs are crisp but plangent, the lyrics intimate yet somehow always apart, somehow always specifically Chris Martin’s, and no one else’s, in a “professional” sort of way, making the listener deem him the most “professional” band frontman.
But is this even still a “band”? Their beats are largely electronic now, a trend, as my research has unearthed, that didn’t actually begin until their very last album, an album which to top it off just came out in 2014, Ghost Stories. Even up through 2011’s puzzlingly titled Mylo Xyloto, they were furnishing beautiful arrangements like the radio hit “Paradise” with their good old full-band rock setup. Sure, the music isn’t “dark.” It might not scratch every cultural itch you have, it doesn’t pay much homage to the element of insanity many of us deal with on an everyday basis, but it is more than passable music for pleasant social settings, if such a thing should ever come your way.