Love or hate them, Coldplay have been ubiquitous in the UK charts since Yellow showed up in 2000 and for better or worse have stubbornly refused to leave. However with album sales dropping steadily since the excellent X&Y, and reviewers for the most part remaining indifferent – or amicable at best, will Music Of The Spheres put them back on top?
If you take a brief look at some interviews with Chris Martin about this new release, you’ll find some interesting thoughts. Curious about ‘what musicians across the universe might sound like’, Music Of The Spheres is Coldplay’s imagining of their own solar system (The Spheres) and a different track for each planet.
It’s certainly adventurous. From beginnings singing about intimacy and relationships, this is a literal cosmic leap from their origins, so will it be accomplished at all?
Oh it’s positive and poppy. Still departing from their original melancholy tones found in the likes of Yellow and The Scientist, Higher Power opens the album with deep sci-fi tones and synths over Chris Martin’s unmistakable vocals.
He doesn’t seem to push his range like he used to, opting for a rhythmic but almost spoken word range – letting the more ambitious soundtrack do the lion’s share of the work for him. There’s the odd token falsetto thrown in towards the end showing he’s still got it, but just not as willing to flaunt it as much.
The track was already released as the lead single, so the chances are you’ve heard this belted out across one airwave or another if you listen to any radio station playing some form of top track listing. Perhaps it’s my cynicism burning it’s way out here. But I personally can’t hack songs that are titled with emojis. It makes it nearly impossible to title them for one – making this much harder, but also there’s some jaded millennial in me feeling annoyed that I don’t understand…
Thankfully, Love Heart and Infinity Symbol (as I shall be naming them) are equally pointless additions to the album. Both seem as needlessly experimental as their titles, the latter even having a ‘ole, ole, ole’ chant layered under it. Both feel like someone got hold of some laptop mixing software and threw a YouTube mix of ‘lo-fi beats to chill and study to’ at it.
I don’t mind the lo-fi beats – but I’m not about to put them in a genuine album and market them, let alone potentially take them on a world tour…
Unfortunately, the rest of the album lurches around, grabbing at poppy tones to stay in recent safe territory but also leaping out into uncharted waters that they fail to navigate. Trying and failing to use Muse-like tones in People of The Pride does nothing but show that Chris Martin, although distinctive, is no Matt Bellamy. He lacks the range and the chops to sing about impassioned social change.
Colotura and Biutyful (don’t ask about the spelling…) both feel wildly over-engineered. The former is a full 10 minutes, but manages to get lost within the opening verse, whereas the latter…it’s just messy.
There is one other pop anthem on the album sure to chart. It’s the BTS collaboration, My Universe. However, what makes the track successful is the relative absence of Coldplay’s influence on the track.
Even Selena Gomez can’t rescue her collaborative track ‘Let Somebody Go’. It’s the usual break-up track, Selena’s heartfelt tones roped in as per usual to play the part of the sad partner and wrest a reaction from the listener. However, as she’s not given enough time to shine, we’re left with Chris Martin howling amidst a confused guitar synth track and overpowering her genuinely decent contribution to the track, and album at large.
Author: Steve, Cardiff store