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Most of you know that the video for Coldplay’s Hymn For A Weekend was shot in India, featuring a guest appearance by Beyoncé and our very own Sonam Kapoor in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo. The video earned a lot of cultural appreciation for India, as well as criticism for showing India in a bad light. We must give credit to Coldplay who wrote their name in Hindi on the album’s cover and inner inlay, probably the only foreign band to do so. The cover box of the CD depicts a geometric ‘Flower of Life’.
On their seventh album, Coldplay features artistes like Beyoncé, Noel Gallagher, Martin’s ex-wife Gwenyth Paltrow, and even U.S. President Obama himself via a recurring sample of Amazing Grace on Kaleidoscope.
Title track A Head Full Of Dreams has a heady bass riff to it with a memorable chorus. Birds is pure pop that grooves easily with Martin’s strong vocals. Get into the dancehall beat of Hymn For The Weekend with Beyoncé in a short come-and-go moment. With a great piano opening, good vocals by Martin and back-up by ex-wife Gwyneth, Everglow is a pledge to enduring friendship and a love lost, a not-to-be-missed track.
When Martin sings, “I feel my heart beating” on Adventure Of A Lifetime, you know it’s time to hit the dance floor. The guitar riffs that switch from pop rock and 80’s electronica are infectious even at the first listen, a replayable track for Coldplay fans. Singer Tove Lo is up next on Fun, that speaks about the end of a relationship… “I know it’s over, parting our ways / And it’s done / But didn’t we have fun?”
Kaleidoscope comprises a spoken extract from a poem by Persian poet Rumi, over a lofty piano instrumental: “This being human is a guest house / Every morning a new arrival / A joy, a depression, a meanness…” Colour Spectrum, described on the inlay as a colour code, is an extract from Rumi’s poem The Guest House.
The final track, Up & Up, opens with a short beat, but moves on to a stadium rock sound, upbeat with good guitar work and a great refrain, “We’re gonna get it, get it together somehow” to “How can people suffer? How can people part? How can people struggle? How can people break your heart? Break your heart?” If what Martin says about this being their final album is true, this track is the right one to end the career of one of Brit rock’s best bands ever.
Coldplay has given us great music down the years from their debut effort Parachutes (2000) to Ghost Stories (2014). There’s no complaining about this album, too, it’s for keeps.