Coldplay "A Headful of Dreams"

At the advent of their career, Coldplay was heralded as an earnest alternative rock band, thanks to the merits of Parachutes in 2000. Fifteen years later the band has released its seventh and possibly final album. Through the course of those year’s Coldplay’s trajectory has taken it away from the rock arena, and with A Head Full of Dreams they have rocked into the pop stratosphere. This isn’t a bad thing for fans of the genre. The album bursts with high energy songs with huge hooks, lush production, and big dance beats. A Head Full of Dreams also features a roster of some of popular music’s biggest stars.

The album opens with the title track, a danceable anthem to maintaining a sunny disposition in the face of adversity. Jingling guitars glide over thumping bass; Chris Martins’ vocals play counterbalance to the melody of the rhythm section. “Birds” keeps up the pace and positive vibes and features the kind of ringing guitar lines that put you in mind of Edge’s work on The Joshua Tree. “Hymn To the Weekend” begins with chirping birds and rising vocals from Beyonce. Martin takes over the lead with the diva taking on supporting vocals. She pops up again on “Up&Up.”

“Everglow” is a piano-based ballad about the end of a relationship, but lest you worry that Mr. Martin is mourning his divorce from Gwenyth Paltrow, fear not, she sings backing vocals on the track. The effervescent single, “Adventure of a Lifetime” is rumored to be about Martin’s short lived affair with one of Hollywood’s brightest young stars, and by the sounds of it, she put the zip back in his step. It also features the vocals of Merry Clayton, best known for her backing vocals on the Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter.” That track is followed by “Fun” a wistful goodbye ballad to an ending. It could be about the end of his marriage, or the finally of his brief affair, or it could be a salute to a band that has produced some of the most popular music of the past decade and a half.

Rosemary Welsch (Afternoon Mix Host)