In this column, I’ve made no secret of my love for weird and challenging music, now of my troubles with the modern pop landscape. Maybe it’s a misnomer to say “weird” though, or at least doesn’t do credit to the idea. I just love being surprised by what music still has yet to be. This week, over sharing tunes with friends, I was surprised by an act that I, in an act of critic’s cynicism, had written off: Coldplay. After years of poppish redundancy (and in fact, being one of the more regular perpetrators among pop acts of their clout) I was more or less convinced of their trade uselessness. This week the band released “Adventure Of A Lifetime,” the band’s 40th single over six albums. Running counter of what I’ve come to expect, the track is effervescent, and, dare I say, funky?
The track is joyful in a resurgent kind of way. Driving leads and a surprisingly groovy rhythm for a pop band (let alone a pop band of such drear and atmosphere) cloud your mind like the smoke from a caterpillar’s hookah. It’s relentless and irresistibly toe tapping. Jam packed into their wooing, if not predictable, brand of pop are notes of Earth Wind & Fire, Phoenix, and fretwork from U2’s The Edge as well as modern pop titans, like Pharell, Justin Timberlake, and Daft Punk, especially the latter, considering their recent poppy-funky love affair. I feel the song chip away at winter’s frost, and as frontman Chris Martin heralds chorus after chorus of “I feel alive again!” I can’t help but agree.
The single comes ahead of the release of their newest record on the 4th of next month. Titled A Head Full of Dreams, we can only hope the single paints a portrait of what’s to come. It would be nice to see a band that’s given so much to pop music (I don’t think there’s any denying that, even for cynics) to go out on a note of vitality and love of life and craft. According the Martin, this may actually be the case as he stated in a BBC interview last year “I have to think of it as the final thing we’re doing. Otherwise we wouldn’t put everything into it.” Everything indeed. The album sports an impressive list of features, including To Love, Noel Gallagher, soul titan Merry Clayton, and (at least in my opinion) the indisputable First Lady of modern pop, the incomparable Beyoncé Knowles. Producer Brian Eno has also returned, looking to recreate what many call a life saving addition to the team after the rousing success of Viva la Vida.
If Martin and co. ever had a chance of grabbing the attention of those hardened to the perpetual residents of the Top 40 charts, they have it in A Head Full of Dreams. It sounds as if the light at the end of the tunnel has had a refreshing effect on the group, and its exciting to hear. I admit, I was one of the nameless youth, belting (as much as the song allows) “Yellow” as loud as they could manage, who sat strumming out the chords to “Clocks” on their First Act six string. Before Coldplay was Coldplay, their music was exciting, surprising to me. Let’s see if I can feel that way once more. You can catch Coldplay on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, as well as all the major streaming services.