In Coldplay’s latest album “Everyday Life,” lead singer Chris Martin and company single-handedly produced a body of work that marks a new, experimental era for the band.
For the last 20 years Coldplay’s work has been either heartfelt and sentimental, with albums in the early 2000s like “Parachutes” and “A Rush of Blood to the Head,” or a tad mainstream and borderline cheesy with their most recent albums “Ghost Stories” and “A Head Full of Dreams.”
“Everyday Life,” utilizes cultural elements from the Middle East and Africa, according to the LA Times. The album, released on Nov. 22, creates a narrative in which soft piano ballads and acoustic guitar melodies melt together to reinforce the message that we are connected by the same human experience that exalts love, inequality, hope and pain as part of daily life.
The project’s first song, “Sunrise,” sets the stage with a simple instrumental composition completely devoid of lyrics.
Transitioning into the following track, “Church,” Martin draws on Christian imagery to compare time spent with his lover to a religious experience. The use of such imagery is interesting considering the contrast between the traditional religious symbolism throughout the album and much of Coldplay’s previous work.
Nevertheless, the layering of upbeat mellow beats, Christian church choirs and the use of Arabic make “Church” a current, thought-provoking and uplifting song, among others like it on the album such as “BrokEn,” “Eko” and “When I Need A Friend.”
In songs like “Trouble in Town,” “Arabesque,” “Guns” and “Orphans,” Coldplay seems to be taking a political stance — speaking out against issues like racism towards people of color in urban areas, gun control and conflict in the Middle East.
The band made news recently by announcing that the premiere of “Everyday Life” would take place during their performance in Jordan, whose cultural influences are reflected in the “Everyday Life.” Martin also stated that they would stop touring until they could come up with a more environmentally-conscious way to tour.
Despite these daring, political moves, Coldplay’s latest project also includes songs that sound like they could have been part of their earlier albums — the very ones that initially catapulted them into stardom.
“Daddy,” for example, is a slow piano ballad about an absentee father that pulls at your heartstrings the same way Coldplay classic “The Scientist” does.
“Cry, Cry, Cry” and “Old Friend” exude a blues vibe with guitar riffs that further reinforce the themes of friendship and solidarity in the face of hardship. Each song essentially describes the more intimate and vulnerable parts of human relationships.
The second half of “Everyday Life,” mimics the first half with its eight-track length. It begins with the string-based interlude “Guns” and culminates in the heartwrenching “Champion of the World,” which includes a co-writing credit from the late Scott Hutchinson, lead singer of Frightened Rabbit.
The last song of the album, the eponymous “Everyday Life,” reinforces the theme of vulnerability in a delicate and succinct way. The track highlights the idea that no matter where we come from, or what we are going through, we are all connected as part of a large, diverse human family.
“Everyday Life” is a successful album for Coldplay. It skillfully reminds fans of the band that Coldplay will always be around while also grounding their tracks in the diversity, adversity and uncertainty of our current times.