Coldplay is the greatest cure for any kind of heartbreak. From the tear-jerking bridge in “Fix You” to the vanilla, earnest metaphors in “The Scientist,” Coldplay has won the hearts of many listeners with their vague yet relatable messages. While their exaggerated pop brand has worked well for the band, they’ve always seemed antsy to transition into a different realm of music, one that’s a little less hopeful and more honest in its vision of the world. In fact, Coldplay’s ability to seamlessly hop between genres is underappreciated — the band’s 2005 album X&Y served as a gateway from the sleepiness of Parachutes into theatrical territory with more atmospherics and ramped up energy. From there, the band continued to experiment with different sounds, including the heavy electronics of Mylo Xyloto and the exotic blend of pop, folk and electronic in Head Full of Dreams. Their newest album, Everyday Life, is a continuation of the band’s experimental saga, showcasing their ability to work with very different genres of music.
The album is broken down into two halves, “Sunrise” and “Sunset,” and features a collection of tunes ranging from their traditional pop sound to bluesy gospel ballads. “Sunrise,” an instrumental opener to the album, features a mournful violin that eventually reaches a more hopeful tone, introducing the album’s overarching motif of the duality of good and bad. The following track, “Church,” captures Coldplay’s classic mellowness with its easy beats and soothing guitar riffs. The tune grapples with the difference between romantic and religious love, and the song’s mixture of both Eastern and Western musical motifs suggests a kind of global religious unity. The song makes references to the biblical story of creation where God creates the world in seven days and also features a bridge in Arabic that pleads to “Allah,” creating fluidity between these two figures.
“BrokEn” stands in sharp contrast both musically and lyrically to “Church” with a stripped-back Chris Martin and gospel choir backing his vocals. The tune closely resembles a church hymn with Martin praying “Oh Lord, come shine your light on me,” and is heavy with Christian references, a quick turnaround from the religious fluidity preached just one song earlier.
“Arabesque” is also a bold departure from the Coldplay tradition with its bluesy-funk aesthetic featuring a saxophone solo and trumpet pulses. The pre-released single, along with the album’s other pre-released song “Orphans,” is a highlight on the album and displays the band’s craft in modern jazz. “Cry Cry Cry” also dabbles in the jazz aesthetic with a swinging rhythm and smooth, bluesy piano riffs.
“Èkó,” an acoustic tune celebrating the beauty of the Nigerian city Lagos, showcases the folk side of the band through Martin’s soft vocals and delicate guitar riffs. “Old Friends” is also a softer tune, featuring hushed vocals that create the sensation of a lullaby as Martin tenderly sings about the timelessness of deep friendship: “Time just deepens / sweetens and mends / old friends.”
Ultimately, Everyday Life is a complex experiment that masterfully highlights the band’s many areas of talent. After witnessing Coldplay transition from genre to genre, Everyday Life does what the band has been trying to do for the past ten years, affirming that they’re capable of more than just the pop hits that got them started. While the album is political in nature, the band does a good job of weaving their message into the details rather than hitting us over the head with their beliefs, reminding us that there’s power in subtlety. Overall, the album is a promising comeback for the band, and its emphasis on experimentation holds hope for more authentic material in the future.