Published Nov 21, 2019No matter how blatant Coldplay get with their pop pandering, their sense of self-importance remains undiminished. Their most recent single was a corny EDM crossover with the Chainsmokers — but now they've done a hard pivot and released their mostly wildly pretentious album yet.
Everyday Life features Arabic script on its front cover, plus a song called "بنی آدم" that translates as "Human Being." If that's your idea of deep, you're going to love the rest of this 16-song opus, which is divided into two halves, dubbed Sunrise and Sunset.
The Sunrise half is essentially one long exercise in musical tourism: "Trouble in Town" features a snippet of a violent arrest by a racist cop; "BrokEn" is a faux Southern spiritual with a gospel choir; and "Arabesque" is an Eastern electro-acoustic jam sung in French.
The experiments keep on coming: "When I Need a Friend" is a classical choral piece that sounds like it should be a Christmas hymn, while Sunset opener "Guns" is a clumsy Bob Dylan knockoff that nebulously addresses gun control, but stops short of actually saying much beyond "we live a society." It's like "Masters of War," except bad.
Many of the songs are just a couple minutes long, featuring field recordings and a messy patchwork of genre exercises, each of them delivered with a naïve sense of solemn-faced earnestness. Coldplay make one thing very clear: this is meant to be A Very Important Album.
Coldplay's self-seriousness has its charms, however, particularly in the Sunset half. They British lads pick up the beat on the U2-gone-electro anthem "Orphans," and take a successful stab at retro soul balladry on "Cry Cry Cry." Acoustic ditties "Èkó" and "Old Friends" are a very pretty, even though the former's Africa-themed lyrics sound like they were inspired by a Paul Simon album rather than the actual continent. The aforementioned "بنی آدم" is an understated post-rock instrumental.
Everyday Life has more blunders than hits, but let's give Coldplay some credit — they've got a "go big or go home" attitude that's entertaining, even when it misses the mark. (Parlophone)