Almost 20 years after the release of their debut album, Coldplay’s signature brand of generic Britpop still maintains an almost implausible popularity. Now, with Everyday Life, the band have not only reached their most experimental, but their most political as well.
A double album centred around the themes of Sunrise and Sunset, Everyday Life is remarkably lacking in the kind of tightly produced pop fodder that Coldplay fans have grown to love, instead seeking solace in an ever so slightly sporadic mix of genres. Apart from the heady anthem of ‘Orphans’, Coldplay’s eighth studio album delves further along the conceptual lines of 2014’s Ghost Stories rather than the single-heavy sounds of Mylo Xyloto (2011) or A Head Full of Dreams (2016).
The result? A deeply intimate and reactive album that feels like it was written on the tour bus rather than in the studio.
Addressing issues like police brutality and the Syrian refugee crisis, Everyday Life is explicitly interested in mainstream socio-political affairs, to a perhaps gratingly vague degree at times. There’s only so many times you can hear Christ Martin rhyme ‘cries’, ‘lies’ and ‘dies’ before you start to think: “Is this soft boi from Devon really the best person to talk about American gun control?”
” A deeply intimate and reactive album that feels like it was written on the tour bus rather than in the studio “
But perhaps that’s the point. Calling back to the album’s title, these are everyday thoughts, everyday expressions “of how we feel about things.” Unpolished, emotional and spontaneous, it cuts to the core in a way that only Coldplay can. Sure, it’s not exactly a pseudo-Marxist critique of how a growing global right-wing rhetoric is reinforcing inherent capitalist systems of intolerance and oppression, but more of a generalised “everyone’s gone fucking crazy, maybe I’m crazy too” – making the exact same point in fewer words.
The predominantly sombre vocal lines mean that this is the first time that Martin’s voice has felt genuinely stretched on a Coldplay album, which can make for difficult listening at times. Yet while these vocals and the lyrics are generally limited, the music which accompanies them is anything but. With gospel choirs, doo wops and saxophone solos, there are surprises around every corner. Granted, these surprises don’t always work, but it’s a breath of fresh air from the immaculate pop laden sounds we’ve come to expect from the four-piece over the years.
More than the environmental reasons, it’s because of the emotional interjections of ‘Daddy’, ‘When I Need A Friend’ and ‘بنی آدم’ that Coldplay’s much publicised decision to not take Everyday Life on tour makes perfect sense. Because this doesn’t feel like an album that was ever meant for sold-out stadiums or half-time shows, but for lonely walks home, for lazy mornings, for late night bedroom listening with the doors locked and the curtains closed.
Header image: Rock cellar Magazine