By Sam Shaw
On Nov. 22, Coldplay released its eighth studio album, “Everyday Life,” the most expansive one since the 2008 hit, “Viva La Vida.”
With this new release, the British rock band kept some of the rawness from albums such as “Parachutes” (2000) and “Ghost Stories” (2014), while taking some risks and trying new sounds.
The album is split into two parts: “Sunrise” and “Sunset.” Part 1 begins softly with the track “Sunrise,” in which string instruments build the melody slowly, much like a sun slowly brightening the sky as dawn approaches.
The intro flows seamlessly into the next track, “Church,” where the female vocals soar and compliment the song and lead vocalist Chris Martin sounds like he’s performing in an empty room with good acoustics.
Some of the tracks are politically charged, such as “Trouble in Town,” which raises the issue, about senseless hate and police brutality in society. The reference is suggested by an inserted audio clip of a police officer behaving aggressively towards another person, as the victim says, “you’re not protecting me while I’m trying, while I’m trying to go to work” and the police officer coldly responding, “why don’t you shut up?”
The record also has some very tender moments. The track “Daddy” may spark some recognition for long-time Coldplay fans, as it echoes some of the sounds on the track “O” from “Ghost Stories.” The track is soft, yearning and beautifully captures how it feels to be physically or emotionally apart from a father figure, and the heartbeats near the song’s end add to its emotion.
One of the most powerful songs on this record sonically and lyrically is “Arabesque.” The song is bold, with an effervescent horn section that gives the track undeniable energy. The song has many layers, and just when you think it’s finished, there’s more. The track features Belgian musician Stromae, who mirrors Martin’s verse, but in French. Despite the difference in language, both are saying “We share the same blood.”
“Sunset” is a bit more muted, with the exception of the single “Orphans,” which is a fun listen and feels like a traditional Coldplay song, such as “Every Teardrop is a Waterfall.” There is a group of people singing in the background during the chorus of the song. Although the song is high-energy, Martin’s voice gets washed out among the crowd and it’s hard to hear him.
The final song is the title track, and it is perfectly placed, leaving the listener with a stripped piano and Martin’s vocals to process what they have just heard.
Coldplay has stated that they will not be going on tour to promote this album for environmental reasons, according to the BBC. Instead, they performed the album on a rooftop in Jordan on the day of the album’s release and live-streamed the performance on Youtube.
They streamed “Sunrise” as the sun rose over the city and then, eight hours later, put on the “Sunset” portion as the day ended. The Jordan performance felt like the most truehearted way the album could be performed live.
“Everyday Life” is one of those albums where it’s best experienced from listening to it as a whole. It’s incredibly cohesive, as each song flows into the next contains consistent sound effects that include beating hearts and street noises.
The album is a celebration of humanity and at its core, it conveys the message of recognizing that people are all different in beautiful ways, but we are all the same in that we are all human and everyone deserves the same fundamental rights.