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Thursday, December 09, 2021
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Coldplay reach for the stars with 'Music of the Spheres'

Coldplay released Music of the Spheres, their ninth studio album and their second in about two years, on Friday, Oct. 15, 2021. As a massive Coldplay fan, I had been looking forward to the release of the album since it was first announced in the summer. I also hoped to give it the same treatment I gave Everyday Life last year, when I made an attempt to revisit the album one year on

Music of the Spheres is a space-themed album, with emoji-named tracks — like ‘🪐’, ‘✨’, ‘❤️’ and ‘🌎’ — seemingly dividing the album into fragments. Coldplay frontman Chris Martin has been an admirer of outer space, and this fascination for space forms the thematic bedrock of the album, as the songs are all set in a new galaxy called ‘The Spheres’. 

The first non-instrumental track — after ‘🪐’ — in the album is “Higher Power”. The first single to be released from the album, it was premiered in outer space by a French astronaut in the International Space Station. The song itself is radio-friendly, energetic and uplifting, with Chris Martin calling it a song about “trying to find the astronaut in all of us, the person that can do amazing things.”

“Higher Power” is followed by “Humankind”, one of the songs in the album that I liked more. The song sounded like it belonged in the Mylo Xyloto era, with lyrics representing an alien’s reaction to listening to music, which is originally banned in The Spheres.

The next song in the album is “Let Somebody Go”. As the name suggests, the heartfelt song — featuring vocals by Selena Gomez — is about letting go of someone you love. The song, with effective lyrics, gently tugs at heartstrings and definitely leaves the listener pondering and in their feelings. 

One of the emoji tracks follows next. Titled “Human Heart” and represented by the ‘❤️’emoji, the song features We Are KING and Jacob Collier. The gospel-like nature of the song is evocative of the style seen in “Everyday Life”. It appears to lay bare the fact that a human heart is bound to be weak and have vulnerabilities that we must embrace. Our heart is meant to break and there is no shame if it happens, a fact that can be hard to remember in our quest to protect ourselves. It also lines up well after the heartbreak-confronting lyrics of “Let Somebody Go”.

This track is followed by a switch up in energy, as “People of the Pride” follows next. The song appears to fill the role of stadium anthem, with strong guitar riffs forming a central part of its composition. The song should definitely energize live crowds, as the band goes on tour in 2022.

“People of the Pride” is followed by my least favorite track in the entire album, “Biutyful.” Despite the sweet lyrics, the extremely high-pitched chorus simply does not sit right with me. Perhaps it is a good thing that the song is hard to look up online, although I do not judge any fans of the song. 

The next song in the album is probably going to be one of Coldplay’s biggest ever chart hits — “My Universe”. The energetic pop-rock song features K-Pop superstars BTS, and has lyrics in English and Korean. With the support of the BTS Army — the fervent fans of the K-Pop group — it reached the top of the Billboard Global 200 and Global excluding USA charts in the first week of charting. 

The album finally comes to a close with one of my all-time Coldplay favorites, “Coloratura”. While the song may be about 10 minutes long and not necessarily the most radio-friendly or convenient, it is an auditory experience. It may not end up being one of Coldplay’s most popular songs, but it is a gift for every fan who admires early Coldplay and feels less connected to more recent projects — or even the rest of this album. A progressive rock song in a similar vein to the music of Pink Floyd, it features many layers and could be looked at as the crowning jewel of the album and a journey back in time to a place of comfort.

All in all, as an admirer of the first four Coldplay albums, Music of the Spheres is a decent but not mind-blowing release. As a fan, I can never pass up on new Coldplay music. Many of the tracks are in the decent to good range, which is fine, but the album remains some way away from iconic releases like Parachutes or A Rush Of Blood To The Head (the latter is my personal favorite of all). Perhaps the Coldplay of old will never return in its truest form but we can love “Coloratura”. For new age fans, the entire album is likely amazing.

No matter where a fan stands, fans must stop bickering about what’s better or worse and just take it in. In three albums time, all we will have is hindsight.

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