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I listened to Coldplay's new album so you don't have to

One of the biggest bands in the world is playing the Super Bowl 50 halftime show. How digestible is Coldplay's latest record, though?


Contrary to what your cool coworkers say, Coldplay is fine! Sometimes you just want vanilla ice cream for dessert. And that's okay. Plenty of people swear by water. While the jury's still out, its blandness is equal parts satisfying and life essential at times. Sometimes you just need to listen to Coldplay.

A fan/media member at Coldplay's Super Bowl press conference told the band, "This is the best day of my life. You guys, you got me through a real bad breakup in 2004." Maybe that's you. Or maybe you just played the Fmaj7 riff from "Don't Panic" religiously as part of your warmup routine in jazz band your sophomore year in high school. Regardless of why you cling to some portion of Coldplay's discography out of equal parts nostalgia and safety blanket, there's nothing wrong with that.

Coldplay's released seven proper LPs with its latest, A Head Full of Dreams, having just been released this past December. Most pop-inclined music critical music minds draw a clear line in the sand between the band's pre- and post-Mylo Xyloto work with Ghost Stories being the most divisive. So is A Head Full of Dreams a return to form, or more of a blatant cash grab?

Each February, music writers on Twitter engage in what's called "#MWE." The premise surrounding "Music Writers' Exercise" is simple enough: Music scribes (and aspiring ones) listen to an album they've never heard from beginning to end and then write their thoughts on it in 140 characters or less.

Despite being two months old, A Head Full Of Dreams is still a venerable unknown. Though not for lacking of trying -- and familiarity with the album's first two singles, "Adventure of a Lifetime" and "Hymn for the Weekend" -- the album's proven a difficult bridge to cross.

Accordingly, in the spirit of #MWE (admittedly from, a, well, not actually dedicated music writer), here's 140 (or less) characters on each of the record's 11 tracks, in real time, as they're listened to for the first time.

If you're of the right body and mind, you're welcome to listen along, if you're into that kind of thing:

1. "A Head Full of Dreams"

What if U2 still tried to make music like U2, but it wasn't good enough for an actual album and released in some kind of B-sides collection?

2. "Birds"

Sort of like Coldplay chugging a protein shake composed of Bruce Springsteen, Dire Straits and Tears for Fears. I'm here for this.

3. "Hymn For The Weekend"

Queen Bey! I wanted to hate this, but every listen somehow makes it better. If you can ignore the lyrical shortcomings, it's fun and a jam.

4. "Everglow"

Why is Gwyneth Paltrow on this song?

5. "Adventure of a Lifetime"

The main guitar run is cocaine addictive, and yet the lyrics are cheap grocery store brand dog food. Sounds like a Coldplay single to me.

6. "Fun"

Cheesy, even for Coldplay, is probably not the most ringing endorsement I could give something, and yet here we are. Your mom will like it.

7. "Kaleidoscope"

What the ever-loving hell is this mess? Did Coldplay really sample President Obama? The whackest White Album-interlude homage ever. Pass.

8. "Army of One"

Sounds/feels like Coldplay and there isn't spoken word poetry over Vampire Weekend arpeggios like No. 7. The track's second half, tho? Woof.

9. "Amazing Day"

Did I already do one of these that was just the sleeping guy emoji? This record requires a constitution stronger than I possess I'm afraid.

10. "Colour Spectrum"

There are actually two short interludes on an album that only has 11 tracks? I mean, this is fine and all, but is that really necessary?

11. "Up&Up"

Production is okay, I guess, but as Coldplay was called U2 derivative back in 2000, this feels like Coldplay derivative. Snow Patrol? Sigh.

* * *

Verdict: 4/10

This is not a very good record, even for recovering Coldplay Stans. May Super Bowl 50's halftime show feature as little of it as possible.