NEW YORK , Coldplay’s last album was like a warm embrace from Earth. The British quartet has done something bigger, cosmically larger.
Will Champion, drummer, says that they are looking up and outwards in an effort to find answers.
Music of the Spheres is a 12-track album with spacy synth sounds and melodies. The track “Infinity Sign”, sounds like it was made inside a starburst, and “Biutyful”, a musical hit of pure joy, is the perfect example. This album is one that astronauts should listen to while they gather in a space station spinning slowly for a galactic party.
Chris Martin, the lead singer of the band, says that “it is a bit more grand in its sound.” The songs are always first. However, the picture frame of ‘Music of the Spheres’ makes it easy to see which songs might fit into the picture. You’re at the mercy of which songs turn up.
Jonny Buckland, guitarist, uses a fishing analogy. “The concept kinda builds the net. Do you understand what I mean?” The net then catches the fish it wants.
The seeds for the new album were planted years ago by the British band, as they were finishing their tour for “A Head Full of Dreams.” However, the pandemic shattered their plans and led to “Everyday Life,” which was a dense and complex album with words and music in Arabic, Spanish and Zulu. It was as reflective about humanity as the new album is lofty.
“Everyday Life” was all about personalizing the big questions. Champion says that this album is all about turning the small things into big questions. “You know, “What are we doing here and what’s our purpose? And why are we here?”
The band teamed up this time with Max Martin, a super-producer who they credit for his less-is-more approach. Max Martin helped breathe life into the songs for a band that is known for their rich orchestrations.
Champion says that “We historically, as a band, tend to fill space.” Champion says that we paint with lots and layers of thick strings and synths. Max is conscious that there are not too many spaces, which is why we felt so relieved when Max painted.
Guy Berryman, bassist: “Adding another layer of sound to a song is not going make it more powerful or bigger.” It’s almost like mixing too many colors together and you end up with brown.
Five of the 12 songs on the album use emojis for titles. It also features a collaboration between BTS (the song “My Universe,” that has already topped Billboard’s Hot 100 Songs Chart). Selena Gomez also sang “Let Somebody Go”, a breakup song that was forgiving and loving.
Martin kept it family-oriented, with daughter Apple Martin writing credit for the Gomez song and the intro to “Higher Power.” Son Moses Martin was credited with the chorus vocals on “Humankind.”
“Apple gave to me an amazing chord that I had never imagined.” Martin agrees. He may be biased, but he believes Moses is a talented singer. “So I often ask him just to come and make choruses sounds better.”
The album closes with “Coloratura”, a 10-minute-plus journey into the cosmos, that’s a sort of flex by the band and is a departure.
Max Martin gave us a lot confidence at that point. There were more songs that were poppy so we felt a sense of “Well, this last song is currently 6 minutes long, what if it just went as it was meant to?” he said.
It’s not going reach everyone and it’s certainly not for everyone, but some people might enjoy the movie-like quality of it, even us, since we have never allowed ourselves to do this. This is what we’ve felt for a long time.
Coldplay isn’t the only artist to tap into the skies in recent years. Nick Jonas released “Spaceman,” Beck’s “Hyperspace”, and Masked Wolf’s “Astronauts in the Ocean.” Dua Lipa’s video of “Levitate” shows a Space Party in an Art Deco elevator.
Coldplay sees space as a way to discuss ending man-made demarcations. They also note that the Earth is only water, mountains, and trees from space.
Champion says, “We want and try to get rid of as many divisions and that barriers between people as we can because we see we’re just a little ball floating in an enormous, huge universe and need to look after one another.”
Martin points out that despite all the spaciness it’s still Coldplay — optimistic and hopeful. Talking about planets can be a way to talk about being human.
He says, “It’s really another recording about life as an individual human being, but with the freedom that comes from pretending it’s about other creatures elsewhere,”