Coldplay Joins Adele’s British Invasion, as Bieber Triumphs on UK Territory

4 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Coldplay ‘A Head Full of Dreams’ review: Coldplay put a pep in their step, but nothing too wild.

The British rock band is the latest big act to hold a new album off the world’s leading streaming service, in the latest rejection of Spotify’s insistence that artists include their music in the free, ad-supported version of its app. “This seems to be more about Spotify clinging to its idea of free and premium being treated the same than about streaming in a broader sense,” said Mark Mulligan, an analyst for Midia Research. Eamon Carr reviews this week’s big album releases – Coldplay: A Head Full of Dreams (Parlophone), The Vamps: Wake Up (Virgin/EMI), The Blades: Smalltime (Reekus), Hometown: Hometown (Sony), Soulsavers: Kubrick (San Quentin) Coldplay remind me of those afternoon reality TV shows where a team of wannabe designers and carpenters rock up to some poor sod’s house while the owner’s away and change everything.Coldplay are something of a British institution: however much you might be inclined to mock them for their perceived lack of cool, they’re ingrained into our culture.The news was revealed by the NFL on Twitter and Coldplay frontman Chris Martin said the group was looking forward to taking part in the “Super Bowl of Music”. Apple Music and, more recently, Pandora are happy to echo that point of view. “Free-to-the-listener on-demand services are driving down music’s intrinsic value by creating a ‘gray market,’” wrote Pandora chief executive officer Brian McAndrews on Business Insider earlier this week. “This gray market is unsustainable.” It’s hard to tell whether Spotify has been affected by the changing competitive landscape, because it releases information about its subscriber base erratically.

I admit, there are times when I take a break from translating the works of Catullus and stare transfixed at the telly as the busy bees cut loose with the fresh paint, a roll of stripy wallpaper, some garish cushions and a lava lamp. Unusually for Coldplay, it features a stellar array of guests, with Beyonce, Noel Gallagher, Swedish singer Tove Lo and soul diva Merry Clayton all making appearances.

John’s Church in Hackney, in the knowledge that their January 2016 slot at Wembley Stadium sold out in minutes and prompted them to add another date. The newly released album was produced by Norwegian duo Stargate, the producers behind hits including Rihanna’s Rude Boy, Katy Perry’s Firework and Beyonce’s Irreplaceable. In the meantime, the roughly 16 million people who use Spotify to listen to Coldplay each month will have to settle for the rest of the band’s discography. That move won’t do a lot for the group’s credibility with their original, indie rock-loving fans, but it shows a willingness to experiment that wasn’t apparent on their early albums, which followed the panoramic patterns honed by U2, Travis and Radiohead. If it’s not clear what Spotify has to lose from sacrificing the occasional high-profile release, it is clear what the service stands to gain by sticking with its free service.

Unlike the unbearable “Sky Full Of Stars” or affected “Midnight”, the latter of which came across as a Bon Iver parody, the tracks played from this latest offering feel fresh and vibrant – perhaps thanks to Norwegian production duo Stargate, along with regular band collaborator Rik Simpson. The disco tone – anthemic, slightly cheesy – is there in the album’s first single “Adventure of a Lifetime” – the video of which was filmed in Andy Serkis’ Imaginarium studio – and the album’s title track.

Those looking for lyrical heft will be disappointed. ‘I’m going to miss you, I know,’ croons Martin on piano number Everglow, in what could be a reference to his broken marriage, while Army Of One finds the 38-year-old admitting: ‘I’ve been around the world looking for someone like you.’ Of the guests, Tove Lo is sultry on the ballad Fun, but more could have been made of Beyonce’s presence on Hymn For The Weekend. No need for Bootsy Collins when Guy Berryman can thumb-up a riff as funky as the one on Adventure of a Lifetime, an irrepressible groove that’s sure to fill floors in the months ahead. The R&B star sings yelping, chant-like backing vocals, but isn’t given the larger platform Rihanna was afforded on her 2011 Coldplay duet Princess Of China.

The song is a let-down on the record – bursting with lyrical clichés that occur when Martin – never a strong lyricist to begin with – becomes too self-indulgent (see: “Life is a drink/And love is a drug/Got me feeling drunk and high”). The set is interspersed with crowd favourites; ”Paradise“ from 2011’s Mylo Xyloto runs in to Ghost Stories’ redeemer ”Magic” while ”Fix You“ is followed by ”Viva La Vida“. Bassist Guy Berryman, drummer Will Champion and guitarist Jonny Buckland all put as much effort into their parts as they would for an arena but are far less mobile on stage, balancing out their frontman’s overexhuberant mannerisms. Martin is clearly looking to the future, he sings about the “change in the winds” and there’s a general feeling of optimism tonight, of a new beginning, as though he can’t wait to get started.

A sizable marketing budget on top of that would make it even harder. “The relationship between the cost of acquiring a client and the lifetime value of that client is critical for all these freemium services,” said Max Wolff, chief economist at Manhattan Venture Partners, a firm that’s studied Spotify’s finances. “They can’t afford to move that line any further.” The difficult economics of a standalone streaming service have inspired Pandora to branch out, through acquisitions of Ticketfly and Rdio. Sadly, even the addition of Merry Clayton, the woman who sang with Jagger on Gimme Shelter, can’t turn the loping Up & Up into something as intoxicating as a Primal Scream rave.

This welcome new EP from the Dublin favourites, that includes a song inspired by the late George Byrne, is sure to feature in their must-see Olympia show tomorrow night. The star-maker machinery has been in operation for two years, perfecting a pleasant collection that will appeal to its target audience while not frightening the horses.

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