Coldplay brightens up Everyday Life with a mix of influences

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Frank Schwichtenberg | Wikimedia Commons

Farah Javed

In Coldplay’s eighth studio album, Everyday Life, the underlying message seems to be about humanity. In the album, the band focused solely on experimentation while wondering about the human condition. 

In an interview with BBC, lead singer Chris Martin concluded, “Every day is great and every day is terrible and every day is a blessing.” 

Structured like an ordinary day, the album is divided into two parts: “Sunrise” and “Sunset.” 

As the conclusion to the album, “Sunset” delivers more impressive hits, while “Sunrise” is more reserved.

The first track of the album is “Sunrise.” The rock band’s choice to start their album with two and a half minutes of pure orchestral sound is strange yet beautiful. 

Not only is it soothing, but it establishes a strong Arabic influence, which this album strived for, with its cover artwork featuring the title written in Arabic. 

The languid music shifts to a more upbeat tempo, as “Sunrise” leads into “Church.” 

This second track fell into Coldplay’s repertoire, with fast drumbeats and synthesized basslines building up to Martin’s airy vocals. 

Once more tying into the Middle Eastern sound, vocalist Norah Shaqur sings the chorus in Arabic.

If comparing this album to an actual daily routine, “Trouble in Town” is like waking up. It is also Coldplay’s wakeup call for the United States, as it is a rare instance in which the band takes a political stance in a song, in this case against police brutality. 

With a gentle instrumental, akin to “A Rush of Blood to the Head,” Martin’s serious lyrics take the spotlight, “Trouble in town/Because they hung my Brother Brown/Because their system just keep you down.” 

Though Coldplay has been widely criticized for weak lyrics, the audio clip of a police officer cursing out a black civilian makes up for the band’s lack of lyrical prowess. 

As the conversation becomes more violent and abrasive, the soft and slow song morphs into an incohesive explosion of drums, guitar and piano. 

The fact that Martin continues to sing about trouble in town even after the climax of the song signifies that brutality cannot be cemented to one moment, but is an ongoing problem.

The album takes an abrupt turn, not leaving the listener enough time to adjust to the gospel sound of “BrokEn.” 

Clearly, with this song and “Church,” Coldplay is projecting a theme of faithfulness. 

Though this song is melodious and surely an earworm, it doesn’t do Martin any favors, as his voice is lackluster compared to the choir singing with him. 

At the end of the song, however, Coldplay’s message about humanity is reiterated, with gospel music evoking a sense of community needed in current grief-stricken times. 

Noticeably, Everyday Life lacks cohesion. Leaping from classical to pop to dark to gospel, and now a touching ballad to a father far away in “Daddy,” the listening experience becomes fragmented. Though “Daddy” is a sweet song bound to tug heartstrings, it does not bode well in the track list’s order. 

The next track, “Arabesque” is praised by many, and with good reason. This jazz-filled song featuring Femi Kuti and Belgian rapper Stromae does the best job on the album at incorporating music from different Middle Eastern and African cultures while driving home the message that “we share the same blood.” 

The real knockout of the album, however, is “Orphans.” According to an interview with RADIO.com, Coldplay wrote the song “…thinking so much about all these kids in refugee camps who are just like us…people being labeled as just migrants or just refugees or just immigrants.” 

The most pop song on the album, “Orphans” has a joyous melody that is contagious, though the underlying meaning of the lyrics is depressing. This juxtaposition has all the makings of a radio hit, while effectively communicating the normalcy these children crave for. 

The last track on the album, however, is the most important and not just because it is called “Everyday Life.” 

The album ends with this song posing the quintessential question, “What in the world are we going to do?/Look at what everybody’s going through/What kind of world do you want it to be?/Am I the future or the history?”

Everyday Life conveys the experimental tone Coldplay wanted, with some missteps. 

Though every song tries to represent a new culture from African to Middle Eastern, to using the London Choir, the band cannot unify to form a sensical direction. 

Touching on political issues from gun control to immigration, Coldplay proves that the world is broken, but seems to propose that this album is the solution. 

This is not the best Coldplay album, but at least it is clear that the band understands immediate action is necessary to fix humanity’s everyday life.