A Beautiful Collage: Coldplay’s “Everyday Life” Review

Published 3 years ago -

Skyler Hesch, Campus Life Editor

After not releasing an album since 2015, Coldplay released “Everyday Life” on Friday, Nov. 22. The 52-minute album is broken up into two halves: Sunrise and Sunset. Each section is diverse, containing both soft and more energetic songs, mixed with a voice memo, a saxophone solo, choirs, orchestral pieces and many other featured artists, like Nigerian vocalist Tiwa Savage, the late qawwali singer Amjad Sabri, Alice Coltrane, Frightened Rabbit’s Scott Hutchison and three generations of Kutis. While the album addresses serious and painful issues like gun violence, abandonment and loss, it does not feel heavy due to the arrangement of the tracks.

“Everyday Life” begins with “Sunrise,” a two-and-a-half-minute orchestral piece. The track makes the listener feel at peace, while also preparing them for the heavy content of the album with the somber undertones. “Church” is the second track on the album. It starts out slower, but slowly becomes more lively, both in the lyrics and the tempo. This song in particular really reminds me of a poem; it gives off Shakespeare vibes. The lyrics describe Chris Martin’s emotional and romantic dependency on his lover, as well as the lover’s ability to heal him and make him feel better. He likens her body to a church to show how his devotion to her and describes himself as someone who worships her. While some might look at the song as sacrilegious, it is ultimately just a song in which Martin uses a church metaphor to express his love for someone.

“Trouble in Town” is the third track on the album. It sounds similar to some of the tracks on their studio album “Parachutes,” but also different in that there are Arabic undertones throughout the song. The lyrics encapsulate Coldplay’s empathy for people of color, due to the persecution they face in other parts of the world. This meaning becomes even more clear in the interlude, which includes a recording of a white police officer harassing a person of color. The lyrics suggest that instead of shelter and peace, people of color only face more persecution and get more police. The fourth track, “BrokEn” features a choir and has a very religious connotation. The capital B and E are for Brian Eno, who has had a major influence on the band.

In “Daddy,” Martin’s mellow vocals accompanied by piano tell the story of a child whose father is not present. The child is screaming out to the father, wondering where he went. The lyrics, “And Daddy, it’s my birthday” suggest that the father is not only present, but that he has been gone for a while. The music video shows a young child alone on a tiny boat, riding violent waves in a storm looking for his dad. The song speaks to those who have grown up without fathers, showing how their lives have been made more difficult because they did not have a dad. This is a heartbreaking track that makes me so grateful for my dad’s presence in my life. “WOTW/POTP” is Coldplay’s anthem to be an advocate for those who are persecuted in this world “gone wrong.” It also speaks to the power of people and individuals for change in a world they are not content with.

“Arabesque” begins with city sounds and then slowly incorporates saxophone, which continues throughout the track. Martin sings, “You could be me, I could be you / two angles of the same view/ and we share the same blood,” speaking about how we do not choose where we are born and we do not choose the color we are born, but despite the differences in appearance and experiences, we are the same underneath. The song focuses on the similarities of all people and the things that bring people together regardless of their age, race or language, as opposed to differences which only create division. The eighth track, “When I Need a Friend” sounds like a hymn or doxology, with Martin’s emotion-filled voice and a choir. The song ends with spoken Spanish, a sample from the film, “Everything is Incredible.”

“Guns” marks the beginning of the second half of the album. The folk-like acoustic track brings Coldplay into the protest music realm. The song is a criticism of all of the gun violence in the world, happening in schools and supermarkets and on playgrounds, and the court’s refusal to make a change. It shows how people value their right to own a gun over everyone else’s right to life. “Orphans,” the first released single, is the most popular track of the album. Martin wrote it thinking about all of the children in refugee camps, labeled as immigrants or migrants, or refugees, instead of just being called what they are: people. While they may just be children, they want to go home and live a normal life, just like everyone else.

“Ékó” is also slow, giving off “Parachutes” vibes again, with Martin’s soft voice at the forefront of the song. Martin sings about how everything in Africa is much more peaceful and how it should be, showing how refugees long to return home to normalcy. “Cry Cry Cry” has a down-home feel, with a bluesy piano and lyrics. This track adds yet another vibe to the album, yet it stays consistent and Martin is just as confident as with the other tracks. Track thirteen, “Old Friends,” features Martin’s gorgeous vocals and great guitar work. It is very peaceful and makes the listener feel nostalgic about their old friends. “بنی آدم” is the next track, a three-minute-long piece, starts with piano, which does a great job giving the listener time to reflect on the album, before it picks up slightly and features a spoken piece. To me, this track is about how life can be sad and disappointing, but it always gets better and there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

The second to last song, “Champion of the World” speaks to the importance of individuality. If everyone tried to be like everyone else, the world would be boring. It is by being unique that one becomes the champion of the world, despite the hardships and challenges faced in the process of being different. Martin is proclaiming that he is one of the loners of the world, and this song is for all the other loners out there. “Everyday Life” is the final song of the album. It speaks to everyone’s humanity, regardless of the things that set them apart or make them different. The song stresses the importance of being kind to everyone because you never know what someone is going through.

Overall, this album is really powerful and moving. While the content is a bit heavier, there is a good mix that keeps the overall mood light. This album is more than music, it is an experience and shows how many different people, ideas and cultures make a beautiful collage.

52 recommended
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