Reviewed by Ian Phillips.
By Coldplay, Warner Music 2019.
I have been a Coldplay fan since the release of X&Y in 2005 and Viva La Vida in 2008.
My love of the band deepened with the release of their A Head Full Of Dreams album in 2015, which I rate as a return to top form and their best effort since the two previously mentioned albums.
So I approached Everyday Life with a great sense of excitement and anticipation. However, to be honest, I’m not sure what to make of it.
Everyday Life is a double album divided into two halves, Sunrise and Sunset.
The album is dripping in religious imagery from the gospel infused BrokEn to the hymn When I Need A Friend – that ends disc one – and disc two’s Alleluia chorus, but I don’t know what it all means.
Where A Head Full Of Dreams created an up-beat and positive vibe, Everyday Life does the opposite. It seems to be unremittingly dark, half-finished and disjointed.
There are a precious few wonderful moments on the album, the second track Trouble in Town incorporates a recording of harassment by racist police which brings the lyrics into sharp focus, but I found these highlights few and far between.
I ended up dissatisfied and searching for something that would draw it all together, that would give the album meaning and provide the moment of clarity. The “ah that’s what they’re saying” moment… I’m still looking.
We live in disruptive times. The rise of extremism, worldwide protests, our uncertain climate, the cult of hedonism and rise of populist leaders, the return of isolationist policies that reject and neglect the international agencies that have united us… many people worry about what the future holds.
Is it this sense of unease that Coldplay has tapped into?
Did they set out to produce an album that reflects our disjointed and troubled times? If so, they have at least succeeded in producing a disjointed work.
I don’t have the answers to these questions. Everyday Life may turn out to be one of the great albums, but at the moment all I can say is that I’m somewhat confused.