Coldplay - A Head Full Of Dreams (C+)

Coldplay is not the band they started as. For fans awaiting their triumphant return to the days of their debut Parachutes. They built on and perfected that sound on A Rush of Blood To the Head and then tried their luck in a different direction on X & Y, which features some of my favorite songs overall by them but as an album was a bit of a miss. Then came Viva La Vida which is what really propelled them to the next level, and for good reason. The album is packed with beauty and energy. An expansive sound that was equal parts original and familiar, alienating almost no listeners. On their next album (Mylo Xyloto), and my least favorite, they set their sights on a more stadium rock style approach and while it was fun and catchy it got old quickly for me. Their next outing, Ghost Stories, was almost the exact opposite. While still not where they started, it had a beautiful subtleness to it. Oddly enough I thought the two singles, "Magic" and "A Sky Full of Stars" we're the only downsides on an otherwise excellent album. Check out the phenomenal album closer "O" if you haven't already. gorgeous stuff. But all that's in the past now. Coldplay is back and I'm happy to report they seem to have once again found their happy-medium. 

A Head Full of Dreams is once again a new frontier for the band, and I've come to enjoy seeing their approach with each new album. Here it seems they've taken notes from their entire catalogue to provide us with an all around experience. Never settling too long with one version of themselves it actually flows really nicely. They've kept their big songs in check, not letting them become your standard any-band-would-have-a-hit-with-this anthem. I listened to this album back to back with their first record is pretty cool. For better for worse they've expanded their sound more than any other band in recent memory and regardless of what I think of the "new" Coldplay, I respect them. Who they are now has no bearing on who they were or what they created. I never understood why fans get mad when artists stray away from who they started as. You will always have the albums you loved about them, it's not as if the music fades when they change artistic directions, so don't get upset when they choose a new path. Growth in art is what makes the possibilities endless, giving yourself to new things, creating something different, something new. It's the second half of the album that really shines here, using instrumental tie-ins between songs to create flow. My favorite tracks on the album are "Hymn For The Weekend", "Amazing Day" and the closer "Up&Up". Though it's the additional track "Miracles", available on deluxe editions, that might be my favorite here.