Album cover for Coldplay Music of the Spheres

Album Review: Coldplay – Music of the Spheres

Why can’t Coldplay just be normal?

BE NORMAL!

Please be a normal rock band.

Oh forget it. Coldplay released Music of the Spheres, today, their ninth album showing the band continuing a foray into more experimental music far different from the hits that endeared them to millions more than a decade ago.

Music of the Spheres consist of 12 tracks, three of those short interludes less than a minute with an album closer more than 10 minutes. Music of the Spheres is the shortest album, timewise, since the band’s debut Parachutes in 2000 but if you cut out all the unearthly filler, you get about 30 minutes of music and even some of that is a stretch to be called music.

Coldplay hails from London and now more than 20 years since forming holds on as one of the few rock bands to retain all original members in singer Chris Martin, guitarist Jonny Buckland, Guy Berryman on bass and drummer Will Champion. How all four manage to agree on the band’s direction proves some dedication to their craft, so at least there’s that.

Coldplay collaborates with varying artists on Music of the Spheres including BTS, Selena Gomez and Jacob Collier but the cross-genre participation only serves to alienate Coldplay from what made them great.

Coldplay Music of the Spheres Review

The short, spacey instrumental title track opens Music of the Spheres, which leads into “Higher Power,” the first single released in May, an uplifting, catchy pop song that draws from the sounds of the 80s with flashes of early Coldplay brilliance thanks to Berryman’s striking bass line. This track feeds into “Humankind” featuring a somewhat ambitious use of keyboards more inline with the rock flair that helped further elevate Coldplay’s chart topping popularity 10 years or so ago. This one also bleeds into the next song, “Alien Choir” another short, spacey instrumental that transports me to waiting in line for Space Mountain at Disneyland.

And it’s all (mostly) downhill from here.

The piano ballad “Let Somebody Go” invites Gomez for the duet but sounds like Martin continues to lament over his failed marriage to Gwyneth Paltrow in this Ghost Stories leftover. It’s not a bad song, but more adult-contemporary like what you’d hear on the local soft rock station without any of the band’s essence.

“Human Heart” employs this odd choir chanting vocalization with little to no instrumentation and hardly any melody. I don’t know what this is.

“People of the Pride” puts a much-needed spike in the ECG of this album with some Muse like musings and even a Pet Shop Boys like opening. This is the song we’ve been waiting for even if it does take a few listens to settle in.

Chipmunks sing over a drum machine for “Biutyful” (seriously) with Martin as co-singer then Simon, Alvin and Theodore hold on to the mic as an audience cheers them on for the 21 second “Music of the Spheres II.” I don’t know what any of this is.

What a relief to hear the opening bars for “My Universe.” When first release a few weeks ago, I didn’t care that much for this collaboration with South Korean boy band BTS and it probably works just as well, if not better, had Coldplay kept this one for themselves and expanded on the music to create another lofty song like “Paradise,” but the signature chorus and contributions from BTS combine for an exclusive sound.

“Infinity Sign” could begin again forever on repeat in this repetitive keyboard instrumental that was recorded while a soccer game was on TV, before Music of the Spheres closes with the 10 minute  “Coloratura” a lengthy attempt at prog rock, but probably not intentional, despite a slight suggestion of Pink Floyd.  

In some respects, Coldplay feels like the Titanic. Perhaps their arrogance leads the band to believe they captain an unsinkable cruise liner so they set out on these bizarre musical excursions thinking no one will jump ship and remain onboard for the long bumpy ride. Nearly half the songs have some stupid stylized symbol for the name, for goodness’ sake.

If they’re bored, this weariness hardly represents Viva La Vida.

Grade: C

Coldplay Music of the Spheres Songs:

  1. Music of the Spheres
  2. Higher Power
  3. Humankind
  4. Alien Choir
  5. Let Somebody Go
  6. Human Heart
  7. People of the Pride
  8. Biutyful
  9. Music of the Spheres II
  10. My Universe
  11. Infinity Sign
  12. Coloratura

Why can’t Coldplay just be normal? BE NORMAL!

Please be a normal rock band.

Oh forget it. Coldplay released Music of the Spheres, today, their ninth album showing the band continuing a foray into more experimental music far different from the hits that endeared them to millions more than a decade ago.

Music of the Spheres consist of 12 tracks, three of those short interludes less than a minute with an album closer more than 10 minutes. Music of the Spheres is the shortest album, timewise, since the band’s debut Parachutes in 2000 but if you cut out all the unearthly filler, you get about 30 minutes of music and even some of that is a stretch to be called music.

Coldplay hails from London and now more than 20 years since forming holds on as one of the few rock bands to retain all original members in singer Chris Martin, guitarist Jonny Buckland, Guy Berryman on bass and drummer Will Champion. How all four manage to agree on the band’s direction proves some dedication to their craft, so at least there’s that.

Coldplay collaborates with varying artists on Music of the Spheres including BTS, Selena Gomez and Jacob Collier but the cross-genre participation only serves to alienate Coldplay from what made them great.

Coldplay Music of the Spheres Review

The short, spacey instrumental title track opens Music of the Spheres, which leads into “Higher Power,” the first single released in May, an uplifting, catchy pop song that draws from the sounds of the 80s with flashes of early Coldplay brilliance thanks to Berryman’s striking bass line. This track feeds into “Humankind” featuring a somewhat ambitious use of keyboards more inline with the rock flair that helped further elevate Coldplay’s chart topping popularity 10 years or so ago. This one also bleeds into the next song, “Alien Choir” another short, spacey instrumental that transports me to waiting in line for Space Mountain at Disneyland.

And it’s all (mostly) downhill from here.

The piano ballad “Let Somebody Go” invites Gomez for the duet but sounds like Martin continues to lament over his failed marriage to Gwyneth Paltrow in this Ghost Stories leftover. It’s not a bad song, but more adult-contemporary like what you’d hear on the local soft rock station without any of the band’s essence.

“Human Heart” employs this odd choir chanting vocalization with little to no instrumentation and hardly any melody. I don’t know what this is.

“People of the Pride” puts a much-needed spike in the ECG of this album with some Muse like musings and even a Pet Shop Boys like opening. This is the song we’ve been waiting for even if it does take a few listens to settle in.

Chipmunks sing over a drum machine for “Biutyful” (seriously) with Martin as co-singer then Simon, Alvin and Theodore hold on to the mic as an audience cheers them on for the 21 second “Music of the Spheres II.” I don’t know what any of this is.

What a relief to hear the opening bars for “My Universe.” When first release a few weeks ago, I didn’t care that much for this collaboration with South Korean boy band BTS and it probably works just as well, if not better, had Coldplay kept this one for themselves and expanded on the music to create another lofty song like “Paradise,” but the signature chorus and contributions from BTS combine for an exclusive sound.

“Infinity Sign” could begin again forever on repeat in this repetitive keyboard instrumental that was recorded while a soccer game was on TV, before Music of the Spheres closes with the 10 minute  “Coloratura” a lengthy attempt at prog rock, but probably not intentional, despite a slight suggestion of Pink Floyd.  

In some respects, Coldplay feels like the Titanic. Perhaps their arrogance leads the band to believe they captain an unsinkable cruise liner so they set out on these bizarre musical excursions thinking no one will jump ship and remain onboard for the long bumpy ride. Nearly half the songs have some stupid stylized symbol for the name, for goodness’ sake.

If they’re bored, this weariness hardly represents Viva La Vida.

Grade: C

Coldplay Music of the Spheres Songs:

  1. Music of the Spheres
  2. Higher Power
  3. Humankind
  4. Alien Choir
  5. Let Somebody Go
  6. Human Heart
  7. People of the Pride
  8. Biutyful
  9. Music of the Spheres II
  10. My Universe
  11. Infinity Sign
  12. Coloratura

7 thoughts on “Album Review: Coldplay – Music of the Spheres

  1. Though I’d already heard several tracks, I listened to the full album this morning, and it’s an odd work. Like you, I’m not sure what to make of it all. Coldplay has been one of my favorite bands ever since I first heard “Clocks”, but that ranking is being seriously tested lately.

    From a musical standpoint, I think “People of the Pride” is my favorite track, as it’s the most exciting and edgy, plus Chris even uses the ‘F’ word lol. But when “Biutyful” played, I thought WTF? I thought it was perhaps a duet with Filipino-British singer Beabadoobee. I like, but don’t love, “Higher Power” and “My Universe”. “Infinity Sign” is a nice, upbeat instrumental piece, and I like “Coloratura” well enough, though it goes on far too long. I think I agree with your C grade.

    1. it was approaching D grade, lol. but I think mostly out of frustration. I listened again and it was then I liked People of the Pride and Humankind but those other songs, not sure what they are going for

  2. Thanks for saving me some time to see if they found any of their earlier glory as it sounds like they haven’t. It has been years since I’ve even tried to listen to them again and by the sounds of it, it will be years more.

  3. Love this opening line….

    “Please be a normal rock band”.
    I could never wrap my head around these guys. They don’t bug me per se but that trippy sound of there’s is not my deal.
    By the way I gave u a shoutout this past Thursday when I had Kev on and we discussed Sloan!

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