A week after Coldplay released their world-conquering fourth album, Viva la Vida, (9 million sold and counting), they received a letter from the record’s co-producer – Brian Eno. It said, ‘Dear Coldplay, I really think we’ve made a good record here. But I do think we can do a lot better.’ Coldplay are humble, polite, hard-working guys. They made a mental note: We’ll do better next time.
After a three-year gap, Coldplay return with a quasi-concept album, ‘A love story set in an Orwellian dystopia’. Much of this album delivers: ‘Hurts Like Heaven’, ‘Charlie Brown’ and ‘Paradise’ are all soul-swelling sing-alongs with shimmering guitars.
But on the sappily titled single ‘Every Tear Is a Waterfall’ and ‘Don’t Let It Break Your Heart’, their relentless bombast is simply exhausting. So: Dear Coldplay, I think you’ve made a good record here. You are great songwriters and your shows are unifying, rousing events; but not every song needs a raft of codanthemic ‘oooh-oohs’. You can sound just as powerful when you dial it down a bit.