But for their latest album, A Head Full of Dreams, they really pulled out all the stops. It makes perfect sense—the band has hinted several times that this LP will likely be their last. What better way to go out than by bringing in some of music's greatest (and Gwyneth Paltrow) to join you?
A lot will be said today about Dreams. For starters, there's the obvious discussion about how much the track list reflects frontman Chris Martin's divorce conscious uncoupling from ex-wife Paltrow. It's an analysis just begging to be had, but we're going to leave that to Twitter. Instead, we're here to talk about those almighty collabs. When you've got Barack Obama sampled on your album, a ranking is only natural. So let's get into it.
5. "Up & Up," Featuring Noel Gallagher: Yes, this is that Noel Gallagher; the former Oasis frontman who might be the grumpiest thing to happen to music since Morrissey. The performer plays a guitar solo on the final track of the album. Now, it's a fine song. It's super catchy, in fact. And the guitar portion is pretty good—in the way you can't resist jamming along to "Wonderwall" every time you've had more than three drinks. But Noel Gallagher is such a buzzkill that it's hard to fully get behind this collaboration. After all, he's dissed some of our favorite things (like Jay Z and modern hip-hop in general), and considering his disdain for fellow Head Full of Dreams collaborator Beyoncé, it seems a bit counter-intuitive. The jam does have one major redeeming factor, though: The gospel choir-style chorus sung by a bunch of Coldplay's friends and loved ones.
4. "Kaleidoscope," Featuring Barack Obama. Okay, so this song just features a sample of Barack Obama. But they did get the president's permission to use the recording of him reciting "Amazing Grace," and that's about as close to a collaboration on something that's not slow-jamming the news as Obama is going to get. Let's enjoy all one minute and 51 seconds of this interlude.
3. "Fun," Featuring Tove Lo. This song is quite deceiving. Given the name, it's natural to think that it would be a hot party jam. But upbeat it is not. In fact, it's about a couple who used to have fun, before something super sad and depressing happened (cough...divorce...cough). "Didn't we have fun?" the lyrics ask. "Don't say it was all waste." Bummer, man. But beyond that, it's super Coldplay-ish, and Tove Lo sounds great. Win, win.
2. "Hymn for the Weekend," Featuring Beyoncé and Blue Ivy. This is the track that Chris Martin wanted to be a club anthem—the lyrics "drink from me" were originally meant to be "drinks on me." Clearly Coldplay has no place recording a song like that, and we're happy with the change of direction. After all, it still turned out to be something of a party jam, and it's a welcome reprieve from the slightly more introspective (and, dare we say, slightly depressing) tracks. But that's not so surprising: Obviously Queen Bey would be featured on a party track. That being said, Bey (and Blue Ivy, too) is slightly relegated to background vocals, acting almost as another instrument. Kind of a wasted opportunity, Coldplay.
1. "Everglow," Featuring Gwyneth Paltrow. Get your tissues out, folks! Here we have conscious uncoupling in musical form. It's clearly the headliner of the post-divorce pieces, with juicy lyrics like "They say people come, say people go/ This particular diamond is extra special/ And though you might be gone, and the world may not know/ Still I see you're celestial." This is classic Coldplay in the vein of the ultimate tearjerker, "Fix you." GP is but a faint addition to the track, but isn't that the ultimate metaphor.