Capping their record-breaking A Head Full of Dreams era in 2018, Coldplay cemented themselves as one of the biggest international acts of the decade. Traversing the globe and selling out stadiums, they absorbed plenty of sounds and stories from fans around the world, which helped inform their experimental Global Citizen EP. That spirit continued to course through the studio, yielding their ambitious 2019 double album, Everyday Life. As traveling troubadours hopping across continents and seas, Coldplay captured some of that sonically revolutionary spirit found on Viva La Vida while pushing the pop-sense positivity à la A Head Full of Dreams. However, Everyday Life exists in its own strange, unpolished world, which frontman Chris Martin described as "totally raw" and pure. Their least immediate or mainstream-friendly effort thus far, the unconventional set veers into multiple genres and various directions, which requires listeners to surrender to the experience. Breaking further away from their standard output, Everyday Life also takes a stance as their most political statement to date, decrying police brutality on the infuriating "Trouble in Town," addressing firearm control on the sardonic "Guns" (which also has the honor of being the first Coldplay studio track to feature swearing), and putting a relatable, human face on the global refugee crisis with the otherwise joyful "Orphans." While these moments are intense (for Coldplay), they don't completely overwhelm the album. Rather, in typical band fashion, rays of hope, perseverance, and life shine through the darkness. Interpolating Pakistani and Iranian poets, the voices of Femi Kuti, Tiwa Savage, and Alice Coltrane, and Nigerian church choirs, Everyday Life lifts spirits on a rhythmic, worldly scale, just as church bells and gospel singers elevate intimate moments like "BrokEn" and "When I Need a Friend." While every track offers its own special moments, absolute standouts include the devastating "Daddy," a stirring piano-based weeper that sounds like early Keane; the bright "Champion of the World," which interpolates Scott Hutchison's "Los Angeles, Be Kind"; and epic showstopper "Arabesque," a horn-drenched peak in their catalog that showcases Femi Kuti and his band and Belgian rapper Stromae. If this all sounds like a lot, it is, making this effort a scattered but fascinating anomaly in their discography that requires a few spins to truly take hold. Closing a decade defined by stadium-sized hits of optimism, Coldplay manages to grow even bigger with Everyday Life, absorbing flavors from across the globe with their most indulgent and, perhaps, poignant album yet.
AllMusic Review by Neil Z. Yeung
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