Coldplay’s Music of the Spheres: What You Need To Know
Chris Martin and co. return to action this week with their ninth studio album Music of the Spheres, which sees Coldplay steer firmly into pop territory with big, slick tunes and a galaxy-sized concept to match.
Taking its name from, of all things, a Pythagorean philosophical concept developed by a 16th century astronomer named Johannes Kepler and, according to Martin himself, inspired by the band from the cantina scene in Star Wars, Music of the Spheres makes its arrival in stores on Friday October 15. Here’s everything you need to know…
A little background…
Dedicated Coldplay fans may remember an idea that Chris Martin posted on Coldplay’s website blog in 2010 that talked about the idea of wanting to “build a solar system”, which at the time he’d given the name of "Roadie 42".
Long-since deleted, the idea seemed to have faded from view until hints appeared in the vinyl edition of their previous album, Everyday Life, including a picture of a billboard in the album’s booklet which featured the words Music of the Spheres.
Announced in July following the release of the new album’s lead single ‘Higher Power’, Music of the Spheres is a concept album based around an imaginary solar system, whose songs represent each one of its planets (which also, incidentally, have their own languages).
It’s a big concept, and with the need for big hits to match they’ve roped in a few heavyweights to help with the task…
Who’s producing it?
Swedish hit-making machine Max Martin is listed as the new album’s main producer, although there is also input from Oscar Holter and Bill Rakho.
Any special guests?
Just a few, yes. Selena Gomez guests on ‘Let Somebody Go’, We Are King and Jacob Collier both appear on ‘Human Heart’ and K-Pop heroes BTS add vocals to ‘My Universe’.
What does it sound like?
Much as you’d expect, really. Coldplay have been filling stadiums for what seems like forever now and their last few albums have been packed with the kind of anthems that are tailor-made for huge crowds.
‘Higher Power’ is one of the album’s immediate standouts and typifies the slick production towering hooks that have become the band’s trademark in recent years, only with the input of Max Martin that’s taken to new levels on Music of the Spheres. It’s a similar story elsewhere too, especially with the BTS collaboration 'My Universe' and other big, uptempo numers like ''Humankind', although the album does have its surprises - not least the vocals on one of the 'Biutyful', one of the albums slower, more dreamy moments.
Does it deliver?
In some ways its almost as if the album's high-minded concept has prompted a move into even more mainstream pop territory than Coldplay have already been occupying in recent years. That's not a bad thing if you've been enjoying their more recent albums, but this seems to mark a bigger shift than before and for some fans that might feel like a step too far into pop-land.
Whether they'll continue in that vein remains to be seen, but Music of the Spheres is about as far as it's possible to get from the guitar-led sound of their debut Parachutes and if their recent trajectory is anything to go by, there'll be a lot more pop to come from Coldplay yet.
Music of the Spheres in available in hmv stores from Friday October 15 - you can also find it here in our online store.