Attempts to evoke the sounds of space are as numerous as its mysteries, and the release of “Music of the Spheres” by Coldplay on October 15 places the British rock group among the stars. Their ninth studio album embarks on a skyrocketing exploration of the universe’s potential as a source of unlimited hope – and even love.
“When you put something somewhere else, you have the freedom to say how you really feel,” Coldplay frontman Chris Martin told Zane Lowe in an interview with Apple Music. “So there is a lot of love in there.”
And there is a lot to love about “Music of the Spheres”. The album’s impressive production coats the band’s classic guitar riffs in a futuristic shimmer. For all their heavenly hints, heartfelt lyrics never succumb to the cold of deep space – and Martin knows exactly when to sing them with arena-worthy grandeur or in his falsetto signature. These elements complement each other on each track as if they were in mutual orbit, welcoming listeners into the Coldplay cosmos.
The titular opening of the album marks the first of four instrumental pieces, each intensifying from the previous one. Across these tracks, nebulous synth chirps crystallize in patterns while maintaining an expansive resonance, like a distant object gradually coming into focus through a telescope.
Then comes the first single “Higher Power”, whose title reflects Martin’s unwavering respect for such an idea. Instead of trying to rationalize his overwhelming feelings, he happily concedes “you have higher power / make me sing every second, dance every hour.” Her sweetest declaration of love, however, operates on a scale nowhere near as high – and its simplicity only reinforces the impact of her arrival at the end of the second verse. “I’m so happy to be alive / Happy to be alive at the same time as you,” Martin sings on a note. The band achieves a similar confluence of lyrics and melody in the exuberant outro by setting the phrase “I was on my knees” on a descending scale that swings upwards just in time for a more upbeat ending: “Til your love. song floats me.
On “Let Somebody Go”, Selena Gomez joins Martin for a bittersweet duo that can’t help but draw comparisons to “The Scientist”, Coldplay’s quintessential ballad. Both songs seek to explain the irrationality of the way relationships form and dissolve, but the odd veneer of “Let Somebody Go” keeps it from reaching for the heartbreaking pathos of its predecessor. This artifice of perfection is revealed through crispy, almost brittle synths, and thoughts that are carefully wrapped in clichés. “When I called the mathematicians and asked them to explain me”, he begins, to end the rhyme with “They said that love is equal only to pain”, as if such succinct and absolute answers were never more than a phone call. a way. Despite the similar subject matter of the songs, the numbers do not offer such consolation in “The Scientist”, where Martin admits that “Questions of science, science and progress / Don’t speak as loud as my heart” on an out of tune piano. Sometimes, however, “Let Somebody Go” harnesses its own familiarity with devastating effect, such as when Martin’s heart-wrenching call to “turn off all the stars” echoes a line from WH Auden’s “Funeral Blues”: “The Stars are not wanted now; turn off everyone.
The stars align and shine the brightest on “My Universe,” a collaboration with BTS. “You are my world / and I just want to put you first,” Martin begins with enough flair to match the breadth of his words, ending the sentence on the sharp twist of a minor third. The jubilant synth-pop anthem, featuring songwriting credits from BTS rappers J-Hope, RM and Suga, celebrates the kind of love that can withstand any hardship to transcend boundaries as beautifully as BTS and Coldplay themselves. In just under four minutes, the two groups unearth a joy that somehow seems “never to end forever,” as Jungkook and Martin wrap up the first pre-chorus.
“Coloratura”, the album’s ten-minute finale, takes listeners on a final interstellar adventure. At first, the music box piano patterns and slow melody of the song seem to lack the virtuosity of his eponymous opera style. But after the second chorus of “And in this crazy world, I do / I just want you”, the cascade of a harp solo introduces a vast instrumental bridge which takes the piece to new heights. A quintuple-meter section suddenly emerges from scattered notes of glockenspiel, creating momentum for an epic coda backed by fast guitars and strings.
While the ancient Greek philosophical concept of “music of the spheres” refers to the inaudible movements of celestial bodies, Coldplay’s latest work gives the phrase tangible form with universal appeal.
– Editor-in-Chief Clara V. Nguyen can be contacted at [email protected]