Our Take: 2/5 Stars
On Oct. 15, British rock band Coldplay released their much-anticipated ninth studio album, “Music of the Spheres” which is already topping charts in the U.K as the fastest selling album in 2021 so far.
Inspired by the “Star Wars” franchise, lead vocalist Chris Martin used the concept to explore how music would sound across the universe. A space-themed record has been in the works since 2010, when Martin wanted to build a solar system, according to “Roadie #42,” an anonymous crew member of Coldplay.
The rollout for the album followed standard procedures, with two main singles and one promotional single released beforehand. The band also used billboards in Berlin, London, New York and Tokyo to garner interest.
Since “Music of the Spheres” is produced by Max Martin, who has designed pop music for the last few years, each individual part of the sum is adequate. However, the tracklist does not jive with the ambiance set by the short songs.
Unfortunately, this 12 track album does not feel like 11 years in the making. The lack of organization and an interesting sound makes the 42-minute album feel like a lifetime. By hiding under the veil that this music was based on extraterrestrial themes, Coldplay gets away with underproducing some tracks, completely pitching up certain songs using and incorrect transitions. By not committing to their space rock sound, the album seems to fall flat since their compositional mistakes are more prevalent.
There are several interludes which provide the transition between tracks. “Music of the Spheres I,” “Alien Choir” and “Music of the Spheres II” are brief interludes that are short, underproduced and lacking in any emotion. By not maximizing the futuristic, space themed goals that Martin advertised, the transitions missed out on the opportunities to create a more cohesive album.
“Music of the Spheres” lacks the critical acclaim now expected of Coldplay, but it still presents several songs with large collaborations tailor-made for the radio. “Let Somebody Go” with Selena Gomez and “My Universe” with BTS are both notable songs on the album. “Let Somebody Go” is lacking in vocal chemistry between Gomez and Martin but still manages to present a successful mellow pop ballad.
“My Universe” incorporates verses and raps in Korean and has been a smashing success for two of the biggest bands in the world with its catchy melody and lyrics about finding love across the galaxy. The song topped the Billboard Hot 100 the week it came out and is instantly iconic for Coldplay and BTS fans everywhere.
The poor organization of the tracklist is definitely worth mentioning, and the sound lacks cohesion. Bouncing from synth-pop to space rock to rock, Coldplay seems to care more for growth over performance, focusing on how to advertise to new audiences over pleasing their typical rock audience.
The most unique feature of the album is the 10-minute closing track, “Coloratura.” It is definitely a statement piece with orchestral undertones and lyrics that reference constellations and Latin phrases. Drawing clear inspiration from Pink Floyd’s “Brain Damage” and “Dark Side of the Moon,” “Coloratura” provides an appealing track that ends the album on a high note.
In the end, “Music of the Spheres” is full of several appealing songs but it lacks organization and only loosely hangs onto the theme of space.