Music Editor Thom Dent tells us why Sampa the Great lives up to her name and we should be keeping an eye out for her impending conquest of hip-hopWritten by Thom Dent on 20th November 2017
Single Review: Coldplay – All I Can Think About Is You
Andrew Pollard reviews a new Coldplay single that encapsulates sounds from across their career.
Critically speaking, the last few years haven't been all that kind to Coldplay. Ghost Stories and A Head Full of Dreams each had strong moments, but both records were continually marred by mediocrity, and for fans it’s getting increasingly difficult to defend the group against the volleys of mockery that musical patricians have been firing their way for all of eighteen years. Recent singles in anticipation of their upcoming Kaleidoscope EP have done nothing to improve the situation, either. Chainsmokers collaboration 'Something Just Like This' came across like effortless EDM filler and 'Hypnotised', while decently pretty, was similarly unemotive and middle-of-the-road, so to now see the band come through with their most cohesive and thunderous track since 2011 is as giddying as it is confusing.
“'All I Can Think About Is You' feels like a celebration of their distinct sound and musical past rather than a lazy rehash
Before lavishing too much praise on 'All I Can Think About Is You', I should first admit that my history with music is inseparably tied to Coldplay, and I adore almost all of their work before Ghost Stories. You can look at this review, then, as an attempt to recognise and counter my own biases, and, to this end, one cannot deny that 'All I Can Think About Is You' is flawed in places. An heavy reliance on reverberated vocals, synths et al muddies the track's second phase; a herald of the band's inability to learn from past mistakes; 'overproduction' being perhaps the most common criticism of their output this decade. The same can be said of Martin's lyricism, which, between flashes of brilliance, has always been fairly ridiculous; conjuring here an especially awkward and overwrought description of loneliness: 'If all that I’m on earth to do is solo / Then what a lone poor shoe / I want to walk in a two'. It's not quite 'You make my heart ba-boom / Ba-boom boom' but it's close.
That said, the typicality of these issues, while sigh-worthy, is, in some crude way, fitting on 'All I Can Think About Is You'. The song reads instrumentally like a summation of Coldplay's entire career thus far, hiccoughs and all, and it's this surprisingly effective blend of old, dulcet sounds and flashy, stadium rock and pop that makes the track a marked success. Beginning with an incongruously humble count-in most commonly found on track demos from the band's extremely early days, the song's first passage is dominated by a thick bassline that screams Parachutes. There are no acoustic chords in sight, though, the remaining instrumentation comprised of swirling piano reminiscent of Viva La Vida's more delicate moments, and light electric guitar that could easily fit on Head Full of Dreams or Mylo Xyloto. Equally Mylo-esque is the bright, world-conqueringly optimistic eruption of sound that follows, matched by rolling piano arpeggios again reflective of previous singles like 'Clocks' or 'Atlas'.
With so many competing ideas there was immense room for this song to become a cluttered mess, but it all comes together quite elegantly, and the resultant track is fiery and stirring and just a treat to listen to. The confidence with which Coldplay combine these elements does, however, undoubtedly come from familiarity. There's definitely an argument to be made that 'All I Can Think About Is You' really displays nothing the band haven't done before, particularly as some musical elements sound cherry-picked from specific tracks from their now extensive discography. It's hardly uninventive, though, and, at least for me, 'All I Can Think About Is You' feels like a celebration of their distinct sound and musical past rather than a lazy rehash. While earlier tracks from this year saw the band struggling for an identity in the modern pop market, this is a song only Coldplay could have written.
'All I Can Think About Is You' is available to stream online now. Kaleidoscope (EP) is released July 14th on Parlophone.