A Head Full of Dreams

A Head Full of Dreams is the seventh studio album by the British rock band Coldplay. It was released on 4 December 2015, by Parlophone in the United Kingdom, and by Atlantic Records in the United States.[8] Coldplay recorded the album from early to mid 2015, right after the completion of their previous album Ghost Stories, with a markedly different style and sound from its predecessors. For various songs, Coldplay collaborated with Beyoncé, Noel Gallagher, Tove Lo, Khatia Buniatishvili and Merry Clayton. The album was produced by Rik Simpson and Stargate.[8][9] The album also features a sample of President Barack Obama singing "Amazing Grace" at Clementa C. Pinckney's funeral on the song "Kaleidoscope".[10]

A Head Full of Dreams
Coldplay - A Head Full of Dreams.png
Studio album by
Released4 December 2015 (2015-12-04)
RecordedFebruary–August 2015
Studio
Genre
Length45:45
Label
Producer
Coldplay chronology
Ghost Stories Live 2014
(2014)
A Head Full of Dreams
(2015)
Live from Spotify London
(2016)
Singles from A Head Full of Dreams
  1. "Adventure of a Lifetime"
    Released: 6 November 2015
  2. "Hymn for the Weekend"
    Released: 25 January 2016
  3. "Up & Up"
    Released: 22 April 2016
  4. "Everglow"
    Released: 11 November 2016

The album received generally mixed reviews from critics. Nevertheless, it was a commercial success as it topped the UK Albums Chart, and peaked at number two in the United States, Australia, Canada, and Italy, where it was held off the top spot by Adele's 25.[11][12] At the 2016 Brit Awards the album was nominated for British Album of the Year. It was the eighth-best-selling album of 2015 with 1.9 million copies sold worldwide, according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry.[13] It was the ninth-best-selling album of 2016, with 1.4 million copies sold worldwide, according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry.[14] As of November 2017, the album has sold over 6 million copies worldwide.[15] It was supported by five singles: "Adventure of a Lifetime", "Hymn for the Weekend", "Up&Up", the title track, and "Everglow". A 5.1 Surround Blu-ray Audio version of the album was released via the band's website on 23 September 2016.[16]

The album was promoted by the successful A Head Full of Dreams Tour, that lasted nearly two years. The following year after the tour's conclusion, the band released Live in Buenos Aires, which was recorded on the final two nights of the tour in La Plata, Buenos Aires.[17] A concert film and a documentary were also included in a deluxe edition of the CD.[18] A second live album entitled Love In Tokyo was also released as a Japanese exclusive album which featured recordings from multiple legs of the tour.[19]

BackgroundEdit

Coldplay began working on A Head Full of Dreams in late 2014 after promoting their sixth album Ghost Stories. The album has a markedly different style and sound from its predecessors. In an interview with Radio 2 DJ Jo Whiley in December 2014, guitarist Jonny Buckland and bass guitarist Guy Berryman gave a hint as to the difference between A Head Full of Dreams and its predecessor – Buckland called it the "night to the day", comparing the style of Ghost Stories to the expected uplifting theme of A Head Full of Dreams. Lead singer Chris Martin hinted at the style of the album by saying that the band was trying to make something colourful and uplifting. He also stated that it would be something to "shuffle your feet" to.

On 26 September 2015, the band performed at the Global Citizen Festival 2015 in New York City, playing a six-song set, including a new song called "Amazing Day".[20] The band's producer Rik Simpson confirmed that the song would be on the new album. On 21 November 2016 frontman Chris Martin announced new material to be released for 2017 via Twitter, it would be named Kaleidoscope EP.[21]

The album was produced by Rik Simpson (the band's longterm collaborator) and Norwegian duo Stargate (Tor Hermansen and Mikkel Eriksen). Mixing duties were carried out predominately by Rik Simpson. Stargate executive produced the album.

PromotionEdit

TourEdit

 
Promotional outdoor for A Head Full of Dreams Tour, in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Compared to the sparse tour dates of the Ghost Stories era, Coldplay announced a larger global tour soon after the album release, which will be more reminiscent of the Mylo Xyloto Tour than the Ghost Stories Tour, to promote both A Head Full of Dreams and Ghost Stories. It was confirmed that the band will perform in locations such as India and South America[22] – more specifically Argentina, Peru, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Mexico in the first half of 2016.[23] They have since confirmed that pre-production on the tour has started and that the official tour is planned to start next year.[22] On 20 November 2015, they announced the A Head Full of Dreams Tour, with shows in South America starting at 31 March 2016, Buenos Aires and a European leg is also announced for summer 2016, including four sold-out nights at Wembley Stadium in June. In February, the band featured a picture on various social media sites of a hot air balloon (a symbol used to promote the tour) by Glastonbury farms' main pyramid stage field, along with the date Sunday 26 June. Glastonbury organisers have since confirmed a record-breaking fourth headline appearance, having previously performed on the stage in 2000, 2002, 2005 and 2011. The band's appearance was then confirmed to be Coldplay's festival show of this year's tour. On 30 September 2016, after the huge success of 2016's A Head Full of Dreams Tour, Coldplay announced a new leg of the tour with dates in Germany, France, Austria, Poland, Belgium, Sweden, Italy, Ireland and Wales. On 7 October 2016, the band announced eighteen more shows in North America beginning in Aug 2017 and finishing in October. On 15 November 2016, they announced shows in Asia for April 2017, visiting Singapore, Philippines, Thailand, Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan.[24]

Poster and artworkEdit

Around 30 October 2015 anonymous posters were pinned up on the London Underground showing a geometric pattern, known as the Flower of Life, along with a note "December 4".[25][26][27][28] Coldplay fans claimed that the symbol resembled the design on a T-shirt worn by Coldplay frontman Chris Martin at the Global Citizen Festival in New York. On 2 November, Coldplay posted the same piece of artwork as an animated GIF on their Twitter account, seemingly confirming that it would be the album cover and 4 December was the album's release date.[27] One day later, they published another animated image of which the former was a detailed view. The artwork was created by Argentine artist Pilar Zeta in collaboration with the band. Oli Sykes, lead singer of British post-hardcore band Bring Me the Horizon, suggested that the flower of life symbol Coldplay used was similar to that of the design of Bring Me the Horizon's 2013 album Sempiternal. Sykes took to Twitter accusing Coldplay of "jackin our steez". He did however clarify in a NME interview that the "flower of life" is a universal symbol and has meanings across the world, none of which he owns the rights to. He also specifies that it had meaning to him and that he is simply acknowledging the symbol being spread and is happy for its doing so.[citation needed]

Live performancesEdit

At the Global Citizen Festival in New York Coldplay performed six songs, ending with the live debut of a new song, Amazing Day. They also played Amazing Day at TFI Friday, where they played four songs including the live debut of "Adventure of a Lifetime". During their concert at the Belasco Theater in Los Angeles they performed four songs from the new album, including the live debut of the songs A Head Full of Dreams and Up&Up. On 24 November Coldplay started releasing 10-15 second snippets of each song from the new album via Instagram at hourly intervals.[29] On 7 February 2016, the band headlined the Super Bowl 50 halftime show.

SinglesEdit

The first single to promote the album, "Adventure of a Lifetime", was released on 6 November 2015, the music video came out on 29 November 2015.[8][30] "Hymn for the Weekend" was released as the second single for the album on 25 January 2016[31] and the band was criticised by a section of the social media for the stereotypical portrayal of Indian society in its music video.[32] The third official single "Up&Up", was released on 22 April 2016.[33] A newly recorded, stripped-down version of "Everglow" – inspired by Martin's unrehearsed solo performance of the song due to a technical mishap at Glastonbury Festival – was released on digital outlets as the fourth and final single on 11 November 2016.[34][35][36][37]

Promotional singlesEdit

The original version of "Everglow" premiered during Zane Lowe's Beats 1 radio show on 26 November 2015 and was released as a promotional single in the next day.[38][39] "Birds" was released on 3 January 2016 and a music video came out on the same day.[40][41] "A Head Full of Dreams" arrived on 19 August 2016 and also had an accompanying music video, serving as promotional effort for contemporary hit radio in United Kingdom and Italy.[42][43]

Critical receptionEdit

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
AnyDecentMusic?5.5/10[44]
Metacritic60/100[45]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic     [46]
Chicago Tribune    [47]
The Daily Telegraph     [48]
The Guardian     [49]
The Independent     [50]
NME4/5[51]
Pitchfork4.8/10[52]
Q     [53]
Rolling Stone     [54]
Spin6/10[55]

A Head Full of Dreams received generally mixed reviews from critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating from mainstream critics' reviews, the album has a score of 60 out of 100 based on 27 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[45] Jon Dolan of Rolling Stone wrote that A Head Full of Dreams "might be Coldplay's brightest album ever" and concluded: "He's [Chris Martin] hinted that this could be Coldplay's last album; if so, they're going out on a sustained note of grace."[54] Barry Nicolson of NME called it "the most satisfying collection of songs they've written in years".[51]

Alexis Petridis of The Guardian felt that A Head Full of Dreams "is frustratingly blighted by the sense that Coldplay haven't fully committed to the album's big idea" and remarked: "It's a moot point whether that's a sign of innate conservatism or of a band that know exactly what they are doing, who understand that you won't keep packing out those Midwestern sports stadiums if you frighten the horses."[49] Citing the band's unwillingness to stray from their tried and true formula, Ian Gormely of Exclaim! wrote that "A Head Full of Dreams might have been a poptimist masterpiece. Instead, it's just another Coldplay album, with all the baggage — both positive and negative — that entails."[56]

Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic gave the album 3.5/5 stars and acknowledged that "[the] message [that there's a big, bright, beautiful world just waiting to be discovered if you just open your heart and live a little] is unabashedly corny", but ultimately concluded that "under the stewardship of Chris Martin, Coldplay cheerfully embrace the cheese, ratcheting up both the sparkle and the sentiment so the album feels genuine in its embrace of eternal middle-aged clichés."[46]

In a 1/5 star review in Truck & Driver's regular music reviews Shaun Connors queried "why such boring wishy-washy material has been successful," commenting the reasoning for this defeats all rational explanation. He continued: "With this latest collection of tedium there are contributions from Beyoncé (a so-so vocalist) and Noel Gallagher (a not even so-so guitarist)," to conclude with: "On the basis of this album, they've either run out of ideas or bored themselves senseless (or both)..."[57] Under the Radar's Scott Dransfield panned the album as "insufferably bland at best and downright offensive at worst" and awarded it 2/10 stars.[58]

Year-end listsEdit

Publisher List Result Ref.
Entertainment Weekly The 40 Best Albums of 2015 29 [59]
NME Albums of the Year 2015 35 [60]
People Best Albums of 2015 9 [61]
TIDAL Albums of the Year 2015 Placed [62]
Variance 24 [63]

Awards and nominationsEdit

Award Year Category Result Ref.
BBC Music Awards 2016 Album of the Year Nominated [64]
Billboard Music Awards Top Rock Album Nominated [65]
Brit Awards British Album of the Year Nominated [66]
Hungarian Music Awards Alternative Music Album of the Year Nominated [67]
Juno Awards 2017 International Album of the Year Won [68]
Los40 Music Awards 2016 Nominated [69]
Official Number 1 Award 2015 Official Number 1 Digital Album Won [70]
Official Number 1 Vinyl Album Won [71]
2016 Official Number 1 Album Award Won [72]
Q Awards Best Album Nominated [73]
Swiss Music Awards 2017 Best International Album Won [74]
TEC Awards Record Production / Album Nominated [75]
Žebřík Music Awards 2015 Best Foreign Album Nominated [76]

Commercial performanceEdit

A Head Full of Dreams debuted at number three on the Irish Albums Chart on 11 December 2015, the band's lowest charting album in Ireland and their first to miss the top spot since Parachutes in 2000.[77] The same day, the album debuted at number two on the UK Albums Chart on sales of 235,975,[78] behind Adele's 25, which denied Coldplay a seventh consecutive number-one album.[79] It was, however, their highest first-week album sales since 2008's Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends, which sold 302,074 copies in its first week.[78] Had A Head Full of Dreams debuted atop the UK Albums Chart, it would have made Coldplay only the second band in the UK chart history (after Oasis) to do so with their first seven albums.[78] The album did, however, manage to top both the UK Album Downloads Chart and the Official Vinyl Albums Chart.[80]

The album also reached number two in Australia,[81] Canada, the Netherlands, and Italy, held off number one by Adele's 25 in all territories. In the Netherlands, however, the album eventually managed to reach the number one position in its 30th week on the charts, the week following Coldplay's two concerts in Amsterdam. Following their tour stint in Ireland, the album reached a new peak at number two in its 84th charting week.[82]

In the United States, A Head Full of Dreams debuted at number two on the Billboard 200, with 210,000 equivalent album units, behind Adele's 25.[83] It was the second-best-selling album of the week, selling 195,000 copies in its first week,[83] which is a drop from the 383,000 copies sold in the first week by Ghost Stories. In its second week, the album fell to number seven on the Billboard 200, selling 61,000 copies.[84] On the chart dated 27 February 2016, the album returned to the top 10 of the US Billboard 200, peaking at number four, selling 90,000 units (71,000 in pure album sales).[85] On 4 March 2016, the album was certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for combined album sales, streaming-equivalent and track-equivalent of half-million units.[86] Later, it has been certified Platinum by the RIAA as Ghost Stories was, despite its lower first week sales. Additionally, it outsold Ghost Stories in the UK, with sales reaching one million mark. The only country where A Head Full of Dreams managed to debut at number one was Norway, replacing 25. This enabled Coldplay to achieve there what Adele prevented them from doing in other territories; all of their studio albums reaching the top spot.[87]

On 12 February 2016, following the positive reception and exposure from Coldplay's headlining set at the Super Bowl 50 halftime show, the album rose to number one in the UK after selling 30,146 copies that week. This secured them a seventh number one album in the UK, thus putting them second in the list of acts with the most UK number one albums in the 21st century; only Robbie Williams has more, with 10.[88] The album sold over 6 million copies worldwide as of November 2017.[15]

Singles "Adventure of a Lifetime" and "Hymn for the Weekend" charting respectively at number 95 and number 75 on the Billboard Hot 100 Year-End chart for 2016, making A Head Full of Dreams their first album to have more than one single charting on a Billboard Hot 100 Year-End chart.[citation needed]

Track listingEdit

All tracks are written by Guy Berryman, Jonny Buckland, Will Champion and Chris Martin; composed by Coldplay and Stargate.

A Head Full of Dreams
No.TitleProducer(s)Length
1."A Head Full of Dreams"
3:43
2."Birds"
  • Simpson
  • Stargate
3:49
3."Hymn for the Weekend"
4:18
4."Everglow"
  • Simpson
  • Stargate
4:42
5."Adventure of a Lifetime"
  • Simpson
  • Stargate
4:23
6."Fun" (featuring Tove Lo)
  • Simpson
  • Stargate
4:27
7."Kaleidoscope"
  • Simpson
  • Stargate
1:51
8."Army of One"
  • "Army of One"
  • "X Marks the Spot"
  • Simpson
  • Stargate
  • Daniel Green
6:16
3:23
2:53
9."Amazing Day"
  • Simpson
  • Stargate
4:31
10."Colour Spectrum" (stylised as " ")Green1:00
11."Up & Up" (stylised as "Up&Up")
  • Simpson
  • Stargate
6:45
Total length:45:45
A Head Full of Dreams – Japanese edition (bonus track)[89]
No.TitleProducer(s)Length
12."Miracles" (bonus track)
  • Stargate
  • Green
  • Simpson
3:55
Total length:49:40

Notes

  • ^[a] Digital Divide is a New York City based production trio consisting of Venor Yard, Marcos Tovar and Scott Zant.
  • "Kaleidoscope" and "Colour Spectrum" contain elements of the poem "The Guesthouse" written by Jallaludin "Molana" Rumi and read by Coleman Barks. "Kaleidoscope" also contains elements of "Amazing Grace" (written by John Newton and performed by Barack Obama).
  • A 'Tour Edition' was released in Japan[90] and Oceania[91] during the accompanying tour which featured a second disc which contained remixes and unreleased live recordings originally intended for Ghost Stories Live 2014 with the location of the recording variying according to the release region.

PersonnelEdit

Credits are adapted from A Head Full of Dreams liner notes.[92]

Additional musicians[8]

Design and managerial

  • Pilar Zeta, Coldplay – design, art direction
  • Phil Harvey – photography
  • Ultramajic – photography
  • Dave Holmes – management
  • Mandi Bursteen – co-management
  • Arlene Moon – co-management

Choir

  • Nico Berryman
  • Jonah Buckland
  • Violet Buckland
  • Blue Ivy Carter
  • Ava Champion
  • Juno Champion
  • Marianna Champion
  • Rex Champion
  • Aubrey Costall
  • Harvey Costall
  • James Duncan
  • Brian Eno
  • Elise Eriksen
  • Hege Fossum Eriksen
  • Selma Eriksen
  • Jacob Green
  • Sophia Green
  • Daniel Grollo
  • Finn Grollo
  • Kat Grollo
  • Mathilda Grollo
  • Max Harvey
  • Rofi Harvey
  • Idil Hermansen
  • Isak Hermansen
  • Apple Martin
  • Moses Martin

Production

  • Stargate – production
  • Rik Simpson – production, mixing (track 1–4, 6, 7, 9–11)
  • Phil Tan – mixing (track 5 and 8)
  • Daniel Green – production, mixing (track 8 and 10), additional engineering
  • Digital Divide – additional production (track 3)
  • Emily Lazar – mastering
  • Merlin Watts – mastering
  • Bill Rahko – engineering
  • Miles Walker – engineering
  • Daniela Rivera – engineering
  • Tom Bailey – additional engineering
  • Robin Baynton – additional engineering
  • Jaime Sickora – additional engineering
  • Aleks von Korff – additional engineering
  • Laurence Anslow – additional studio assistance
  • Fiona Cruickshank – additional studio assistance
  • Nicolas Essig – additional studio assistance
  • Olga Fitzroy – additional studio assistance
  • Jeff Gartenbaum – additional studio assistance
  • Christian Green – additional studio assistance
  • Pablo Hernandez – additional studio assistance
  • Phil Joly – additional studio assistance
  • Miguel Lara – additional studio assistance
  • Matt McGinn – additional studio assistance
  • Chris Owens – additional studio assistance
  • Roxy Pope – additional studio assistance
  • John Prestage – additional studio assistance
  • Kyle Stevens – additional studio assistance
  • Derrick Stockwell – additional studio assistance
  • Matt Tuggle – additional studio assistance
  • Ryan Walsh – additional studio assistance
  • Joachim Berose – additional studio assistance
  • Will Wetzel – additional studio assistance

ChartsEdit

CertificationsEdit

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Argentina (CAPIF)[197] Gold 20,000^
Australia (ARIA)[198] Platinum 70,000^
Austria (IFPI Austria)[199] Gold 7,500*
Belgium (BEA)[200] Platinum 30,000*
Brazil (Pro-Música Brasil)[201] Diamond 160,000*
Canada (Music Canada)[202] 2× Platinum 160,000 
Denmark (IFPI Danmark)[203] 2× Platinum 40,000 
France (SNEP)[204] 3× Platinum 300,000 
Germany (BVMI)[205] 3× Gold 300,000 
Hungary (MAHASZ)[206] 2× Platinum 4,000^
Italy (FIMI)[207] 4× Platinum 200,000*
Mexico (AMPROFON)[208] Platinum+Gold 90,000^
Netherlands (NVPI)[209] 2× Platinum 80,000 
New Zealand (RMNZ)[210] Platinum 15,000^
Poland (ZPAV)[211] 3× Platinum 60,000 
Portugal (AFP)[212] Platinum 15,000^
Singapore (RIAS)[213] Platinum 10,000*
South Korea 9,712[214][215][216][217]
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[218] Platinum 40,000 
Sweden (GLF)[219] Gold 20,000 
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[220] Platinum 20,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[222] 4× Platinum 1,375,805[221]
United States (RIAA)[223] Platinum 1,000,000 

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.
  Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

Release historyEdit

Region Date Format Label Catalog no.
Worldwide 4 December 2015 Parlophone 0825646982646
LP 0825646982158

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External linksEdit