Open main menu

"A Head Full of Dreams" is a song by British rock band Coldplay. It is the first track and the fourth single from their album of the same name (2015).

"A Head Full of Dreams"
Coldplay-cover-A Head.jpg
Single by Coldplay
from the album A Head Full of Dreams
Released19 August 2016
  • 3:43 (album version)
  • 3:29 (radio edit)
Coldplay singles chronology
"Up & Up"
"A Head Full of Dreams"



The song was recorded by the band during sessions for their seventh studio album in 2014, at their purpose-built studios The Bakery and The Beehive in North London, England, both originally constructed for work on their three previous studio albums.[citation needed]

The song "fades in with distantly chiming bells, a synthetic dance pulse, a drum set shuffling complicatedly, and a guitar repeatedly drawing a high, short melody".[2]

Critical receptionEdit

The song drew comparisons to the work of U2 (pictured in 2015).

The Atlantic's Spencer Kornhaber called the song's arrangement "cool" and "unusual". Furthermore, he said that the bells, dance pulse, drums, and guitar parts "[drop] out for a bit before the two-minute mark, and you retroactively realized you just experienced the chorus, when Martin sang the title of the song twice to the tune of that guitar line you'd heard earlier. The second verse doesn't end in a chorus, but rather launches into an Arcade Fire-style 'ohh-ohhhh” refrain.'"[2] Janine Schaults of Consequence of Sound said the song "opens with chimes signaling entry into a magical land — like opening the door to Willy Wonka’s gluttonous factory. But, the song wastes no time getting to its generic 'oh oh oh-a-oh' chorus, the kind of thing that a glowing sea of wailers will shout up to the rafters of the stadiums the band visits on tour next year. A bit lazy, one could argue, but as Martin told the Wall Street Journal, he doesn’t want 'anything to get in the way of the mood of the music … you can't translate the melody into words.'"[3]

Adam Silverstein of Digital Spy wrote, "Before Martin's split from Gwyneth and the emotional Ghost Stories that followed, Coldplay were on their way to a poppier place with 2011's Mylo Xyloto. 'A Head Full of Dreams' gladly re-conjures those bright and shiny colours again, while also spinning a guitar line that could have fallen off U2's Joshua Tree. It's the first sign that Martin is ready to move on, joyfully hatching a world where dreams come to life. Welcome back, Chris - we missed you."[4] The Guardian's Alexis Petridis said, "The title track adds some pep to the tried-and-tested Coldplay formula – echoing guitars, bombastic piano, massed, stadium-rousing woah-oh vocals – by tying it to a disco pulse".[5] Pitchfork Media's Stuart Berman wrote, "The title track eases us into the album on a glistening groove but halts its momentum for a now-obligatory 'woah oh oh oh' breakdown that sounds like it was focus-grouped into the song."[6] Jon Dolan of Rolling Stone said the song "sounds like U2 and New Order on a joint humanitarian mission".[7] Spin's Andrew Unterberger also drew comparison to the work of U2.[8] Tom Breihan of Stereogum said "A Head Full of Dreams" and "Adventure of a Lifetime" "just decorate the kickdrums with spangled pseudo-Afropop guitars and whoa-oh-ohhhh chants".[9] Stereoboard's Graeme Marsh said the album's two opening songs were among its "strongest", with "A Head Full of Dreams" sounding "a little bit latter-day U2".[10]

Music videoEdit

A music video for the song was released on 19 August 2016. It was directed by James Marcus Haney and was filmed in Mexico City in April 2016 when the band performed there for their tour. The video shows the band biking around the streets of Mexico City and them performing the song at the Foro Sol.[11] The beginning of the video also features a voice-over of Charlie Chaplin's speech from the 1940 film The Great Dictator.[12]

Live performancesEdit

The song was performed on The Late Late Show with James Corden, along with "Adventure of a Lifetime", on 12 November 2015.[13][14][15] It was also performed at the X Factor Italy in Milan.[citation needed]. The song was the opening song for their A Head Full of Dreams Tour.

Track listingEdit

Digital download
1."A Head Full of Dreams"3:43
Digital download (Radio Edit)
1."A Head Full of Dreams" (Radio Edit)3:29

Credits and personnelEdit

Credits are adapted from A Head Full of Dreams liner notes.[16]


Additional musicians


Chart (2015–17) Peak
Belgium (Ultratip Flanders)[17] 2
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Wallonia)[18] 14
France (SNEP)[19] 156
Iceland (RÚV)[20] 2
Italy (FIMI)[21] 58
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[22] 60
Slovakia (Rádio Top 100)[23] 32
Slovenia (SloTop50)[24] 45
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[25] 45
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[26] 173
US Hot Rock Songs (Billboard)[27] 26


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Italy (FIMI)[28] Platinum 50,000 
United Kingdom (BPI)[29] Silver 200,000 

 sales+streaming figures based on certification alone

Release historyEdit

Region Date Format Version Label Ref.
Worldwide 19 August 2016 Digital download Radio Edit Parlophone [11][12]
United Kingdom 31 August 2016 Contemporary hit radio Original [30]
Italy 7 October 2016 Warner [31]


  1. ^ Petridis, Alexis (December 3, 2015). "Coldplay: A Head Full of Dreams review – a failure to commit to pop". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved August 22, 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Review: Coldplay's 'A Head Full of Dreams' Is a Whole New Kind of Boring". The Atlantic. Retrieved January 31, 2016.
  3. ^ Flynn, Katherine (December 4, 2015). "Coldplay – A Head Full of Dreams | Album Reviews". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved January 31, 2016.
  4. ^ Harp, Justin (December 3, 2015). "Coldplay's new album A Head Full of Dreams: Our track-by-track review". Retrieved January 31, 2016.
  5. ^ Alexis Petridis. "Coldplay: A Head Full of Dreams review – a failure to commit to pop". The Guardian. Retrieved January 31, 2016.
  6. ^ Berman, Stuart (December 4, 2015). "Coldplay: A Head Full of Dreams". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved February 1, 2016.
  7. ^ Dolan, Jon (December 4, 2015). "Coldplay A Head Full of Dreams Album Review". Rolling Stone. Retrieved January 31, 2016.
  8. ^ SPIN. "Review: Coldplay, 'A Head Full of Dreams'". SPIN. Retrieved January 31, 2016.
  9. ^ "Premature Evaluation: Coldplay A Head Full Of Dreams". Stereogum. December 4, 2015. Retrieved January 31, 2016.
  10. ^ "Coldplay - A Head Full Of Dreams (Album Review)". Stereoboard. December 10, 2015. Retrieved January 31, 2016.
  11. ^ a b Kreps, Daniel (August 19, 2016). "See Coldplay Bike Around Mexico City in 'A Head Full of Dreams' Video". Rolling Stone. Retrieved November 20, 2016.
  12. ^ a b Bruner, Raisa (August 19, 2016). "Let Coldplay Take You on a Tour of Mexico City in New "A Head Full of Dreams" Music Video". Time. Retrieved November 20, 2016.
  13. ^ Kreps, Daniel (December 8, 2015). "Watch Coldplay Jam With James Corden for 'Head Full of Dreams'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved January 31, 2016.
  14. ^ Geslani, Michelle (December 8, 2015). "Coldplay leave the Late Late Show with A Head Full of Dreams — watc". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved January 31, 2016.
  15. ^ "Coldplay: A Head Full of Dreams". YouTube. December 8, 2015. Retrieved January 31, 2016.
  16. ^ A Head Full of Dream (booklet). Coldplay. Parlophone. 2015. 1053933969.CS1 maint: others (link)
  17. ^ " – Coldplay – A Head Full of Dreams" (in Dutch). Ultratip. Retrieved 15 October 2016.
  18. ^ " – Coldplay – A Head Full of Dreams" (in French). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 26 November 2016.
  19. ^ " – Coldplay – A Head Full of Dreams" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved 9 January 2016.
  20. ^ "Coldplay Chart History". RÚV. Retrieved June 19, 2017.
  21. ^ "Top Digital - Classifica settimanale WK 50 (dal 2015-12-11 al 2015-12-17)" (in Italian). Federation of the Italian Music Industry. Archived from the original on November 21, 2016. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
  22. ^ " – Coldplay – A Head Full of Dreams" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 19 December 2015.
  23. ^ "ČNS IFPI" (in Slovak). Hitparáda – Radio Top 100 Oficiálna. IFPI Czech Republic. Note: insert 201628 into search.
  24. ^ "SloTop50 – Slovenian official singles chart". Retrieved August 28, 2018.
  25. ^ " – Coldplay – A Head Full of Dreams" Canciones Top 50. Retrieved 3 September 2016.
  26. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 20 January 2016.
  27. ^ "Coldplay Chart History (Hot Rock Songs)". Billboard.
  28. ^ "Italian single certifications – Coldplay – A Head Full of Dreams" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved January 29, 2018. Select "2018" in the "Anno" drop-down menu. Select "A Head Full of Dreams" in the "Filtra" field. Select "Singoli online" under "Sezione".
  29. ^ "British single certifications – Coldplay – A Head Full of Dreams". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved April 20, 2019. Select singles in the Format field. Select Silver in the Certification field. Type A Head Full of Dreams in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  30. ^ "BBC – Radio 2 – Playlist". BBC Radio 1. August 31, 2016. Archived from the original on September 3, 2016. Retrieved September 28, 2016.
  31. ^ "Coldplay "'A Head Full of Dreams'"" (in Italian). Radio Airplay s.r.l. Retrieved August 12, 2017.

External linksEdit