Style: Anthemic arena light-rock; compare to U2, Keane, Switchfoot
Top tracks: "Hurts Like Heaven," "Us Against the World," "Major Minus"
The global juggernaut reaches bigger and broader than ever on its fifth studio release, waving the flag for an optimism revolution as it pulses with grand synthesizers, detailed electronic backwash, and atmospheric interludes. A few characteristically epic anthems run together, but variety prevails. "Hurts Like Heaven" is dancier Coldplay than ever. The Rihanna duet "Princess of China" adds a hip-hop-pop flavor, and "Major Minus" rings like a modern addition to U2's Achtung Baby. The album references life's darkness but brims with perseverance and hope, turning generally heavenward with lines like "Lord, I don't know which way I am going" ("U.F.O.") and "I just want to be there when … the saints go marching in" ("Us Against the World"). Much commercial CCM draws heavily from Coldplay, but the masters of ubermelodies keep nudging the bar higher.1
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