Coldplay

2024-01-02

StʌrunneR

Parachutes 2000

GENRE: ALTERNATIVE

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Coldplay 首张专辑结构紧凑,色彩动人,令他们一举成名。摇滚抒情经典《Yellow》收录在其中,《Don’t Panic》拉开了英式摇滚清新、忧郁、唯美中的引人入胜。他们将独立态度与英伦摇滚风格融合,创造出改写流行摇滚乐趋向的动人之作。轻快的鼓点伴随着 Chris Martin 质感极佳的嗓音,吉他点到为止美丽细腻。整张专辑结构完整,色彩温暖,浪漫而小小忧郁的气质异常迷人,专辑在销量与乐评上均获得了巨大成功,是千禧年摇滚乐值得纪念的佳作。

atmospheric licks of The Stone Roses’ John Squire and The Verve’s Nick McCabe on “High Speed,” and there are heavy nods to Jeff Buckley on the fevered acoustic-rock of “Shiver.”

The members of Coldplay might have worried that they didn’t know what they were doing in the studio, but the 10 tracks on Parachutes arrived fully formed. These were songs that felt both introspective and universal—a vibe perfectly summed up in the breezy manner which the band delivers the heartening hook at the center of opener “Don’t Panic,” as if Martin and company didn’t want to wake the people in the next room.

Released in July of 2000, and heralded by the success of “Yellow,” Parachutes reached No. 1 in the UK and went on to sell more than 13 million copies worldwide (it also won a Grammy for Best Alternative Music Album, and British Album Of The Year at the BRIT Awards). An introduction to a band who would become one of the 21st century’s biggest, Parachutes remains a remarkable record. But it’s also a snapshot of these four musicians as they’d never be again—unproven, uncertain, and unaware of just how massive they were about to become.

A Rush Of Blood To The Head 200

GENRE: ALTERNATIVE

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乘胜追击并再次大获全胜,第二张录音室专辑继续扩散着 Coldplay 的热力。从钢琴浪潮缓缓引出深入灵魂的吟唱的《The Scientist》,到从吉他低迷气息中盘旋而出的《God Put a Smile Upon Your Face》,细腻、华丽而富有张力,不按常规出牌的旋律创意令人惊艳。这张纯正的英伦摇滚乐专辑,每一首歌都透出真诚的热情。

The members of Coldplay began work on their second album determined to show that they were no one-album wonders. The group’s 2000 debut Parachutes, and its calling card anthem “Yellow,” had made the British quartet one of the breakthrough bands of the new millennium, but as far as Chris Martin, Jonny Buckland, Guy Berryman, and Will Champion were concerned, that was all done and dusted. The real work started now.

They already had an early contender in their back pocket—the thumping wide-screen epic “In My Place” had been written and road tested while they toured Parachutes. It provided a sonic template for the record that would become 2002’s A Rush of Blood to the Head, which found the band moving away from the acoustic intimacy of Parachutes and into something more grand and majestic. For Martin, it was an album that needed to live up to those that had previously raised the bar for what rock music could be, chiefly Radiohead’s The Bends and U2’s The Unforgettable Fire.

Ironically, Coldplay’s panoramic masterpiece was made in one of the tiniest rooms in Liverpool’s Parr Street Studios, where much of the band’s debut had been recorded. There, they worked day and night, with Martin writing like a man possessed, resulting in more than 30 songs that would need to be whittled down into an album. While Parachutes was introspective and thoughtful, here Martin looked up and out, trying to make sense of an uncertain world and writing a collection of uplifting classics in the process.

The opener, “Politik,” features a stomping two-chord pattern that eventually opens its wings into a soaring, jubilant outro; written the day after 9/11, the song set the tone for both Coldplay’s daring new sound and the album’s recurring themes of love and mortality. These are songs injected with a sense of adventure, from the eastern-tinged riffs of “Daylight”—which nods to the monumental sounds of The Big Music-era groups such as Echo & The Bunnymen and Simple Minds—to the horizon-stretching chorus of “God Put a Smile Upon Your Face” to the restraint that underpins the minor-chord poignance of the title track.

Even when the band members had enough songs to ensure that Coldplay’s legacy would be more than just “Yellow,” they kept going. Late on, Martin brought in a fully formed ballad for the ages: “The Scientist”, which would become A Rush of Blood to the Head’s centerpiece song. But they still weren’t done. Asking their label to push the release date back so they could work on one more track, they added “Clocks,” with its yearning vocals, driving rhythm, and hypnotic piano repetitions. Coldplay’s second record was complete.

It was the album that sent Coldplay stratospheric, turning these polite young men with a successful debut in the bank into one of the biggest bands in the world. Released in August 2002, two months after Coldplay headlined Glastonbury for the first time, the album went on to sell more than 17 million copies and earned a Grammy Award for Best Alternative Album in 2003. A record about finding hope in dark times had connected on the biggest scale imaginable. Coldplay would never look back.

X&Y 2005

GENRE: ALTERNATIVE

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Coldplay’s third album was made during the toughest time of the band’s career. 2002’s A Rush of Blood to the Head had made them one of the world’s biggest groups, but now things began to unravel. Lead singer Chris Martin, newly married to actress and Hollywood A-Lister Gwyneth Paltrow, grappled with a level of fame that would have been unthinkable just a few years before; the band were uncertain about which musical direction to take next; relationships within the band had become strained; and they were under pressure from their label to get a record finished sooner rather than later. It didn’t help that they were a man down—the band’s non-playing “fifth member” and manager, Phil Harvey, a crucial part of their creative process, had departed after the completion of A Rush of Blood.

It all helped to make X&Y’s writing and recording a testing period for the quartet, but somehow they emerged with a record that both refined what went before and put a resolve in Martin, guitarist Jonny Buckland, bassist Guy Berryman, and drummer Will Champion to stay together. Working in a sporadic fashion over 18 months, a spell spread across six studios in the US and the UK, the group wrote over 60 songs—but often found themselves coming to a creative dead end. Crucially, they had one killer song and around it a record began to take shape. “Fix You,” written for Paltrow after the death of her father, was one of Coldplay’s most affecting and bombastic sing-alongs yet, growing from an organ-led hymnal into a bells-and-whistles midtempo anthem. It would carry X&Y on its back.

At the same time, realizing that they needed to be working more as a band rather than individually on their parts in the studio, new sonic routes started to emerge. Opener “Square One,” with its wiry guitars and rhythmic urgency, was an explosive banger that sounded like U2 reimagining Interpol; “What If” paired sumptuous strings with a sinuous bass groove and layered guitars; and “Low” draped a propulsive indie rock tune in glacial synths and atmospheric soundscapes—the addition of electronic textures across the record evidence of a band keen to try new things.

Speaking about X&Y in 2015, Martin quipped, “I’d like to take 10 minutes off it and tidy up the haircuts.” It was a period that put a full stop on the first phase of Coldplay. They would be a different band on their next album, even more ambitious and daring. X&Y went on to sell over 13 million copies, another massively successful hit for the biggest British group of the 21st century. But what it taught them was even more valuable. From here, everything changed.

Viva La Vida or Death And All His Friends 2008

GENRE: ALTERNATIVE

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collaboration between band members and took them out of their comfort zones.

It made for an extraordinary album, one where Coldplay ditched the idea that bigger and more bombastic was the only way to go for a group of their stature. There are exhilarating sing-alongs on Viva la Vida…—can you get more exhilarating than the outro to the title track?—and there are indelible, irresistible melodies, but there is a delicacy too, a confidence to let these songs breathe. To that end, Viva la Vida… often sounds like a Coldplay we hadn’t heard before. On the cosmic crash of instrumental opener “Life in Technicolour,” the Afropop and highlife-indebted sway of “Strawberry Swing” (a song later covered by Frank Ocean), or the airy art rock of “Lovers in Japan,” here was a band rejuvenated.

Released in June 2008, Viva la Vida… went on to sell over 11 million copies, its freedom of expression giving Coldplay the belief to try anything going forward. That Coldplay went on to be a band who could collaborate with both Noel Gallagher and Beyoncé, both Femi Kuti and BTS, can be traced back here. Making Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends taught Coldplay that anything was possible.

Mylo Xyloto 2011

GENRE: ALTERNATIVE

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Coldplay had the wind in its sails as the band arrived at its fifth record. 2008’s Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends had made for an exhilarating course correction after the uncertainty of 2005’s X&Y and here they seemed emboldened by the momentum their fourth record had generated. Mylo Xyloto is the sound of Coldplay fully embracing their status as one of the world’s biggest bands, a record that introduced a sense of spectacular into the mix where everything—the Day-Glo artwork and style, the luminous sonics, the silly title—feels pushed to the utmost degree. It’s Coldplay at their most bombastic.

It could have headed in the opposite direction, though. The original plan was to make a stripped-down album that would hark back to the stark introspection and acoustic guitars of the early work. But big tunes that deserved big production kept arriving and Chris Martin, Jonny Buckland, Guy Berryman, and Will Champion found themselves writing two records that differed in sound and vibe. It was working on a raw, accordion-led version of “Charlie Brown” that put an end to that notion when Berryman suggested it was madness not to do it as a panoramic rock-pop sing-along. The acoustic record was shelved and, in its wake, came Mylo Xyloto. The finished version of “Charlie Brown” featured no accordion. Instead, it sounded like Achtung Baby-era U2 being launched into space.

A concept album set on the fictional planet of Silencia and telling the tale of a war against sound and color—can you tell that Coldplay was embracing the spirit of theatricality here?—Mylo Xyloto saw the quartet brighten their sonic palette with the kaleidoscopic sound of modern pop, where their trademark shimmering guitar lines and muscular rhythms are elevated by strobing synths, R&B beats, and layered soundscapes. The dynamic production would count for nothing without rapturous hooks to hang everything on, though, and Coldplay had them in spades. The swirling melodrama of “Paradise” was their best pop moment, yet that was given a run for its money by the Rihanna-featuring electro-pop euphoria of “Princess Of China,” while the cosmic rave thrust of “Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall” showed they could still do yearning on such a grand canvas.

The smattering of lower-key songs throughout the record— the round-the-campfire strums of “Us Against the World,” “U.F.O.”’s finger-picked folk, the glacial contemplation of closer “Up With the Birds”—were just as essential, gear changes that gave the album its bearings. Perhaps aware that they had taken this sound as far as it could go, they changed tack on their next record, but Mylo Xyloto had already had the desired effect. This was the album that blew Coldplay’s sonic horizons wide open.

Ghost Stories 2014

GENRE: ALTERNATIVE

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It was halfway through the tour to support 2011’s Mylo Xyloto that someone pointed Chris Martin in the direction of The Guest House, a poem by the 13th- century mystic Rumi. Its concept—that whatever is happening to you in life, if you sit with it, somehow a blessing will reveal itself—chimed with Martin as he struggled to find a way through tough times. It sparked a whole new way of thinking for him and resulted in Ghost Stories, Coldplay’s most cathartic and intimate record. Written and recorded as Martin navigated his way through a separation from wife Gwyneth Paltrow—or, as they put it, a “conscious uncoupling”—and the aftermath, everything about Ghost Stories felt like a deviation from what had come to be defined as standard practice on a Coldplay album.

Bar a few one-off shows, there was no accompanying tour and so no ecstatic stadium sing-alongs—plus there were no big anthems to sing along with, anyway (well, almost). The thinking went that, as these songs were dealing with such personal issues, it felt natural to make Ghost Stories a more intimate and quiet record. In that sense, it presented an intriguing, inside-out version of the band who had become masters of music as a communal, jubilant experience.

Recorded mostly at the band’s own studios in North London, it showed that Coldplay could still astonish even when stripped of all the bells and whistles. The mournful, slow-motion glide of “Always in My Head” set the tone for the record’s considered vibe but, musically, there was still a compelling restlessness at work: new flavors on the folktronica groove of “Ink,” “Midnight”’s ambient soundscapes, and the minimalist soul of “Magic.” Even on more familiar ground, there was a poignancy at play—the solemn acoustic strums of “Oceans” sound like Chris Martin trying to reach out to his younger, Parachutes-era self to ask him what the hell happened. Because they like to keep people on their toes, right in the middle of all this pensive brooding is “A Sky Full of Stars,” an out-and-out piano-rave banger that they made with late superstar DJ Avicii.

It was a record that emotionally cleared the decks for Martin and Coldplay and they jumped straight into their next album, 2015’s A Head Full of Dreams, without taking a break. Ghost Stories was the pit stop that allowed them to take stock and work out where to go next.

A Head Full of Dreams 2015

GENRE: ALTERNATIVE

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Coldplay 的第七张专辑曲风多变, 充满霓虹感的流行乐令人耳目一新。开场单曲短短 20 秒即引爆狂欢气氛, 让人情不自禁随节拍起舞。嘉宾阵容华丽强大, 更有奥巴马总统的演唱片段助阵。乐队彻底挣脱传统束缚, 邀来 Beyoncé 在欢快的“Hymn for the Weekend”中展现动人歌喉; Tove Lo 在“Fun”慵懒的假日情歌中轻诉甜蜜情话; Noel Gallagher 还将“(What’s The Story) Morning Glory?”中标志性的吉他独奏融入悠扬清远的“Up&Up”。

Chris Martin felt that A Head Full of Dreams marked the end of something for Coldplay. In his mind, the band’s lead singer compared it to the seven colors of the color spectrum—on their seventh record, they were completing a journey. It made for a dazzling and joyous album, something that felt like a culmination over everything the four-piece had explored over the previous 15-plus years.

There were no concerns about what was cool and what wasn’t anymore. Coldplay were way beyond that, more interested in celebrating that they were a band who loved pop music as much as they loved rock ’n’ roll, so why not combine it all? To that end, A Head Full of Dreams features appearances from Beyoncé, Noel Gallagher, Brian Eno, Tove Lo, and Merry Clayton with some guests that went beyond the realm of musical peers. There’s the political—Barack Obama pops up on two tracks for spoken-word excerpts—and the personal in a Coldplay Jr. choir made up of all their children, plus Martin’s ex-wife Gwyneth Paltrow singing a line referring to their breakup on the tender ballad “Everglow.”

Beginning work on the album directly after the completion of Ghost Stories’ low-key introspection, A Head Full of Dreams was designed to be that record’s opposite, a return to big holler-along choruses and monumental, hug-your-mate hooks. Teaming up with megahit specialists and Grammy-winning production duo Stargate, they dived deeper into the pop world than they ever had before. From the spiraling riff that conducts the pulsing dance-pop of “Adventure of a Lifetime” to the euphoric “whoa-oh-oh”s of the title track, this was Coldplay at their most unashamedly positive and uplifting. On the irresistible R&B grooves of “Hymn for the Weekend,” Martin and Beyoncé joined forces for one of the group’s most rousing and rhapsodic choruses. The idea behind A Head Full of Dreams was that if you focus on something hard enough and want it to happen, you can will it into existence. Here, all of Coldplay’s dreams came true. Their first spectrum ended with the biggest of bangs.

Kaleidoscope EP 2017

GENRE: ALTERNATIVE

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This is the sound of a band full of easy confidence. We’re treated to a blast of vintage Coldplay on “All I Can Think About Is You”—a simmering slow burner of Parachutes-era intensity—while the sunset pop of “Miracles (Someone Special)” sees Big Sean add his name to the band’s roster of unlikely-but-satisfying collaborators.

Everyday Life 2019

GENRE: ALTERNATIVE

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如果说 2015 年的专辑《A Head Full of Dreams》中的多彩欢乐已经成为了遥远的回忆,那也并不奇怪——因为彼时的情境与今已大不相同。在 Coldplay 发布那张专辑后的四年里,世界变得更加混乱了。乐队主唱 Chris Martin 告诉 Apple Music:“疯狂的现象一直都有,但是现在它不断扑面而来,让你觉得你必须唱出正在发生的事,无论结果如何。”于是《Everyday Life》这张双专辑就此诞生。Coldplay 正试图用这张专辑唤起人们的团结意识,作为本世纪最成功的乐队之一,这样做无疑有不小的代价与风险。Martin 说:“我只知道,这是我们的真心话。”

这是一张概念专辑,前半部分的主题是“日出”,以忧伤但充满希望的弦乐开启序幕。Martin 解释道:“这代表了我们与其他许多人生活中所面临的挑战。”后半部则以“日落”为主题,“比较像是‘你会如何面对这些挑战?该如何走下去?’”后半部分的开场曲是《Guns》,Martin 在这首原声吉他伴奏的歌曲中引用了 Bob Dylan,谈及美国的枪支暴力问题:“熔化所有的小号、长号和鼓/谁需要教育或者灿烂千阳?“这首歌是他们在“911”事件过去后不久写成、2002 年发表的歌曲《Politik》之后,最具政治意味的表达。

虽然专辑大部分歌曲都十分低调克制,但也有一些华丽宏大的作品。在《Arabesque》中,乐队与尼日利亚音乐人 Femi Kuti 的乐队 Positive Force 一同投入了狂热的非洲 Afrobeat 律动,围绕着重复吟唱的中心主旨:“We share the same blood. (我们流着同样的血液)”这个信息也贯穿在《Everyday Life》的始终,从敞开怀抱的《Orphans》,到《بنیآدم》中的念白,再到最后两首曲目《Champion of the World》与《Everyday Life》。Martin 在最后一曲中唱道:“人人都会受伤,人人都会哭泣,人人都会对彼此说谎。人人都会跌倒,人人都有梦想与怀疑/纵使灯光熄灭,也要继续跳舞。”

Music Of The Spheres 2021

GENRE: ALTERNATIVE

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2021 年 4 月 18 日,浩瀚的网络世界里忽然冒出一个名叫“Alien Radio FM”的社群帐号,发布了它的首则动态:“Transmission incoming. Standby.”(传输中,请待命)随后,这个账号开始陆续展示一些如密语般的紫色霓虹图腾,它们以某种序列的形式出现在世界各地的商场、球场、户外显示屏上,颇似外星人入侵的前兆。半个月后人们才知道,原来这些图腾是 Coldplay 为新单曲《Higher Power》特别设计的外星文字“Kaotican”,将其“翻译”为英文便是“Coldplay Higher Power May Seven”(Coldplay《Higher Power》5 月 7 日)。原来,这是玩心不灭的 Coldplay 每次发行专辑都不会迟到的那个“热身操作”呀。

这首与瑞典制作人 Max Martin 共同打造的先行曲目早在五月初便先一步传送至太空,当时身处空间站的法国宇航员 Thomas Pesquet 有幸成为它的首位听众(或许你还记得巴黎奥运会 8 分钟宣传片在太空空间站吹奏萨克斯风的惊艳一幕?那位演奏家就是 Thomas)——或者说——太空早在地球之前就听到了这首受《星球大战》启发的流行歌。其实,十多年前 Coldplay 便已开始酝酿以宇宙为命题的相关作品。2010 年,乐团官方网站上由匿名巡演人员“Roadie #42”写的巡演日记中,提及主唱 Chris Martin 希望能在未来“打造一座迷人的太阳系”的愿景。而新专辑的样貌其实早在上张专辑的唱片内页就已初露端倪——在一张 1930 年代黑白照片中,广告看板左下角正写着“Music of the Spheres”和“Coldplay coming soon”的字样。可见,Coldplay 成员在脑海中构想这张蓝图已经不是一天两天了:“这让我们在录音棚有法可循,知道自己想构建什么。”Coldplay 贝斯手 Guy Berryman 告诉 Apple Music。

想象中的星系“The Spheres”借由庞大完整的概念设计成为现实,专辑中的每首歌都对应一颗天体,每颗天体都拥有自己的一套语言(“Kaotican”便是“Kaotica”星球的文字);Coldplay 带领歌迷搭上一座太空船,尽情拓荒,探索未知。纵观专辑,用抽象符号命名的歌曲就像宇宙的浪漫秘语,Coldplay 大量使用不同色彩的合成器音色和弦乐,营造太空异想感。开场曲《⦵》发射的讯号电波,与“Alien Radio FM”发布的首则动态相呼应,而《Higher Power》在欢愉的复古电子节拍中,使人则接收到无远弗届的能量,“我们想让这张专辑的一切都充满积极和乐观精神。”Berryman 解释道。“我活着,我快乐/因与你活在同个年代,而快乐”(I’m so happy that I’m alive / Happy I’m alive at the same time as you),《Higher Power》的歌词不仅承接《A Head Full of Dreams》的希望话语,也在世界被打乱脚步之际,重新将人联结起来。 《People of the Pride》有着 Hans Zimmer 式的开篇,Coldplay 在自己擅长的 Arena Pop-Rock 里,继续讲述关于“人”的故事。

“联结”这一隐藏的专辑核心概念,除了体现在以浩瀚太空和外星生物隐喻疫情造成的“疏离”与陌生感,也以合作的形式呈现出来。对于 Coldplay 来说,如今的他们对合作的态度更加开放了,其实这正是他们在亲身实践专辑的“联结”主题。Berryman 向我们揭示道:“这张专辑的很多主题都是让人类彼此团结,打破界限和壁垒,打破人类亲手制造的、分隔人类的一切事物。”首度与防弹少年团跨国合作碰撞出的《My Universe》,即是通过理解彼此的差异,缩短心与心的距离。《♡》是一首纯人声的“当代福音歌曲”,由 R&B 三人组 We Are KING 和爵士音乐人 Jacob Collier 助阵。Berryman 放下了演奏者的自尊,没有加任何器乐,让歌曲维持原样, “这才会让它前后的歌曲听起来更宏大、更饱满。”

长达十分钟的史诗终曲《Coloratura》以致敬 Pink Floyd《The Dark Side of the Moon》狂想曲式的前卫摇滚氛围贯穿,犹如饱览一片星际风光。满是奇思异想的歌词,仍旧饱含 Coldplay 渴望透过音乐传递的真挚讯息:“团结一心/这就是我们度过难关的方式。”(Together, that’s how we’ll make it through)在被不确定性重重包围的年代,《Music of the Spheres》开启一场心灵的探勘,在这虚构的宇宙空间里,Coldplay 仍然在为人类唱赞歌。

You don’t become one of the biggest bands in the world without sticking to a system. In Coldplay’s case, that means starting every album with an agreed-upon title that dictates the project’s direction, from songwriting to production style to visuals. “It allows us a little bit of discipline in the studio knowing what we’re trying to build,” bassist Guy Berryman tells Apple Music. “If you’re building a building without any kind of architect’s drawings, you would just start piling bricks on top of each other.” This preparation particularly came in handy in the case of a paralyzing global pandemic. Since 2019’s Everyday Life was always intended to be stripped-down and introspective, without the customary world tour, the band already had a trove of songs earmarked for a proper larger-than-life affair and a vision for their use. They knew it would be called Music of the Spheres and they knew it would be helmed by Swedish über-producer Max Martin (no relation to frontman Chris), a partnership they kicked the tires on with the Everyday Life track “Orphans.” “He’s just so talented and everything just meshed together so well with everybody’s personalities in the studio,” Berryman says. “We had thought ahead to playing in big stadiums.”

Lead single “Higher Power” could not have made those blockbuster intentions clearer or been a better showcase for (Max) Martin’s trademark pop sheen. The entire project is so imbued with youthful spirit that five tracks have emojis as titles. “Let Somebody Go” features Selena Gomez, while “My Universe” boasts none other than K-pop phenomenon BTS, who could always use some brains to pick as they learn how to navigate megastardom. “I think they’re bigger than us,” Berryman says. “We should have been asking them.” Read on for behind-the-scenes tales of making Music of the Spheres.

“🪐”
“That’s an intro piece called ‘Music of the Spheres.’ We always make albums as a whole, and we started putting interludes and musical sections between songs, almost like palate cleansers.”

“Higher Power”
“I think people needed to have something uplifting. We wanted to put out this optimism and positivity into everything on this album. The famous story which is going around about this song is how Chris kind of was tapping out the drum pattern on a bathroom sink, and he recorded it on his phone and then went and wrote the song on top of it.”

“Humankind”
“You can sketch ideas out in the studio sometimes, and that was one we were really kind of struggling with before Max took the reins. It didn’t sound very fresh; it had a good energy, but was maybe just a little bit too rock for us, and he really gave it more of a modern shine. It could be from just editing the basic song and the song structure or it could be adjusting slightly the rhythm pattern to make it all stick together better.”

“✨”
“It’s an interlude.”

“Let Somebody Go” (feat. Selena Gomez)
“It’s just a really lovely ballad. And quite early on we realized it needed a female counterpart to the vocal. And we were very grateful that when we asked Selena to sing on it, she loved the song and was happy to do so. Collaborations in general are something that we’ve done more of recently. We never really used to do it before. When we were younger, we kind of locked ourselves in a room and felt we had to prove everything ourselves. But I think as time has gone on, it’s become more interesting for us to work with other people from different parts of the world, different genres. It just adds color and character to the music.”

“❤️” (feat. We Are KING and Jacob Collier)
“We love the way that sound shaped up with all the stacked layers of vocals; it’s almost like a modern-sounding gospel song in some ways. Sometimes as a musician, it’s my job to step in and say, ‘Actually, the best course of action for me is to not play anything at all, because what we created here has a much more unique sound.’ You have to take your ego out of the picture and understand that the best job you can do is leave something alone. Because then it allows the other songs around it to sound bigger and fuller.”

“People of the Pride”
“We started the song probably over 10 years ago and couldn’t really finish it. Again, this was one which Max really helped shape sonically. The way we had it before, it sounded a little bit old-fashioned, almost like glam rock. What Max managed to do was take the energy and layer in a way which preserved that feel but also made it sound very modern at the same time.”

“Biutyful”
“That’s quite an interesting song from a production point of view, because it’s really kind of pushing the boundary for us in terms of vocal identity. The manipulated voice is almost like an alien character singing this song. Is it Chris’ voice? That is highly, highly confidential. Nobody will ever know. It’s going to be a big old secret.”

“🌎”
“It’s an interlude.”

“My Universe” (feat. BTS)
“BTS were asked in an interview who they’d like to collaborate with, potentially, and a couple of the guys said they’d love to collaborate with us. A lot of the themes on this album are about bringing people together and taking away divisions and walls and boundaries and all of these human constructs that keep people apart. So we felt like this would be great because it’s an unusual collaboration between people who are known to come from a different genre and completely different part of the world.”

“♾️”
“That is not an interlude, it’s a longer piece—a collaboration with an old friend of ours who has been on our albums before, Jon Hopkins. He’s an unbelievably talented musician, piano player, and arranger. He works in an electronic genre on his own music, so he has the ability to create these very beautiful landscapes in a way that none of us can really do.”

“Coloratura”
“Each album can quite easily be defined by the singles you release on the radio, and it’s always important to us when we make albums to include many different moods and textures and styles. So it was important to us, as a counterbalance to some of the poppier songs, to have something which was unashamedly long and complicated. It started off with more of a conventional song structure, then Chris came in one day and showed us the arrangement including all these interludes and sections between the parts we were already familiar with; it was a big challenge to piece it all together. Max’s involvement on that song was extremely minimal; if he got hands on it, I think it would be chopped up into something a lot shorter, the chorus 10 seconds in.”


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