Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

Coldplay – A Sky Full of Stars

Gunning for that crucial Babylon 5 demo


Iain Mew: Coldplay continue their pattern of releasing a more brazenly commercial single each album cycle, but this one has an added air of reclaiming territory. How many yearning dance singles have there been in the last couple of years where it’s been audible that the producer would kill to replace their Generic Turner with Chris Martin? Nope, say Coldplay — they’re going to do it themselves, or at least they’re going to do it with Avicii and not give him so much as a “ft.” in return. And yes, they’re better than the field they’re competing against, and the way they move into euphoria is enjoyably fluid. Still, it’s a low bar they’ve set themselves, and they’re limited by the template, which only allows so much personality.

Alfred Soto: The Adam Levine-a-zation of Chris Martin was a long time coming. Face it, folks, European EDM producers who were teens when those “Clocks” remixes dominated radio have wanted his voice for years. Now Martin and the lads create their own sounds-like-a-remix and succeed at the anonymity they’ve essayed for years.  

Will Adams: The prospect of a Coldplay/Avicii collaboration might strike fear in the hearts of some, but “A Sky Full of Stars” surprises thanks to the subtlety each act demonstrates. The repeated verse becomes a paean to its subject; there’s no need for extraneous hooks, because Avicii’s lovely drop — recalling his earlier, more uplifting work — is there to tie up the loose ends. It’s simple but effective songwriting, the kind of single Coldplay needed.

Patrick St. Michel: Coldplay have made the transition from Judd-Apatow-haha to critically-embraced-but-without-hands-touching-their-back band, which is deserved, but this is not their shining moment. Clunker lyrics can be easily forgotten with the help of galloping verses and a soaring chorus, but embracing the EDM build-drop-repeat pattern leaves Chris Martin’s lyrics hanging out in the twinkly wind. And they are bad, nonsensical things, even before he reaches the head-scratching “you’re a sky full of stars/because you get lighter the more it gets dark” — either this person glows, or they sound like a shitty person to be around in an emergency). Also, this features Avicii in maximum Avicii mode.

David Sheffieck: Avicii’s been doing some interesting work over the past year, delving into new genres with an ease that few other artists could. If “A Sky Full of Stars” leans a bit further on EDM tropes than the best of those recent successes, it’s at least a step up for Coldplay, sounding more engaging than they have on their past two singles combined.

Scott Mildenhall: Unsurprisingly given the contents of True, Avicii is a logical match for the minimalism Coldplay have exhibited recently. Stripped of his familiar bursts, this would be a bare-bones anthem, and while they do hit big, they don’t hit hard, maintaining that airiness in a way he often does. They’re more like an explosion of light than an explosion of noise, resulting in a more euphoric release than just about any of Coldplay’s many raise-your-Xyloband moments. The only problem is that it maybe could do with a bit more melodic variation.

Anthony Easton: I like how this builds up, and when it turns abstract and ornamental, it is pretty enough to be distracting, and you know that they are making an effort. I continue to hate Chris Martin’s voice. 

Mallory O’Donnell: A Mouth Full of Shit.

Brad Shoup: I don’t mind him delivering this like a pickup line — couldn’t hurt to get the practice in. I’m really starting to appreciate the way the synthstreak comes on jagged and menacing before getting wiped away by the big bliss. Hell, I like that you could argue this has an instrumental chorus. It’s still dopey, though. Widescreen, but dopey, like Walter Mitty.

Crystal Leww: Coldplay make the type of music that is universally appealing. Chris Martin pens the kind of lyrics that girls find kind of corny but secretly want to hear, and that guys want to emulate because they think that girls want to hear and how they want to feel. Moms can get behind Chris Martin’s easy simplicity, and dads can get behind the piano and the guitar, and now even the teenagers can get behind the synth-fueled production, assisted by Avicii. This is all schmaltz, designed to please people at the most simple parts of themselves, but it is incredibly sincere schmaltz. And that’s why Coldplay are still making albums and headlining festivals and selling out arenas.

Thomas Inskeep: It seems like Coldplay might be going for their U2 Pop moment here, but Pop had the advantage of being interesting, which this song is most definitely not. This could be practically any red-hot EDM producer with Chris Martin singing over the track. I never thought I’d long for Coldplay’s mewling neediness, but this could use some of it. Truly awful, and inevitably a huge global summer hit.

Megan Harrington: Speaking strictly practically, this is an excellent single for Coldplay. It’s engineered both to play big and to serve as a transitional moment. On its own merits, the song is intensely danceable and unrelentingly positive, and couched in a set, it’s an ideal segue to a crowd pleaser like “Fix You.” No doubt a lot of this comes down to Avicii’s contributions (he’s almost undoubtedly responsible for structuring the song and arranging the piano), but aside from some production flourishes, this could be any of their older tracks. It’s a safe strategy — a mix that favors the band’s classic sound while staying current enough for heavy radio play.  

Katherine St Asaph: (kool-aid mans through the fourth wall, dejectedly) Hello everybody. I was going to review this Coldplay song, but I didn’t remember a thing about it. Nothing usable, anyway. I remembered lush “Clocks” mush, like a pillow full of canned peas, and Chris Martin saying stuff like “you’re such a heavenly view” while wincing through falsetto like being pinched, like Gwyneth was consciously uncoupling his tendons from his neck. So I went to YouTube to relisten. And I got this. And you know what? I’ve spent enough time with this thing. We’re done here.

Reader average: [4.75] (4 votes)

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8 Responses to “Coldplay – A Sky Full of Stars”

  1. this song sucks but the album is great

    “I continue to hate Chris Martin’s voice” I don’t get this

  2. I enjoy the song that Katherine found more than the song under review.

    Coldplay has been dull for years. The most fun I get out of them is reading Martin’s lyrics without the music accompanying them. Why are they dull? Have they always been this way or is this the result of a long period of decomposition? I used to think the latter, but I’m starting to think that I just didn’t know what I was talking about when I used to talk about their first albums years ago. I often think of them with U2 (who haven’t really been exciting in years too), and it’s a comparison that neither band would like, but at least when I hear a U2 song I still know that it’s U2, and that brings its own certain energy to the track. I can’t say the same thing for Coldplay. I realise that this isn’t the best song to say that about because Avicii is in there and all, but I still think it’s a fair generalisation to make. This song leaves me numb and not like the U2 song. This is numb like death. Not even violent death, just nothingness. I wish I could say a mouth full of shit, but instead it’s a mouth full of absolutely nothing.

  3. Coldplay’s a’ight.

  4. i don’t think we can be friends anymore brad

  5. swear to god, that was the first youtube link I landed on

  6. I would have just reviewed ol’ Rick then and left Coldplay to the others.

  7. the song is one thing but if you hear the whole album calling it dull is weird imo. real tranquil and intimate, sure, sort of a downer yeah, which no doubt some people’ll have an issue with…but dull not at all

    I dunno how at least some of these songs wouldn’t speak to even the biggest Coldplay cynic tbh. Three songs starting with “Midnight” really hit direct, and not in that syrupy “Fix You” way

  8. dude I got rickrolled in 2014 anything is dull by comparison