WHO ARE THEY? The artsy British pop-rockers fronted by tender-hearted metrosexual singer-songwriter (and consciously uncoupled former hubby of Gwyneth Paltrow) Chris Martin, accompanied by his former college mates Jonny Buckland, Guy Berryman and Will Champion.
WHAT IS THIS? Their eighth studio album and most adventurous offering since 2008’s groundbreaking Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends. Announced and publicized via cryptic ads in subway stations and random newspapers, Everyday Life (out Nov. 22) is a double-length concept album that is divided into two halves — Sunrise and Sunset — and runs the stylistic gamut from pop and rock to uplifting gospel, hypnotic Afrobeat, field recordings and more.
WHAT DOES IT SOUND LIKE? Unlike anything they’ve done before. And absolutely nothing like everyday life — unless your idea of a normal day is way more groovy, diverse, artsy and emotionally powerful than mine has ever been.
WHAT SHOULD IT BE TITLED? One Helluva Day.
HOW SHOULD I LISTEN TO IT? With focus and intent — all the better to absorb and appreciate what Martin and co. have to say about contemporary life, spirituality, human connection and a few other pertinent topics.
WHAT 10 WORDS SUM IT UP? Ambitious, experimental, multi-cultural, spiritual, life-affirming, contemplative, compassionate, cinematic, inspirational, earnest.
WHAT ARE THE BEST SONGS? Interestingly, the set’s Sunset section is the more approachable and commercial half, highlighted by the U2-covers-Sympathy For the Devil number Orphans, the tightly wound acoustic strummer Guns, the beautifully bittersweet Eko, the retro-pop piano waltz Cry Cry Cry and more. But don’t forget about the spiritual BrokEn and the exotically mesmerizing Arabesque (featuring Femi Kuti) on the Sunrise disc.
WHAT WILL MY FRIENDS SAY? ‘Well, at least nobody can accuse them of making the same album over and over.’
HOW OFTEN WILL I LISTEN TO IT? You might skip a few of the slighter tracks, but there’s more than enough here to keep you interested for some time.
IF THIS ALBUM WERE A WEATHER PHENOMENON, WHAT WOULD IT BE? Jacob’s ladder.
SHOULD I BUY, STREAM OR STEAL IT? They’re clearly trying to enrich your life here. Reciprocity doesn’t seem too much to ask.