Struggles and temptations can divert even veteran bands from creating art that connects meaningfully with the listener. Some bands lose their desire to experiment musically. Other bands grow in arrogance to the point where they can longer connect with fans. The double-album Everyday Life is evidence that Coldplay has managed to avoid these pitfalls. Coldplay’s competence, engagement, and selflessness combine to create a life-shaping listening experience.
Coldplay confidently experiments with numerous genres across a range of musical eras. Everyday Life includes songs that could be classified as hymns, symphonic compositions, doo-wop, gospel, rock, and world music. They include street recordings, languages, and personal experiences from across the globe. Each song is layered with rich musical, historical, and cultural meaning. Yet despite this diversity of sound, the theme of selfless human love unifies this project.
Everyday Life boldly explores conflicts and hardships in a way that illustrates Coldplay’s engagement with human suffering. “Orphans” explores the refugee crisis, humanizing the youth found in many refugee camps. “Trouble in Town” looks at racism and uses a field recording of a Philadelphia police officer during a traffic stop. “Daddy” unpacks what it is to be a father and also explores fathers who cannot be present for their kids due to incarceration. Even Coldplay’s decision to refrain from touring this album shows concern for climate change.
Surprisingly, Coldplay ignores the insulating power of status and wealth to preach a message of love for the poor and oppressed. And they communicate their beliefs with a gentle urgency. At times, Coldplay admits the need for a higher power than human power. The gospel song “Broken” is a humble request for intervention to the abuses heard in “Trouble In Town.” However, listeners must be careful to avoid over-spiritualizing the songs on Everyday Life. For example, the song “Church” uses spiritual imagery simply as a metaphor for romantic love.
Coldplay finds themselves in a rare position in their career where their musical competence, willingness to engage, and selfless love combine to create art with the potential to significantly shape culture. The courage Coldplay demonstrates is contagious. As a listener sees how others lovingly engage these challenging topics, they will be inspired to join in. In light of God’s repeated command to “Love your neighbor as yourself,” Christians would do well to listen to this album. Coldplay understands this human connection crosses continents, cultures, and socio-economic classes. They seek to be Good Samaritans who love those in need in practical ways and unconditionally. And Jesus responds to those who hear the story of the Good Samaritan by encouraging them to “Go and do likewise (Luke 10:37).” (Parlophone Records)