Best of the B Sides: “Always In My Head”

I know, I know that I unreservedly bashed Coldplay‘s latest album Ghost Stories (2014) over the summer. I’m not quite retracting my review, but I’m amending it this week to bring you a truly beautiful track from Ghost Stories that’s deserving of recognition. A small reminder that in the shadow of the truly awful track “A Sky Full of Stars” there is hope that Coldplay’s songwriting prowess and musical ingenuity haven’t quite sold out yet.

“Always In My Head” pulls together many of Coldplay’s best skills for a moving album opener. First of all, the employment of space is back. The dedication to expansion and movement not just throughout the song but within the music itself is craftily revived, a trick they used in full force on Viva la Vida (2008). The sound echoes, filling a wide scope, as if the song was recorded in a cathedral (which some of Viva actually was). The lilting melodies and subtle guitar refrains give “Always In My Head” the balance and grace that much of Ghost Stories is missing. It’s as if Coldplay had two directions in which they could go — one, their old formula, just grown; two, pop — and they couldn’t decide.

Frontman Chris Martin‘s vocals don’t go overboard here, toeing the line between his signature lofty pitch and his more rooted singing. It keeps the song light, dynamic, and effortless. Much of the rest of Ghost Stories feels overworked, overthought, and overwrought. “Always In My Head,” along with “Midnight,” provide an elegance that the album so desperately needs. Between the two of them, I can find enough redeeming qualities to call Ghost Stories a passable album. That being said, I think it’s no secret that I’m a huge Coldplay fan, so maybe I just want to like the album, but “Always In My Head” is, er, always in my head. I’m still hoping that this isn’t Coldplay’s final bow and that the band has one more Viva la Vida left in them.

Image courtesy of the artist.

1 Comment

  1. Lauren S

    March 1, 2015 at 12:52 pm

    I’m not a huge Coldplay fan but this is a very beautiful song.

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