Sooner or later, every goliath of modern stadium rock hears the siren call of the discotheque. U2, Radiohead, Arcade Fire -- all have striven to goose their sincerity with syncopation, to inject more fun, more funk, into their big, regal, high-minded songs. Now it's Coldplay's turn. On the band's seventh album, A Head Full of Dreams, Chris Martin and company nervously creep onto the dancefloor, like boys at a junior high school prom, determined to unleash the boogie, white man's overbite be damned. Thus "Adventure of a Lifetime," the first single, which puts a classic disco beat -- percolating bassline, hissing high-hat, hand claps -- behind Martin's tremulous falsetto. The song's sentiments are pure Coldplay. "We are diamonds taking shape," sings Martin. "Everything you want's a dream away."
Martin told an interviewer that the group wanted to make an uplifting album that would prompt fans to "shuffle [their] feet." Listeners familiar with Coldplay might ask if the band has ever made a record that doesn't aim to uplift. For nearly a decade and a half, Coldplay has been the global standard-bearer of Inspiration Rock. Even on Ghost Stories, the moderately downcast 2014 album released in the wake of Martin's marital breakup, the music chimed grandly, and the lyrics tilted in the direction of bombast and bromides. In Coldplay's world, we all have wings, and the band provides the wind.