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Interview:
The Listening Room: Coldplay, R. Kelly, Bruce Springsteen, "Detroit Jazz City" and more
 

By GARY GRAFF
Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

» See more SOUND CHECK

Coldplay:

"A Head Full of Dreams"

(Parlophone/Atlantic)

Grade: B+


Coldplay's Chris Martin is not exactly the kind of guy you expect to "forget the world and its weight" -- especially after the melancholy murk of 2013's "Ghost Stories." But the British quartet's seventh solo album is, in fact, relentlessly and unapologetically upbeat, fusing U2-style anthemics and contemporary urban-tinged pop with the sunniest outlook, start-to-finish, that Martin and his mates have mustered to dates. Even the tracks that nod to darker times (most likely breakups with wife Gwyneth Paltrow and subsequent squeeze Jennifer Lawrence) go for the positive spin ("Nothing's too broken to find a way back/So...Before you run/Didn't we have fun?"). The tunes follow suit, starting with the galloping title track and the pulsing "Birds," while co-producers Stargate and Rik Simpson give Coldplay a decidedly contemporary sonic footing on the Beyonce-featuring "Hymn For the Weekend," "Fun" and the dancey, uptown funk of "Army Of One." U.S. President Barack Obama is sampled on two tracks, while Paltrow sings on the richly melodic and redemptive "Everglow" and both Oasis alumnus Noel Gallagher and vocal force of nature Merry Clayton bring more heft to the buoyant album closer "Up&Up." "We're going to get it together," Martin and the chorale proclaim on the latter, and Coldplay certainly did just that this time out.

New & Noteworthy:

Babyface, "Return of the Tender Lover" (Def Jam): The singer-writer-producer goes for the slow burn on his 10th studio album, with a guest appearance by El DeBarge on one track.

R. Kelly, "The Buffet" (RCA): He starts with "Poetic Sex" -- need we say more? Ty Dolla $ign, Juicy J, Lil Wayne, Tinashae and more are along for the ride.

Rick Ross, "Black Market" (Maybach/Def Jam): The Deep South rapper's eight studio album is stocked with guest appearances from Mary J. Blige, Mariah Carey, John Legend, Nas, Cee-Lo Green and more.

Troye Sivan, "Blue Neighbourhood" (Capitol): The debut album from the Australian singer, actors and YouTube sensation in "X-Men Origins: Wolverine"

Bruce Springsteen, "The Ties That Bind: The River Collection" (Columbia): Springsteen lovingly documents his most prolific period on this four-CD, three-DVD immersion, an engrossing "River" cruise that makes those days seem that much more glorious.

Various Artists, "Detroit Jazz City" (Blue Note): Detroit native Don Was, who now runs Blue Note Records, curated this collection of Detroit jazz icons both old and contemporary, from Byrd to Belgrave to Barefield.

Also Out: John Abercrombie, "The First Quartet" (ECM); Danny Barnes, "Get Myself Together (Ten Years Later)" (Eight 30); Bloody Red Saints, "Speedway" (Frontiers); Chris Brown, "Before The Party" (mixtape); Curren$y, "Canal Street Confidential" (Jet Life/Atlantic); Find Me, "Dark Angel" (Frontiers); G-Eazy, "When It's Dark Out" (RCA); Ice Nine Kills, "Every Trick in the Book" (Fearless); Khymera, "The Grand Design" (Frontiers); "James Lavelle Presents UNKLE Sounds -- Naples" (Global Underground); Johnny Marr, "Adrenalin Baby -- Johnny Marr Live" (New Voodoo); Pimp C, "Long Live the Pimp" (Mass Appeal); Placebo, "MTV Unplugged" (Universal); The Raz Band, "Madison Park" (self-released); Jonn Del Toro Richardson, "Tengo Blues" (VizzTone); Sunn O))), "Kannon" (Southern Lord); Swans, "White LIght From the Mouth of Infinity" (Young God); The Vamps, "Wake Up" (Island); Voodoo Circle, "Whisky Fingers" (AFM); Zoe, "8.11.14" (EMI Latin);

From The Vaults: Allman Brothers Band, "Idlewild South" (UMG); Dave Brubeck, "Best of 1952-1962" (Real Gone Jazz); Johnny Cash, "Live in Denmark 1971" (Columbia Legacy); Creed, "With Arms Wide Open: A Retrospective" (Concord); The Dictators, "The Dictators Go Crazy! 40th Anniversary Remastered & Expanded Edition" (Real Gone); Fleetwood Mac, "Tusk (Deluxe Edition)" (Warner Bros./Rhino); Grateful Dead, "Dick's Picks Vol. 3: Pembroke Pines, Florida 5/22/77" (Deadnet); Bette Midler, "A Gift of Love"; (Atlantic); Roy Orbison, "One of the Lonely Ones" and "The MGM Years" (Orbison); Them, "Complete Them 1964-1967" (Legacy)

Soundtracks: "Arrow: Season 3" (La-La Land); "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2" (Republic); "School of Rock -- The Musical: Original Broadway Cast Recording" (Atlantic); "Truth -- Original Motion Picture Soundtrack" (Varese Sarabande)

New Holiday Albums: Rocknoceros, "Happy Holidays From Rocknoceros" (Rockno)

New Music DVDs: Placebo, "MTV Unplugged" (Universal); "Roger Waters The Wall" (Universal)

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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