Coldplay are due to drop their seventh album, A Head Full Of Dreams, on Dec. 4, which is extraordinarily soon. The band confirmed as much on Friday via a tweet and a debut of their brand-new single, "Adventure Of A Lifetime," a funky little disco-esque number that strays a bit far from what the band's done in the past.
The new album boasts collaborations with Tove Lo, Oasis' Noel Gallagher and Beyoncé -- yes, seriously. More importantly, it represents the seventh entry in a career that's gone down just about every road it could have since the four boys began in London over 15 years ago.
The group -- Chris Martin, Guy Berryman, Will Champion and Jonny Buckland -- have evolved their style to match the tone and subject matter of each record, and it appears A Head Full Of Dreams will follow suit. But it's been so long since their debut album, Parachutes, first came into our lives. So, naturally, we decided a refresher was only appropriate.
Here's Coldplay's evolution, as told by their seven studio albums.
Key Song: "Yellow." There's no denying it: It's likely the first Coldplay song you ever heard (or maybe that was "Clocks" because you were a late bloomer?) and it's also the one that pretty much drew the roadmap for their career. Sensitive acoustic folk with huge, skyscraping choruses -- they did it well, and did it right from the start.
Key Look: Fresh-faced, buzz-cutted lads in loose T-shirts. Undergrad. Earnest.
Key Song: "The Scientist." The song used in dozens of movies and TV scenes for those extra feels, it's also the one that effectively solidified Coldplay's spot in the stadium-band game. If they hadn't gone big on their second album, they very likely would've had to go home.
Key Look: Slightly scruffier. Less gleeful. Serious, but not too serious (yet). Casual threads. Grad students.
Key Song: "Fix You." At this point, you either despised everything Coldplay was or you loved it. And if no matter which one it was, this was the song that cemented your feelings. It's also why the band had to totally reinvent themselves on their next album, both musically and stylistically.
Key Look: Serious. Very serious. Black-clad artists. Activists. Adults.
Key Song: "Viva La Vida." The ultimate Apple ad, "Viva La Vida" was also a grand re-positioning of Coldplay's goals and abilities as songwriters. This isn't a "rock" song the way we'd come to expect one from the band that had become (probably) the biggest rock band in the whole world. It also suggested the wide open roads that lied ahead of them.
Key Look: Road-weary troubadours. Battle-worn survivors. The folkie OG Mumford clan.
Key Song: "Paradise." The superballad that likely re-swayed you back into Coldplay's warm embrace. It was bright and beautiful like a sunset (or a sunrise) and resonated in the inner depths you didn't think you had. And it was, somehow, even bigger than anything else they'd done.
Key Look: Electro DayGlo warriors. Club superstars. Eastern-European kings of the 1980s.
Key Song: "A Sky Full Of Stars." How do you go bigger once you've reached the outer expanses of the universe? You retreat, tactfully, into the quiet of the cosmic sky. Between this one and "Magic," Ghost Stories comprised a very delicate range of emotions -- and you probably felt them all.
Key Look: Unassuming but worldly dudes that are actually still one of the biggest bands on the entire planet.
Key Song: "Adventure Of A Lifetime." It's the only one we've heard so far, but with a Dec. 4 release date, the seemingly disco-infused A Head Full Of Dreams is looking to be yet another colorful entry in Coldplay's rainbow-palette discography. They've done pretty much everything else, so why not go full disco? They've earned that chance.
Key Look: Colorful. Buoyant. Downright giddy. Youthful. Ready to do the damn thing.