"Princess of China"

These new songs – all debuted live in recent months but not yet released in studio versions – suggest Coldplay's forthcoming album may be more gritty, fun, strange and (yes) danceable than any so far: a Zooropa to the Unforgettable Fire of 2008's Viva la Vida. "Hurts Like Heaven" opened their Lollapalooza set with a word rush that occasionally recalled LCD Soundsystem's "All My Friends," plus some outstanding guitar asides. Broadcast on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, "Charlie Brown" (not the Coasters' 1959 hit, alas) triangulates Springsteen, U2 and Arcade Fire in a hood-rat oratorio that roars even if Chris Martin's delivery feels too genteel. "Us Against the World" (debuted at the Rock am Ring festival in Germany) is an anthemic ballad with sweet harmony vocals from drummer/secret weapon Will Champion. Most interesting may be "Princess of China," with a dubby drum track so huge, it apparently blew out all the bootleggers' mics in Nuremberg.

Listen to "Princess of China":

Related
Coldplay's "Us Against the World": Three and a Half Stars
Coldplay's "Hurts Like Heaven": Three and a Half Stars
Coldplay's "Charlie Brown": Two and a Half Stars
Photos: Coldplay and More at Lollapalooza 2011
Photos: Coldplay's Live Spectacle
Video: Coldplay Performs 'Charlie Brown' on 'Jimmy Kimmel Live'
Video: Coldplay's 'Every Teardrop is a Waterfall'

From The Archives Issue 1138: September 1, 2011