If Coldplay thought a little thing like a name change was going to stop people from being able to spot their handiwork, they were very much mistaken. ‘E-Lo’, released earlier today (November 27), might be credited to Los Unidades – a mysterious “new signing” to Parlophone – but it was very clearly borne from the brains of Chris Martin and co.
The track is billed as a collaboration with Pharrell and Jozzy, the Memphis musician who co-wrote this year’s Diplo-produced official World Cup anthem, but it’s Coldplay who take the spotlight here. In fact, you could listen through to the whole song and not pick up on Pharrell’s voice, so inconspicuous are his vocals. He echoes fragments of Martin’s lines here and there, almost whispering them into the mix.
Unlike Pharrell’s presence, the true identities of Los Unidades are immediately clear. Before you hear almost anything else, there’s Martin’s voice, swooping through the kind of melody and rhythm he’s become synonymous with – poised, almost euphoric, but with an air of zen to it – as he declares: “And there’s nowhere I’d rather be.“
That opening line might suggest he wants to stay in one place but, musically, the track picks from a host of global influences. There are chilled but zipping synths that are similar to those in any number of blissful EDM tracks blaring out of radios across America right now. The rhythms evoke carnival imagery, bright and vibrant, but without pulling too much focus. There are Latin tinges that peek out every now and then and a touch of very British restraint lest the party get a little too raucous.
Those country-spanning sounds considered, it’s fitting that the song should arrive as part of a new EP curated by Martin for charity Global Citizen. The whole new name thing might have been the least strenuous treasure hunt of all time but it’s probably generated even more intrigue and excitement than your standard “Coldplay release new song” headlines might, gaining even more attention for something that’s doing good in the world (Global Citizen aim to end poverty, amongst other things). Let’s be real – what’s more Coldplay than that?