If you’re aware of ‘Hymn For The Weekend”s backstory, you’d be forgiven for approaching it with a sense of dread. Coldplay frontman Chris Martin recently explained that in its original form, the track was inspired by a mix of Flo Rida songs and DJ Snake/Lil Jon’s ‘Turn Down For What’. “I thought I’d like to have a song called ‘Drinks On Me’ where you sit on the side of a club and buy everyone drinks because you’re so fucking cool.”
Don’t give up hope on it yet. Thankfully – as Guy Berryman revealed last night – the rest of the band told him, “Look: you can’t get away with that.” Thus, the weird, pseudo-macho fantasy of “drinks on me” morphed into the angel-inspired, Beyoncé-sung “drink from me”, a sort of love-drunk metaphor that could actually sound pretty dirty if it wasn’t coming from that nice Chris Martin.
Opening with a haze of ethereal, understated lyrics from Queen Bey, it transpires the song’s about being really high, man – high from love. Soon Martin’s swaggering, handclap-backed keyboard line jumps in alongside punchy, minimal percussion from Will Champion. Perhaps it’s the addition of Beyoncé’s unmistakeable vocal on the chorus; perhaps it’s the R&B beats and trumpets; either way, this is the least ‘Coldplay’ Coldplay have ever sounded, and they manage to do it without sounding like bandwagon-jumping dilettantes.
That’s possibly thanks to shrewd production choices from their new producers, Norwegian duo Stargate, who have been working with Rihanna for years. The lack of attention they pay to Beyoncé is a bit of a surprise – she’s barely more than a backing singer, seemingly just there to facilitate the jump from pop into R&B – but that’s a wise choice. Neither of the acts really dominate.
All of this adds up to what would be a pretty irresistible track, if not for the lyrics, which feel try-hard even after getting rid of the cringeworthy ‘drinks on me’ line. That new album is starting to look like one of the year’s most interesting releases.