SONG MEANING: Coldplay’s “A Head Full of Dreams” is about imagined possibilities and hopes for the present and future.
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Coldplay’s new album A Head Full of Dreams is awesome–not only the lyrics, but the music as well. Everything about this groovy disco-experimental album is uplifting as well as dance worthy. Billboard.com refers to Chris Martin explaining that he wants fans to “shuffle [their] feet” to the songs on this album, and as Wife-April and I were listening to it, we realized that even our prime dance style (west coast swing) would work really well with a lot of these songs. (We were pretty excited.)
When a band’s good enough that it can make people want to dance while also making them think, you know you’ve got something special. For that reason, I’m a big fan of A Head Full of Dreams.
I’ve added “A Head Full of Dreams” and several other recent hits to my Spotify playlist “Clifford Stumme’s Pop Prerogative.” Feel free to follow the playlist! (If Coldplay’s song isn’t there yet, they haven’t released it on Spotify yet. Thanks for your patience!)
The Meaning of “A Head Full of Dreams”
In the First Verse, Coldplay lead singer Chris Martin sings, “Oh, I think I’ve landed / In a world I hadn’t seen.” This track opens up the album with a bright, wide-eyed look at the world–a world where anything is possible. Perhaps after the depressing sadness of Coldplay’s last album “Ghost Stories,” Martin, as writer, has come into a new, brighter, and happier place. This is a new world for a person who had been “feeling ordinary” and didn’t “know what [he had meant].” He had been confused, but this world makes everything clearer.
In the second stanza of the verse, he sings, “Oh, I think I’ve landed / Where there are miracles at work.” He knows that this place is something special. His next two lines–“For the thirst and for the hunger / Come the conference of birds”–appears, according to Genius.com, to be a reference to a 12th century poem called “The Conference of the Birds.” In the story, birds go on a quest to seek out a phoenix–a wonderful, mystical bird that could symbolize the dreams that are going through Martin’s head.
In the Refrain, Martin sings, “And say it’s true / It’s not what it seems / Leave your broken windows open / And in the light just streams.” All we have to do to find this place, like he has, is to open ourselves up to it, and the “light” will enter.
In the Chorus, Martin continues to describe what that “light” means for him: “And you get a head / A head full of dreams.” He has begun to dream of something bigger and better than what he had. He sings, “You can see the change you want to / Be what you want to be.” In his dreams, bad things are gone, and he is who he wants to be. He describes this experience as “a love”–it’s exhilarating and emotionally beautiful.
He continues, “I’ve just been spoken / With a head full, a head full of dreams.” I think these lines refer to the power that imagination has in our lives. We can imagine something or dream it so vividly and powerfully that it comes to be real. These imaginings have spoken new life into Martin.
In the Bridge, Martin sings, “I sing, oh, I think I’ve landed / Where there are miracles at work.” He’s here and “open handed” and “lost for words” at his own thoughts of possibility and the future.
“A Head Full of Dreams” is a beautiful, energetic, and exciting song. The song itself doesn’t go much of anywhere other than to set up limitless possibilities for what the other songs on the album A Head Full of Dreams will accomplish and be. I’m excited to continue explaining those songs and hope that you’re excited to read about them!