Coldplay – Kaleidoscope: I want something just like about 40% of this.

2017_Coldplay_KaleidoscopeEPArtist: Coldplay
Album: Kaleidoscope EP
Year: 2017
Grade: B

In Brief: While I feel like this EP’s release was a bit overhyped, and I’m not inclined to trust rumors of the band having recorded their final album, there are some genuinely exciting new directions taken here that I’d love to see the band explore a little further… and also some embarrassing attempts at pop culture relevance that I wish they’d bury once and for all.

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Paper Route – Real Emotion: Love is every shade of blue.

2016_paperroute_realemotionArtist: Paper Route
Album: Real Emotion
Year: 2016
Grade: A

In Brief: A more expansive and immersive album than Paper Route’s first two, that stretches their sound in a lot of interesting ways while remaining true to their band-driven synthpop/electronic rock origins. Absence is a tough record to beat, but this one comes darn close.

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The Temper Trap – Thick as Thieves: We just want you to feel safe and sound.

2016_TheTemperTrap_ThickasThievesArtist: The Temper Trap
Album: Thick as Thieves
Year: 2016
Grade: B-

In Brief: The Temper Trap’s third album reprises pretty much everything they did well on Conditions, minus that album’s hodgepodge feel. Distancing themselves from the more electronic sound of their self-titled second album doesn’t strike me as a huge positive or negative, but I’m mildly disappointed that the band isn’t really adding anything new to their signature style this time around.

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Coldplay – A Head Full of Dreams: Quit while you’re a head.

2015_Coldplay_AHeadFullofDreamsArtist: Coldplay
Album: A Head Full of Dreams
Year: 2015
Grade: B-

In Brief: An enjoyably upbeat, albeit overly mushy and commercialized, record that I’d be willing to accept as a decent swansong if Coldplay actually followed through on their threat to call it quits after seven albums.

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Falling Up: These tears, they build me up a house, then they pour on down and wash the house away.

2015_FallingUp_FallingUpArtist: Falling Up
Album: Falling Up
Year: 2015
Grade: A

In Brief: As immediate as it is ornate and downright inscrutable. Falling Up took their time to get their farewell album right, and while Hours remains my personal favorite entry in their discography, one could easily make the case for this being their magnum opus.

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MuteMath – Vitals: I never meant to have to start all over.

2015_MuteMath_VitalsArtist: MuteMath
Album: Vitals
Year: 2015
Grade: B

In Brief: It’s their most upbeat and optimistic record since their self-titled, but it’s not as musically ambitious as that record or Odd Soul. While that makes it a lesser MuteMath record on the level of Armistice, it’s absolutely still worth a listen.

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Metric – Pagans in Vegas: Just keep going strong with whatever it is that’s compelling you on.

2015_Metric_PagansinVegasArtist: Metric
Album: Pagans in Vegas
Year: 2015
Grade: B

In Brief: For the first eight tracks, it’s a solid synthpop/indie rock record, easily as strong as some of the best material on Fantasies. Unfortunately things go south for the last four tracks, especially on the closing instrumental suite.

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