'It's a bit like a finale, or a final scene,' the singer says of the group's seventh effort.
Credit: Julia Kennedy

After an intimate, introspective 2014 collection Ghost Stories, Coldplay is back next month with their seventh album, Head Full of Dreams, out December 4. “With what’s going on in the world, I feel very grateful to be alive and in a band with my best friends,” frontman Chris Martin tells EW of the set, which was produced with Norwegian pop production duo Stargate.

Part of the good vibes are a result of the collaborations on the album. There’s a duet with ex-wife Gwyneth Paltrow, spots from their children Apple and Moses, and vocals from Beyoncé and her daughter Blue Ivy.

“She’s all goodness,” Martin says of working with Beyoncé who joins Martin for a track called “Hymn for the Weekend.” “This album is about celebrating and this angel figure kept popping up and I was thinking, ‘Gosh, Beyoncé would be perfect, but she’d never do it.’ One day, we were talking and I was trying to drop the hint, but I didn’t want to be imprudent. And she said I’ll do it.”

Martin and his bandmates — Guy Berryman, Jonny Buckland, and Will Champion — had the concept for Dreams while working on their last album Ghost Stories. “About three or four years ago, when we decided to go down this road of making a really small, intimate album like Ghost Stories, the idea for A Head Full of Dreams came at the same time,” he says “We thought: ‘After making this restrained, intimate album, we won’t tour. Maybe we’ll feel like playing with a bit more jubilation.’ It was really fun to make, which is not what we’ve felt before.”

While Ghost Stories was produced with the help of longtime producer Rik Simpson, Adele producer Paul Epworth and others, they sought out Katy Perry and Rihanna collaborators Stargate for this set. “I met them because I was trying to write songs for Rihanna — it’s my favorite hobby, even though she never really likes them,” Martin says with a laugh. “And we were supposed to do a song for Angelina Jolie’s movie Unbroken. Then I wondered if it would ever work bringing these two worlds together: Coldplay and these guys who make pop music.”

That unlikely pairing has resulted in some of their most uplifting music in years. One highlight: the album opening title track, which Martin is particularly proud of. “It’s my favorite Coldplay song ever. It’s what I always dreamed of singing — now I’m allowed to do it.”

While Martin says A Head Full Of Dreams as “a bit like a finale, or a final scene” for the band, he insists the group aren’t breaking up — nor does he have any ambitions to do a solo album. “If I ever do that, text me and say, Chris, you’ve officially lost it. That would just be awful. I need to be surrounded by people that can tell me to f— off. [Laughs]”

Reporting by Kevin O’Donnell.