Listening to "Hypnotized", I often couldn't decide whether I was genuinely moved, agitated, or distracted by its unabashed commercial sweetness.
Andrew Paschal: In the grand scheme of things, there may yet be a place for sentimental music. Who hasn't wallowed in songs like this just to indulge in the sheer emotionality of it all? Listening to "Hypnotised", I often couldn't decide whether I was genuinely moved, agitated, or distracted by its unabashed commercial sweetness. Commercial in the sense that it sounds like it's trying to sell you something, like an ad promising a beautiful, fulfilling life if you just book a particular vacation or buy a certain piece of jewelry. Coldplay cast the spell effectively in places, but the song's greatest error is its six-minute length, more than enough time to catch onto the band's ruse. The effect wears off before the song is even over. [5/10]
Paul Carr: Although their embracing of EDM has grown over the last couple of albums, there has always been a band at the center of Coldplay’s sound. Not a rock band in the traditional sense but a band who are prepared to challenge the expectations of the music that a rock band should produce. Unsurprisingly, this song continues in the same vein as previous album A Head Full of Dreams but comes across as more of a companion piece rather than an off-cut. It starts as a simple enough piano ballad supplemented by blinking, twinkling synths which firmly places it in the here and now of modern pop music. The song is appended by subtle slide guitar playing and luscious, unobtrusive strings. It seems to consciously avoid a big stirring, “Coldplay-esque” finale. Instead, the band is happy to melodiously let it drift. It probably won’t change anyone’s mind but judged on its own merits it is a beautiful modern pop ballad. [7/10]
Adriane Pontecorvo: "Hypnotised" is a little underwhelming, an easy, pretty song with a simple piano line and an even simpler string accompaniment that sounds like it’s meant to add grandeur, but isn’t quite up to the task. On the other hand, Coldplay used to be able to make an easy, pretty song into an aching, stunning masterpiece, so this is a refreshing step back toward the roots that the group has tried to distance itself from for the last decade and change. It starts out pleasant enough, with a hint of the painful beauty that was once Coldplay’s signature, and the build is good, but where it goes -- faux-orchestral and full anthem -- is trite and falls flat. [4/10]
John Bergstrom: I have had hangnails with more soul than Coldplay, and "Hypnotised" does nothing to change that. It's pretty at first, but so is the music they play in the corridor at O'Hare airport. Also, it's unfortunate the band were conned into including Chris Martin's lyrics in this "lyric video", and thus literally made to spell out mind-boggling yet still cringeworthy lines like "pouring to put out the pain". [3/10]
Mike Schiller: In terms of pure sound, this is the Coldplay of Ghost Stories, with a little bit of X&Y synth color mixed in. The problem is, these are Coldplay's -- and particularly Chris Martin's -- worst tendencies in full view. It's a song that can't decide whether it's a love song, or a socially-conscious anthem, or a paean to self-improvement. Martin goes in so many directions with his lyrics, on top of the treacly piano-heavy wish-wash that is Coldplay's default serious-business sound, that they end up with a song striving to be important without ever saying anything. That drum fade-in at the two-minute mark is top notch, though. [4/10]
Steve Horowitz: Coldplay like to frame their thoughts and emotions in lyrics and melodies that distance the listener. That’s why some people love ‘em. They are formally beautiful. The artifice has purposeful structure and decoration. Others dis the band for this very same reason. The music offers no feeling. This song will reinforce both views. The cries entombed in the production suggest a looking backward rather than living in the moment. Mostly though, this is meh. [5/10]
Scott Zuppardo: So I guess these cats are even trying to huddle under the "Americana" umbrella now, there IS some lap steel guitar fills in this garbage song after all. Mindless, cantankerous layers of nothing creative. I think the goal was to play every single instrument in the studio during tracking. [2/10]
This song will appear on Coldplay's upcoming Kaleidoscope EP releasing 2 June.