Music of the Spheres is a concept album based around an imaginary solar system called The Spheres. It contains nine planets, three natural satellites, a star and a nebula, with each corresponding to a certain track on the record. Chris Martin sings "Humankind" from the perspective of an alien citizen on the planet Echo, who hears human songs on Alien Radio FM. The Spheres ban music, but rebel DJ Lafrique broadcasts tunes with messages of inclusion and love for all on Alien Radio. For the Echo citizen, the music is exhilarating.
The song starts off with a countdown in Kaotican (the language of another of the planets Kaotica). English actor and writer Stephen Fry recites the countdown in filtered vocals.
Coldplay wrote "Humankind" with the Argentine jazz pianist Federico Vindver, electro singer-songwriter Jon Hopkins, and the song's producers, Max Martin, Daniel Green, Bill Rahko and Oscar Holter. The band struggled with the feel of the song until Max Martin took the reins at the end of the sessions.
"It didn't sound very fresh; it had a good energy, but was maybe just a little bit too rock for us, and he really gave it more of a modern shine," Chris Martin told Apple Music. "It could be from just editing the basic song and the song structure or it could be adjusting slightly the rhythm pattern to make it all stick together better."
The song became a live favorite on the Coldplay's Music Of The Spheres World Tour, so they hired Stevie Rae Gibbs and James Marcus Haney to direct a live performance video. The visual shows the band playing "Humankind" during their four sold-out April 2022 shows at Mexico City's Foro Sol stadium.