Coldplay- Ghost Stories Review

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Everyone knows it’s the don thing to make fun of Coldplay. It’s easy to do, they’re a big enough band to take it and it can be rather fun. Especially when targeted at clownish frontman Chris Martin. The band’s new album, their sixth, arrives after much turmoil in the band’s camp. With Martin splitting from long-term celebrity partner Gwyneth Paltrow, something the couple infamously have called a ‘conscious uncoupling’, the band have not been out of the headlines. A more cynical person might speculate overt the convenient timing of the revelation, coming just a few weeks before the band release their new album. Luckily I am that cynical person and I can confidently state that Martin’s split with Paltrow was all a PR stunt to garner interest in the new album. Let the jokes at their expense continue!

 

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Words can’t hurt us…

Getting back to the point, Ghost Stories is largely composed of standard Coldplay fare. It harks back to older albums such as A Rush of Blood to the Head and X and Y and sits very comfortably sonically in between those two albums. The second song released from the album Magic is definitely the best song on the album and melodically is one of the bands superior singles. Its subtle dynamics and understated-ness is indicative of the album as a whole. Equally as down-tempo is album-opener Always in my Head, which introduces the general mood of melancholy that permeates many of the songs.

One song that avoids this general mood of Melancholy is the club-banger Sky Full of Stars. The song is a logical step for the populist band. Upon first hearing it I turned to a friend and exclaimed ‘This sounds like Avicii’ to which I was met with the unsurprising revelation that it was indeed produced by multi-millionaire DJ Avicii. And whilst he has his fanbase, (a considerable one at that I concede), his presence on the album is actually quite depressing, logical given the type of electronic music he makes, but still depressing. Coldplay are not the first established band to draw inspiration from and directly collaborate with new and popular act. However, whenever they have tried it hasn’t ever really come off, bringing to mind the collaboration with Rihanna on their last album. Even co-production from electronica-maestro Jon Hopkins on the track midnight can’t save it from sounding like a Bon Iver knock-off, though admittedly quite an interesting one.

The major dip in the album come in the form of the tracks Ink, a song which sound s like a early-2000s Backstreet Boys song and whose production makes it sound like it was made on a PC running Windows 98. On the opposite end of the spectrum is the track Oceans, a beautiful song which sounds like Jeff Buckley, Mazzy Star and most importantly Old Coldplay. The two songs are indicative of the major inconsistencies that blight the album. Ultimately because of these flaws the album is not one of the bands best, but it is saved by a handful of decent tracks. It is no way near as engrossing enough to hold your attention for long, which sadly means that the most compelling thing about the album is trying to contextualise the lyrics: ‘Is this line about Gwyneth? Is this line about Gwyneth?’

They’re all about Gwyneth mate…

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