Coldplay’s Ghost Stories

Posted by Greg on Jun 30, 2014 in Music |

Ghost Stories, the new album from British chart-toppers Coldplay is by far the band’s weakest lyrical album. Then again, Chris Martin has never been a master wordsmith/lyrical charmer. But for all the lyrical deficiencies, the band’s new disc is sonically their most daring and at times, one of their most rewarding. But, make no mistake about it, Ghost Stories is more than anything, a Chris Martin solo record. Nowhere on the disc does it feel like Coldplay as a band are contributing. Oh sure there’s a rhythm section and guitars but who can really hear it amid all the humming of the machinated noises and studio tricks that absolutely drench this album. If you told me Martin recorded this in his bedroom, I’d be hard pressed to think otherwise.

Issue two goes to whoever it is that felt it was a wise idea to release a wintry, nocturnal breakup album in the middle of spring. These are the days the Northern Hemisphere lives for: beach weekends, barbecues. Nowhere in that algorithm does Martin’s divorce (blow by blow) factor into this equation. From start to finish, very little, if any, of Ghost Stories feels like summer. This is a deeply melancholic and morse effort with few, if any, bright moments. That being written, one can credit the band for staying current and catering to the EDM masses. In trying so hard to be both despondent (”Midnight”) and danceable, they’ve forsaken the ebullience and triumphant nature that drenched their last two albums.

Granted, “Sky Full of Stars,” is indeed one of their best pop hits and a few others (”Another’s Arms,” “O,” “Oceans”) have the spartan intimacy of Parachutes, but this album wobbles way too heavily towards both self-indulgence and sonic alienation. More albums like this and I’m off the Coldplay train, a ride I’ve been happy to be on since 2001.

Ah, hell, maybe I should give the band a break, after all even stalwarts like U2 had albums like Pop, and Ghost Stories is nowhere near as wretched as that.


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