Coldplay have taken a lot (and I mean A LOT!) of flak for their latest album, “Ghost Stories”. Everyone is complaining about how far removed it is from their preceding works. They’re saying that Chris Martins break up with Gwyneth Paltrow, his wife of 12 years, has negatively affected his performance, and that we have been served a platter dripping with the woes of a heart broken man.
So… I thought I would take a different approach to this album.
Let’s look at this album for its merits shall we;
The good notes
I mentioned in my post on Imagine Dragons that I would be looking at the album in its entirety, reflecting on the atmosphere as a whole. Cold Play have certainly delivered in this respect. They have taken a lot of old tricks that we associate with their older music and adapted them to create a scene of seemingly unending anguish. (Yes, it’s as depressing as it sounds).
For those looking for some technical jargon, the major and minor sevenths Martin often uses to create tension, are in this case long and drawn out. It creates a fantastic dissonance.
Maybe the break up has seeded itself in the back of our minds and is drawing associations to the music where they possibly shouldn’t be. Ultimately all artists have the prerogative to express themselves through their medium, but I think we owe it to the band to be more objective when listening to their latest labour of love. I wonder if Martin would want us to listen to this album without pitying him. Chris, if by some small chance the size of Mount Everest, you end up reading this, please let us know. 😀
“Ghost Stories” is very well produced, as we would expect from the seasoned veterans. No song sounds disjointed following on from the track before, and there are no jarring modulations that leave you thinking “where did that come from?” Except maybe between “Oceans” and the Avicii collaboration “A sky full of stars”, but it’s a rather welcome change in pace. Some say too little too late.
The bad notes
The first negative point I have is that I honestly cannot think of anything else positive to say. Nothing about this album is particularly memorable. I’m sorry to say it, but there’s just too much synthesized bass beats and auto tuning. It’s a far cry from the emotional guitar riffs and imperfect rhythms
I also said in my post on Noah Gundersens “Ledges”, that it’s a sad fact that so many great songs are born out of some unthinkable situations. Sadly, this is not the case here. Unfortunately, I don’t think the songs on this album will be remembered as well as the likes of “Yellow” or “Trouble” from their debut album “Parachutes”.
The Coldplay story seems to be playing out a lot like Live‘s drastic fall from grace (Pun intended). Their “Throwing Copper” album catapulted them to the top of the charts with songs like “Lightning Crashes” and “I Alone”. They peaked with the album Distance to Here which included the hit single “Dolphins Cry”. It was after they released “V” that things seemed to go pear shaped. Their subsequent albums were no better and, rather frustratingly, they just seemed to fizzle out into obscurity.
After the mild success of “Mylo Xyloto” (I still hate strongly dislike that title), this album has definitely not done the band any favours. It’s a slippery slope, but certainly not the end. Cold Play have given us some magical combinations of sounds and lyrics, and I believe they have a lot more to offer!
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2 June 2014