Review Summary: Coldplay strips things back
Coldplay are a bit like marmite, you either love them or hate them. Love or hate them, there is no denying over the years they have produced some great tracks which have made many an arena and festival crowd sing along with Martin's every word at the top of their lungs. But as much as sing alongs can be fun, Coldplay have been accused for the last few years of tailoring their music for such. On Ghost Stories
this may have changed.
With the recent uncoupling (most annoying phrase of 2014) of Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow, it is almost the perfect time to release a record based around their relationship. The evidence of hurt is clearly heard from the start on "Always On My Mind" which Martin lament's "I think of you, I haven't slept". It is a nice start with choir like samples and glitchy beats.
Lyrically Martin has for the most part used universal themes on Coldplay albums but Ghost Stories
concentrates on only one them universal themes, and it doesn't take a genius to guess which one it is. This is main downfall of the record. Like many people, I like a love song as much as the next person but when it's sixth grade type lyrics, there is a certain feeling of Martin not trying that hard. Lines such as "All I know, is that I love you so" don't use that much imagination in describing his current state.
The album as a whole isn't necessary a bad record, there are some lovely moments, one being "Midnight". It would not be out of place on an Imogen Heap record building with lovely electronics and vocoder vocals. It is the most atmospheric track on the album and has a beautiful tone that shows Coldplay working outside their comfort zone to admiral results. This atmospheric tone extends to "Oceans", a track that harks back to their debut with the extra electronic touches.
As the album starts to reach its end, we meet the weakest point on the album with "A Sky Full Of Stars" . The song gives the impression of " we need a single ". To be harsh about the track I would go as far to say it is a bit embarrassing. Lyrically and musically it's painfully childish and uninspired, using the same tired EDM sounds heard on countless records. It's a shame the track made it on to the record as it just seems out of place with the somber more atmospheric songs.
The final track "O" is a beautiful dreamy song with piano that seems to just float. At times on the album Martin sounds lost and maybe he could be given his recent break-up. Ghost Stories
isn't going to re-invent the wheel and nor does it try.