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Coldplay – Ghost Stories

May 30, 2014


I have been a Coldplay fan since their debut Parachutes in 2000.  At the time I was a big Radiohead fan who was confused by Kid A.  Coldplay sounded more like Radiohead than Radiohead sounded like Radiohead at the time.  Coldplay has never been a particularly original or innovative band, but man do they know how to execute. They may seem like Radiohead lite or U2 lite, but they do it so well it is impossible to criticize. They followed their debut with a masterpiece of pop: A Rush of Blood to the Head – every song on that album was perfect.  If they did nothing else they would have a place in pop history.

Ghost Stories shows that nearly 20 years into the game they still have their pop chops.  Coldplay is confident enough to step down from the arena stage and make a stripped down and simple affair.  Less anthems, instead quite storms. It is cotton candy, a guilty pop pleasure.

“Always In My Head” starts the album in a in an atmospheric swirl.  It is mellow and whimsical. It abruptly ends.

“Magic”  mashes early pop Radiohead with  John Mayer.

“Ink” invokes Peter Gabriel with lighter lyrics.

“True Love” is pure Coldplay with a rare guitar solo.

“Midnight” is Bon Iver only better – a true ear worm

“Another’s Arms” has a cool sample (Jane Weaver’s Silver Chord) which seems like it was designed for Coldplay.  The female vocal is a very nice variation.

“Oceans” – Every alr-rocker want to be Nick Drake.  Coldplay puts on that mask and spices up the acoustic strum with a sonic cherry on top (a sonar ping in the right channel). It is pretty damn beautiful. It ends with a cool instrumental coda.

“A Sky Full Of Stars” is classic Coldplay – the big epic single.  It is arena ready.  It has a bit of a hip hop feel begging for a rap over or Rihanna cameo. Close your eyes and see the confetti falling through the disco ball shards.  This is a roll your windows down, turn up the volume summer single.

The album ends quietly with a piano ballad “O.”  It is a sonic seagull floating in the wind. It thickens at the end.

The Target bonus CD has three more songs:

  • “All Your Friends” which is a throw away.
  • “Ghost Story” is the brightest add-on – a simple but elegant arrangement that is a  true bonus. In an another era it would have been that obscure, but brilliant B-side single.
  • O (Reprise)” gives us a fat surf guitar: it is dripping – it is soaking.

In summary this is not ground breaking stuff, but it is so perfectly executed you just need to appreciate it as the custard filled Bismark that it is.


From → Music Reviews

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  1. Coldplay – Head Full Of Dreams  | Axl's Catch Groove

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