Album Reviews

Coldplay – Ghost Stories (REVIEW) 2014

I’ll begin this review by asking a straight-forward question: Where did Coldplay go?

The UK band is about to release it’s 6th full-length record, and that question is the only thing to linger in my brain after listening through. With Ghost Stories, the once unstoppable and standard-setting Coldplay is now following the EDM trend along with everyone else. I always wonder what the drummer does with himself when his band releases a record like this.

It’s not just the EDM thing that bugs me this time around, it’s the über-trite lyrics and the feel good La-La melodies. Chris Martin used to write songs that were inspirational and had depth. The lyrics used to be well thought-out and poetic. Now on Ghost Stories, we get phrases just like any Justin Bieber/Miley Cyrus/Rihanna/Etc track:

  • “No I don’t want anybody else but you” – “Magic”
  • “All I know is that I’m lost whenever you’re gone; I see stars begin to shine” – “Ink”
  • “True Love” … the title is all I need to show as an example here
  • “Maybe one day I can fly with you” (with digital bird effects in the background) – “O”

What happened? Coldplay’s songs used to have ups & downs, climaxes, darker songs, uplifting songs, edgy songs, pretty songs. This time around, it’s just so…. linear. The acoustic “Oceans” is probably the most recognizable as a Coldplay track. And I like it. It gives me some hope that they still have it in them to do something worth something. But then you follow it up with the “in-da-club”-inspired “A Sky Full of Stars”, and it’s just mind-numbing. Pulsing piano, a thump-thump dance beat, all repeating and making me want to tear my hair out for 4 minutes and 28 seconds… then finally ending with that U2-patented guitar delay that makes me always ask in my head, “…Why? Are you not aware that everyone notices when you rip off U2?”

“Another’s Arms” is perhaps the most musically interesting track, thanks to Guy Berryman’s bass lines, but what kills the song is the repetition of the lyrics “another’s arms” over and over again. “Always In My Head” has some admirable music to it as well. However if you’ve liked any of the music Coldplay has done in the past, then don’t even bother with the 2 or 3 tolerable tracks on here. They’re nothing notable. Just go listen to their first 4 albums.

Bottom Line: Ghost Stories is just another example of the ever-simplifying pop music genre and it’s audiences. Chris Martin’s voice is the only familiar thing on here, but just barely, and somewhere along the line he forgot how to write lyrics. If 2009’s Mylo Xyloto scared you into thinking Coldplay was on a downhill musical trajectory, then Ghost Stories will only confirm that you weren’t just being paranoid.

Rating: 5/10

Songs to check out:  “Oceans”, “Another’s Arms” (maybe), “Always In My Head” (maybe)