Published by JB.
“And if you were to ask me
After all that we’ve been through.
Still believe in magic?”
With their Achthung Baby opportunity long behind them now (yeah, it never happened), it’s time for Coldplay to find their place in history while their career reaches a midpoint. Even if Coldplay never receives the critical acclaim they once yearned for, they’ll undeniably go down as one of this generation’s most interesting bands to follow. The larger question often lies in whether or not that inordinate amount of interest was carried along by a truly great band, or just a decent band that had a catchy first single (‘Yellow’). Coldplay burst onto the scene in days of Napster and mp3’s. Everything for them turned to gold at just the right time – just as the internet first truly exploded. Coldplay used that enormous flood of interest during the first few years of the new century to solidify their way into our mainstream for almost 15 years now, whether we wanted it or not. It’s scary to think that Coldplay has been around almost twice as long as the Beatles were. Due to that inordinate amount of early success that permeated for a decade, they’ll forever be linked with the megabands of their time: U2 and Radiohead. That’s what selling out stadiums does to you.
Their new album Ghost Stories still falls into a more predictable sound than the dramatically uneven predecessor Mylo Xyloto. Where Xyloto had the terrible misguided step of having Rhianna provide guest vocals (she’s wonderful in her own right, but you don’t see Bono and Thom Yorke sharing their precious studio time with Katy Perry), Ghost Stories is a back to basics approach. It’s a potpourri of hypnotic-groove pop with cool electro-beats that make it sound as contemporary as we can get in 2014. Quite simply, it doesn’t sound different than any previous Coldplay album at that moment in time, save for their best and most daring album: Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends
What Ghost Stories mostly lacks is any surplus of musical gems. Where Martin’s beautiful falsetto soars at the end of ‘Magic’, it never again lifts the album like that great track does. ‘A Sky Full of Stars’ is the trademark, color-by-numbers Coldplay hit that you can place on any album before and after it. It’s the sing-along hit they needed to stop making ten years ago. The dark color theme of the album and Martin’s divorce will forever be the stamp placed alongside these tracks. The musical result is reasonably innocuous and simple and only seldom does the album transcend their above-average talents. It’s simply Coldplay being Coldplay, which 20 years from now will be looked back as a pretty good thing – just not quite as good as Chris Martin had originally hoped.