I discovered Coldplay’s music like someone looking for water and instead laying hands on an oil well. In middle of a smoldering summer of 2008 when blood and stones flew abundantly in Kashmir, I found peace. It was an unmusical time compounded by harsh sounds of bullets and teargas shells. Music was a vestige, like the forgotten verses of Lal Ded. On lips, in hearts, were the songs of mourning and what it promised – freedom. Coldplay elevated me to a sudden state of upliftment. Coldplay’s music sounded distinct, yet profoundly earthly. They had an ethereal quality to it which was heightened by Chris Martin’s deeply ecstatic voice.
Six years on, my appreciation of Coldplay has grown from an odd fascination to a zealous fan with minor hiccups like Mylo Xyloto shaking my belief a little. Thankfully with Ghost Stories, my faith is restored. Ghost Stories carry water, an album reincarnating Coldplay from the debris of popular culture which Mylo Xyloto and Viva La Vida had pushed them into.
What’s positive about Ghost Stories is that this album meets the Coldplay image of an alternative British act known for its range in bringing easygoing, yet profound music to listeners all over the world. The album flows like a tranquil river going about its course, unperturbed by the ebbs and flows.
Introductory tracks, Always in my head and Magic are opposites in sound, yet the flourish of meditative romance brims in both. Most of us will find Magic that one song we can turn to at any hour of the day. The somber falsetto of Chris Martin reaches its zenith in this song but it’s nowhere near the optimism of songs like Yellow and Fix You. It often appears unfair to compare an album with the band’s earlier one, but Coldplay have set high standards for themselves with albums like X&Y and Parachutes. That comparison is hard to miss.
Ink and Anothers Arms are two standout tracks from the album with True Love making listening to the album a pleasurable and profound experience. Ghost Stories, unlike Viva La Vida , is uniform and compact. There are hardly any tracks which look out of place.
Ghost Stories is an album buzzing with emotions of love lost to bitter fallouts. Here lead vocalist Chris Martin’s break away from wife Gwyneth Paltrow can’t be understated as tracks Another’s Arms and True Love signify. However, it lends the album a lazy aura of a sad lover whining tirelessly to a world which doesn’t bother to listen. The songs drag you into a state of lament, which Coldplay heavily drools out, in the process making it a tad dull. Ghost Stories veers towards this symptom more often than not and this quality makes it a pitiable version of songs like The Scientist and Clocks .
Ghost Stories is melodious but the album lacks imagination. The lyrics are ordinary but rendered well in sound so much so that you tend to forget the simplicity of it all. The plainness of song writing in Coldplay songs begs a consideration – This is a band which has churned out relatively simpler, affirmative and soul-pleasing songs without sounding high-strung. For this quality, Ghost Stories balances itself quite well.
Originally published here — https://archive.authintmail.com/article/reporters-journal/ghost-stories-review