Coldplay’s Ghost Stories gives listeners goosebumps

Rami Chaudhry, A&E Editor

Ever since Coldplay’s ascension as a band of new millennium “rock gods,” their soaring melodies and stadium-filling songs have continued to capture the hearts of fans around the world. However, as of late, the British band has taken a step back from the signature sound that made it popular in the first place.

With its newly-released studio album, Ghost Stories, the gap between the band’s old and new ways has only grown. But even though the album is not so much a return to musical form, it is most definitely a return to subject matter.

Coldplay is known for its depressing yet uplifting ballads, focused on overused themes of love or lack thereof. The band adopts these themes yet again in Ghost Stories’ understated and bittersweet hymns. They were no doubt inspired by the troubled marriage of  lead singer Chris Martin.

Martin attempts to tell the story of a man going through an unexpected breakup within the album’s nine songs. Each song encompasses Martin’s emotions, which include nostalgia, depression, and acceptance.

The album begins with the ear-melting whisper of “Always in my Head”; an ambient and hushed opener that sets the album on course for Coldplay’s most emotional outing yet.

Listeners are then abruptly taken aback by the awkwardness of Coldplay’s weakest single to date, “Magic.” Chris Martin’s voice is somewhat irritating in “Magic” when compared to his other smooth melodies.

However, this song is only a minor setback, and listeners are sent on their way to enjoy the more optimistic and catchy “Ink” and the melancholy yet enjoyable “Another’s Arms.”

The highlight of the record comes in the form of the synth-infused second single from Ghost Stories, “Midnight.” This song takes a hypnotizing look at a disoriented and heartbroken Martin.

Unfortunately, it is without a doubt that “Midnight” will be overshadowed by the popular, Avicii-produced, “A Sky Full of Stars,” which is nothing more than an EDM-infused song clearly made for the radio.

In the album closer ,“O,” Martin turns into a ghost as he unsuccessfully chases a flock of birds. Using the birds as an effective, albeit cheesy metaphor, he tells his listeners quite simply that some love stories are temporary and fleeting.

Ghost Stories serves its purpose as a sentimental break-up album, but does not serve as a return to form that many fans crave. And, at just over 40 minutes, the album feels like a half-baked conceptual project that relies too much on post-production techniques.

Thankfully, a few standout tracks save this short album from being a complete letdown.