Coldplay Tones It Down … For Better Or Worse


You either hate Coldplay and heap scorn upon them, or you like them and feel the need to peevishly defend them and/or your musical taste in the face of the former. Well, I’m in the latter group. I really like Coldplay. (So there! Nyah!)

But man, I wish I liked their new album more.

Ghost Stories is melancholy and understated. A step back from the busy production of their last album Mylo Xyloto isn’t a bad thing (even though I quite like that album). Some of the songs here, “Always In My Head” and “Oceans” in particular, even feel like they could fit comfortably on their debut album Parachutes. Unfortunately, the songs themselves pale in comparison to both of those albums. There’s nothing particularly memorable here, save for the first two singles, “Magic” and “A Sky Full of Stars,” both of which keep getting stuck in my head. This, sadly, is not a good thing.

I can’t begrudge Chris Martin a stay in Bummerville – divorce sucks even for the rich and fabulous. And as much as I’m a sucker for their uplifting, confetti-showering anthems, I can appreciate a band willing to move to the mellower side.

Again – if only the songs were better.

A few of them stand out. The early sneak-peak song “Midnight,” easily my favorite track on the album, sounds like Martin has been locked in his room with nothing but Bon Iver records. And then there’s “A Sky Full of Stars,” which stands out in a bad way. It comes in toward the end to give a bit of uplift (and you know this is where the confetti cannons will show up in the live shows), and it’s almost successful. It’s a decent song marred by the irritating and completely unnecessary signature bleeps and skreeks of producer Avicii (thankfully only in action on this song).

While I’m initially disappointed, maybe it’ll grow on me. I didn’t come around to their last album until after I heard the songs in concert. I’m willing to give this record a shot as well, even if I can’t imagine these songs leading to a euphoric concert experience that would cause a change of heart.


Alicia is a Midwest transplant who loves Seattle but misses thunderstorms. Her musical obsessions began when her coolest aunt gave her a copy of K-Tel’s Rock 80 album for Christmas when she was 7. She spent many years studying piano and voice, but the force of rock and roll won, so while she still sings in a local chorale, her true musical passions lie more with The Beatles than with Beethoven. When she’s not working at her job in HR, she can be found singing bad pop songs at the top of her lungs … although sometimes she does that