GHOST STORIES by Coldplay

In my car right now, I currently have the following albums in my CD player:

This Coldplay album
My Head Is An Animal by Of Monsters and Men
Red by Taylor Swift
The “SuckerPunch” soundtrack
Come by Prince

I’ll probably do another entry further down the road where I discuss the music I’ve been listening to through the course of this winter.

Based on the title alone, I figured this Coldplay album would be good for around Halloween. But after listening to it, I’ve gotten really attached. The music is very soothing, calming and mesmerizing. The track “Sky Full of Stars” automatically makes me think about nighttime. A nice cool winter’s night that smells like chimney smoke with a fresh coat of snow on the ground.
…that’s just what comes to mind for me personally.

Somehow, the rest of the album falls right in line with that vision.

With “Always in my head,” a hint of enchantment lingers in the air. There aren’t much to the lyrics (as is the case of these first couple tracks), but the music is soothing… like floating on a cloud.

When I first heard “Magic,” right away, I was spellbound. I loved this song so much that it was hard not to press repeat 😛 very easy-going, like gliding along, either in the clouds or on an ice rink. Not that I would know about that from a personal perspective, but I still get that visual.
The vocal range is REALLY beautiful, especially when Chris Martin gets into his falsetto past the two minute mark.

“Ink” changed things up by adding more percussion. Pounding lightly on bangos and drums. There’s more of a lament of lost love here than has been previously heard on the record. That all the critics and naysayers have called “Chris Martin’s Gwyneth Paltrow break-up album.”

I saw a behind the scenes clip with him talking about “Sky full of stars,” how he came up with the inspiration for it, and he said this album is more than just a break-up record. It’s about losing love, things falling apart, and trying to find a way to fix it.

But to me, “Ink” feels like it’s outside of Coldplay’s wheelhouse and that’s a good thing. You can’t have every song sounding exactly the same or it gets boring. It continues the same vibe previously set by the other tracks, but mixes it up and moves it in a unique direction. The lyrics are more concrete and visual. Unlike the previous tracks, which created more of an atmosphere than tell a story.
Both things are important to me when it comes to music. I just want to make that clear.

“True Love”… I always thought it was called “Lie to me” because the chorus repeats “tell me you love me, if you don’t, lie… to me.”
But anyway, the lyrics are trivial here because they’re a little repetitious and not particularly deep. But I love the melodic nature of them.

“Midnight”… I thought was called “Darkness” because the opening lyrics are “In the darkness”… this was one of two tracks that I took issue with the first time I listened through the album. I was really enjoying the vibe of the music so far and this took me out of that. The fantasy bubble was burst by auto-tuning. Mainly because I couldn’t understand any of the lyrics.
This and track 7 were initial weak points because the lyrics were unintelligible. With the latter, it sounded like Chris Martin was just lamenting and pining for Gwyneth and so on…

But driving early in the morning with this track, it still being dark outside with the sun barely up, it fits into that atmosphere so well that the lyrics don’t matter.

“Another’s Arms” has some beautiful backing vocals that begin the track and come into play after every chorus. The magic from the two intro tracks returns with a lament of lost love. The music goes on to continue doing what Coldplay does best… transport you to another universe, another world.

track 7- “Oceans”- I couldn’t really understand most of the lyrics. Like I said, it sounded just like Chris Martin mourning the loss of his marriage with a lot of unintelligible oohing and aahing.

The thing is, though, when I’m driving on my commute… it’s easier to get swept up in an album as a whole. Even though I’d much rather skip ahead to “Sky Full of Stars,” it doesn’t feel natural to make that sudden leap.
“Oceans” has vocals and lyrics and such… it’s very drawn out, but after the song ends, the track goes quiet with a high humming in the background that continues for at least 2 minutes before the next track begins… it makes for an easier transition from one track to another.

Prince is under the impression people don’t invest in albums anymore with the introduction of iTunes and such… I want to do my best to prove him wrong. And in times like these, it’s really not that difficult. It’s easier just to keep the album going without skipping around. Somehow, it makes the beginning of “Sky Full of Stars” all the more special… because it suddenly arrives on its own, kinda like a surprise waiting around the corner. Despite the fact I know exactly where one track ends and another begins, I like easing into it. Especially because at this part of the trip, I’m merging onto another highway where I can really open up.

“Sky Full of Stars” was the reason why I had to get the album. Just like “Paradise” talked me into the previous Coldplay album. And “Viva La Vida” for the one before that.
And just today, I finally nailed the lyrical differentiation between chorus 1 and 2.
“I think I saw you”… then it changes to “I think I see you.”

Chris Martin said in the behind-the-scenes video I watched that he worked with Avicii on the production for this. Based on “Wake me up” and “Hey Brother,” it didn’t surprise me to hear that at all. He kinda described the song as a much needed adrenaline rush at that part of the record. Considering how easy-going a lot of it is, I don’t blame him. We needed something just like this to not only keep things from getting monotonous, but to give listeners another reason to smile.

The final track is simply called “O”… but I figured “A Flock of Birds” would be more apt.
It’s another smooth track with some delicately articulated piano playing. Beautiful. The Shibutani Twins recently put together an Ice Dance to this music at the U.S. National Championship gala… probably one of the best musical pairings with an ice skating program I’d ever seen…
it’s a hopeful end to the album. A lot of birds tend to mate for life, so he’s dreaming about moving forward with the perfect mate, whether it’s Gwyneth or someone else

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