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4.4 out of 5 stars1,079
4.4 out of 5 stars
Format: VinylChange
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on 21 May 2014
Okay, I've read the reviews from people saying this is not what they were expecting, they wanted more in your face, catchy, jump-up and down songs. All I can say is that there are enough of those kinda albums out at the moment, and most of them are about as deep, personal and meaningful as a slap in the face. Here Coldplay have gone against the expected, and triumphed, in my opinion, with an album not afraid to take risks. After all isn't an artist allowed to make an album that they believe in, and one that feels right for them at the time? I would much prefer this than listen to an artificial album, dictated by the wants of the many. Look at all of the blockbuster movies that don't know what they want to be, usually they try and appeal to so many demographics that it ends up appealing to no one in particular. This album is atmospheric, deep, involving, without falling to cliche, or surrendering to populace demands or wants. The best music is made without an audience in mind, for that music will find its audience, and that is the best way for all music to be. Coldplay have moved on, and they have evolved, but if you haven't too, then I guess its time to stop listening.

I love all the tracks on the album, but standout tracks for me are, 'Magic,' with its catchy, and affecting beat, along with the poignant, heartfelt lyrics. 'Midnight,' with its haunting (great video by the way) and sleepy chorus, synthesised voice and mellow but soulful tone. 'A sky full of stars,' which is slightly more upbeat and reminiscent of Coldplay's early days. And 'O,' with the most gentle, subtle piano, over which Martin displays the deftest of melancholic poise as he sings from the heart. This song has already become a favourite of all Coldplay songs to me.

And so to summarise, for those wishing the band to stand still, perhaps Coldplay have left a few of you behind, but for those who are willing to take the journey and trust in the band, and willing to let the album haunt you more than once, before making a decision on its overall worth - pull up an ear and enjoy!
2121 comments140 of 151 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 21 May 2014
I haven't been a fan of Coldplay's quieter moments for a long time, not since A Rush of Blood to the Head, the last time they did slow stuff well. Ever since, their downtempo output has been rather dreary & dirge-like so I really wasn't expecting to like Ghost Stories. Listening to the 1.25 minute itunes previews wasn't encouraging me to change my opinion. Then I watched Ghost Stories; the Film on SkyArts. Then I watched it again. Then I bought the album.

Let's be clear - Ghost Stories is not the soundtrack to your dash to work, jogging or motorway driving. It's late night and mellow. Despite the subject mattter it has a blissed out, trippy feel & it's perfect for when you come in from a night out & it'll be a great chillout accompaniment for when you're watching the sun set on a beach of your choice this summer.

'Always In My Head' does exactly what it says on the tin and will indeed be always in my head. Just because it's slow doesn't mean it's not catchy. I haven't decided yet whether 'Magic' is going to be irritating on repeated listening but for now I like it. The electronic 'Midnight' - weird, wonderful & vocodered - is something of a stand out. The closer 'O' is rather similar to opener 'Always In My Head' which gives the album a satisfying, cyclical feel. Along the way there's 'Ink' which I'm not sure about & I wouldn't care if I never heard 'Oceans' again. The album does really need 'Sky Full of Stars' for a change of tempo & to give us the chance to dance around our bedrooms. It's fun, though a bit more work could have gone into the lyrics. Still, resistance is futile as it's probably going to be part of the soundtrack to this summer. Learn to love it.

There are no huge, anthemic choruses here, rather the music ebbs & flows like waves on a beach & I find I really like it like that. The production and instrumentation are first rate & the band really hit it out of the park. It's a quiet triumph.

No one is as surprised as I am by how much I like Ghost Stories. If you're a doubter too - give it a chance. It might surprise you.
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on 19 May 2014
I love Coldplay, I think they are an innovative and brilliant band - and I am old enough to remember the first Beatles record being released!

I don't necessarily like every track they have ever recorded so I would be more than happy to say if I thought this album didn't live up to expectations, but it does. It is brilliant. It is different, you are waiting for some of the tracks to break out into some sort of usual Coldplay anthem the nearest they come to that is Sky Full of Stars but the other tracks are haunting and melancholic in a beautiful way. It is obvious what the theme of the album is and the sadness is there for anyone with half a heart to hear but it doesn't make it miserable or bitter. For me, this album celebrates love, without regrets and is beautiful.

I believe this album is a natural progression from Waterfall. If you aren't keen, keep playing it and I am sure it will soon grown on you. Wonderful and haunting, beautiful and melancholic. Highly recommended
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on 8 June 2014
I would highly recommend this album as music to listen to before/whilst going to bed as an integral component to your reverie.
It is soothing, mystical, ethereal and hypnotic, drowsy, and feather-lightweight floating over all the other caprices of the universe, all at the same time. Even the drums have a 'smoothered' echo, 'playing' with my heart beat unconsciously.
If you would like to know more about this genre; I suggest John Lennon (&sons) Home Demos, Kate Bush's Aerial, and a number of other classical/playlist suggestions. I suggest Brahms 4, Rachmaninoff Études-Tableaux Preludes, Vince Mendoza 'Nights on Earth', and even the Goldberg Variations.
Well done Coldplay! Never slept so well during exams, with this and ear plugs I'm sorted!
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 23 July 2014
Coldplay are one of the biggest bands on the planet but their alt-rock meets melodic pop atmospheres aren’t for everyone.

That said even their biggest critics have to acknowledge they have their moments – X&Y for example contained a strong collection of songs enhanced by the use of electronic instrumentation woven through the band’s art-mospheric sound.

Coldplay also have a knack for delivering some of the best up-tempo, big chorus stadium pop an overpriced Live Nation event ticket can buy, but Ghost Stories is bereft of any such positives.

Other than the disposable Euro-pop of 'A Sky Full Of Stars' (a song the UK could win the Eurovision Song Contest with – take what you like from that) the album is a sparsely arranged, one-dimensional affair with little musical vitality.

'Always in My Head' is an easy on the ear opener but its simple, repetitive nature (Jonny Buckland’s guitar line might as well be on a loop) sets the tone for Ghost Stories.
'Magic,' the lead-off single and a song built from and around Guy Berryman’s bass riff, works better but it’s a song that is stronger in isolation.
As part of the album songs such as 'Magic' and the pleasant rhythmic pop of 'Ink' merge into one uniformed sound, leaving little scope for individuality (there is as much drum machine as drums from Will Champion) or different shapes to break up the monotone musicality.

'True Love' dodges the bullet of sameness because it does throw a different shape across its simple form, courtesy of a short burst of almost discordant notes from Jonny Buckland that compliment Chris Martin’s plaintive cries, but such musical interjections are few and far between.

Ghost Stories has been mentioned in despatches as being partly inspired by Chris Martin’s troubled relationship with wife and actress Gwyneth Paltrow; the celebrity couple announced their separation in March 2014.
But the nine track conceptual work (twelve on the obligatory Deluxe Edition) – telling the story of a man's break-up, his reflections on that break-up and its past Cause and future Effect – is clearly influenced by those relationship issues.

Ghost Stories is therefore an emotional purging in musical form but it’s a form that, for a lot of its forty minutes, by-passes poignant melancholy and heads straight for mid-tempo mediocrity.

The conceptual and musical style of Ghost Stories guaranteed mixed reviews for the album.
But Coldplay’s popularity, three pre-album release singles, a televised four-song performance at the 2014 iTunes Festival, an International scavenger hunt for nine hand-written lyric sheets, a filmed TV special and a global legion of fans absolutely guaranteed #1 album status in the UK, US, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and a host of European countries.

"Call it magic" softly proclaims Chris Martin.

As regards how Coldplay are now championed and the promotional success of Ghost Stories?
You may well be right, Chris.

Call it a superb example of the King's New Clothes in musical form.
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on 7 August 2014
I love Coldplay but I find this offering from Martin a little too personal. Whilst I do like some of the songs I find I avoid listening to this album. The broken heart/angel wings is emblematic of the mood with the loss of an ideal/idealised relationship difficult to avoid and clearly painful. A bit too much raw emotion for me.
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on 6 March 2015
It's worth having in your collection especially if you are a Coldplay fan; however, this album is a far cry from most of their previous offerings. There are no really bad tracks but no truly great ones either. Definitely not a Classic but pleasant enough nonetheless.
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on 14 November 2014
So the two singles (Magic/A Sky Full Of Stars) were OK, Oceans is great, but the rest is a little mediocre. For me, although I do like it, this album is below the standard of all their previous albums, and unlike earlier albums it hasn't really grown on me with additional listening. I had very high expectations, only partially met.
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on 16 June 2014
Love hurts. OOOoooooohhh, OOoohhhhhhh love hurts. I was in love and it broke my heart. I wish I was still in Gwyneth's "fire down below". OK Chris we get it. You broke up. It hurts. Your ex is beautiful. etc...

I like this album musically - some great production and melodies - but after a few listens through now the lyrics are starting to jar a little. I know that this was an album of catharsis but about 5 of the 9 songs are laments about missing her, wishing he was with her, feeling her, seeing her and so on.

Worth a listen if you're a Coldplay fan (which I used to be but have slightly gone off them since their early stuff)
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on 16 January 2015
Nothing like their other albums - actually kind of weird. Bought it for Christmas for my mum who loves Coldplay and she doesn't even like it. Bit gutted.
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