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Coldplay "Ghost Stories" Album Review

By: Logan Warshaw

    Coldplay’s 6th studio album, “Ghost Stories,” was met with harsh criticism after its full release last May.  Die-hard Coldplay fans bashed the album, bemoaning its lack of traditional instrumentation, and its dance-pop sound.  Fans yearned to here Will Champion’s drumming and Jonny Buckland’s loud, prominent guitar, and were instead met with an electronic, minimalist feel.  But what Coldplay left us fans with was not just an EDM album prompted by laziness and conformation to what modern day radio plays.  Coldplay gave us an immersive, feeling-provoking series of songs filled with heartfelt melodies that sound truly amazing when listened to with concentration and attention to every note, lyric, and sound.


    Beginning with the sound of a choir singing, “Always In My Head” sets the tone for the album with a slow beat and aura of sadness.  The sad tone is prompted by lead singer/songwriter Chris Martin’s break up with his wife of 10 years, Gwyneth Paltrow.  This theme tends to carry though the album, with references appearing in bits of every song.  “Magic,” and “Ink,” which ensue with strong minimalist beats and catchy choruses, contain lyrics that strongly suggest a relationship to Martin’s divorce.  In “Magic,” the first single off of the album, Martin sings “I don't, no, I don't want anybody else but you” and “I can't get over, can't get over you, but still I call it magic, such a precious truth.” In “Ink,” a personal favorite off of the album, which is wonderfully produced, Martin states “All I know, Is that I love you so, so much that it hurts.”

    “True Love” follows with a heart-rending tone, in which Martin’s feelings spill out into a beautiful melody.  He sings, “I've lost you now, you let met go but one last time, tell me you love me, if you don't then lie, oh lie to me.”  These lyrics flow perfectly with the rhythm, and make for a lovely song which provokes a sad feeling from the listener.  After “True Love” comes the song met with the most out-lash and criticism, “Midnight.”  Martin, who suffers from insomnia, mentioned in numerous interviews how most of his songs come to him at night.  This would provide insight to the truly unique and mystic feel to “Midnight-” a seemingly wordless and empty song.

    “Oceans,” which brings back memories of “Parachutes” from Coldplay’s first studio album, is a soft, soothing acoustic song that is, well, best heard while looking out onto the ocean at night.  The lyrics begin the transition from sadness to acceptance, in which Martin states “I'm ready for it all, love I'm ready for the change.”

    After the EDM-infused upbeat “A Sky Full of Stars,” the album closes out with “O,” a classic Chris Martin-Piano combo.  He ends his singing with “Maybe one day I can fly with you,” and after a few minutes of silence, the album fades out with the same wordless choir hymn heard at the start of the album.


    In all actuality, “Ghost Stories” has a very different sound than most of Coldplay’s previous works.  In response to a question about the album being a bit more stripped-back and minimalist, drummer Will Champion stated “Yeah, that might be nice, actually. There's only so far you can go without becoming pompous and a bit overblown, so we'll tread that line very carefully. Reset. Recalibrate” (1). But being stripped back doesn’t mean the rest of the band didn’t get to participate as much as they did in the past.  In fact, as opposed to the usual way that Coldplay writes a song, with Chris Martin providing the ideas and then continuing from there, the other band members had more of a creative input in this album.  For example, the leading, prominent baseline from “Magic” was a riff created by bassist Guy Berryman, which the song was then written around.  Berryman, Champion, and Buckland all contributed to the song writing  in this album, whether or not their individual instruments can be heard in a particular song.  Martin said in an interview, in which he spoke of the collective song writing- “Everyone (in the band) is invested in this, everyone knows what we're trying to do; go a bit more personal" (2).  “Ghost Stories” did just that- it got a but more personal with the audience, making for an amazing album.

    Míla Fürstovà’s album artwork truly encapsulates the sound of the music and tone of the album, with a pair of wings floating over the ocean at night under a sky full of stars.  This work of art ties together the best-produced, deepest, most immersive album Coldplay has put out to date.  From the first song to the last, “Ghost Stories” flows fluidly and leaves us listeners with the same feelings that Martin was trying to describe to us through his music.

1. Burns, Bee. "Coldplay "noodling" Their Way towards LP6." N.p., 23 Feb. 2013. Web. <>.

2. Wilson, Jess. "Chris Martin was Desperate for His Bandmates to Write Coldplay Songs for Ghost Stories." Mirror. N.p., 04 May 2014. Web. 05 Apr. 2015. <>.

Message to Readers

First time I've written for this site… would love any feedback!

Peer Review

The writer quite successfully caption the 'sound' of the album by representing it as slow, mellow and moving. The simplistic and immersive tone of the album was effectively captured, with clever language choices.

The writer has extensive knowledge of not only the album 'Ghost Stories', but also Coldplay and their other albums. There was additional, necessary information about the production of the album, the members of the band, and other interesting facts. The details about each song such as lyrics and melodies show that the whole album was listened to carefully and appreciated in its entirety. The writer was clearly impressed and moved by the album, as seen in a line towards the end "This work of art ties together the best-produced, deepest, most immersive album Coldplay has put out to date."

The writer was very engaging in their writing, while providing an informing review of 'Ghost Stories'. Their personal response was also very engaging and showed a deep understanding of the album.

Reviewer Comments

I was very impressed with this review and enjoyed reading it. The comprehensive review of 'Ghost Stories' reflected my similar response to the album. The writer is very skilled in evoking an emotional response from readers and I enjoyed their piece a lot.