Ghost Stories Coldplay
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- 1Always In My Head03:37
- 4True Love04:06
- 6Another's Arms03:54
- 8A Sky Full Of Stars04:28
Info for Ghost Stories
Around the time Coldplay's sixth album, Ghost Stories, was scheduled for release, lead singer Chris Martin announced he was divorcing his wife, the actress Gwyneth Paltrow. In light of this news, it's hard not to see Ghost Stories as a breakup record, a romantic confessional written in the wake of a painful separation.
Certainly, the album bristles with references to broken hearts and regrets, ruminations on how the past informs the present, its every song infused with an inescapable melancholy, but the album doesn't play like a deep wallow in sorrow. It is soft, even alluring, a soundtrack to a seduction, not a separation. Much of that feel comes from the record's smooth crawl forward, how it's never hurried and always accentuating its good side, but there's also a sense that Martin, or the band in general, is anxious to a hit a reset button, to slowly recede from the artiness of the Eno-encouraged excursions of the late 2000s and reconnect with the sweet, simple band responsible for Parachutes.
Like any attempt to revive the past, it's hard to reconcile that those were indeed different times. As majestic as they sounded in 2000, there was no denying Coldplay were a basic rock band, anchored on six strings and rarely finding textures outside of the confines of an amplifier. Fourteen years later, keyboards are at the group's foundation, a significant shift accentuated by their succumbing to a hallmark of modern production: they have a producer for every track. Coldplay may not be forceful, but within their incessant politeness they do have a distinctive personality, one that shines through whatever tricks individual producers bring to the table.
Stars that they are, they can afford to enlist EDM sensation Avicii and R&B stalwart Timbaland to color individual tracks (they're responsible for 'A Sky Full of Stars' and 'True Love,' respectively), giving Ghost Stories a fleet electronic facility that undercuts Coldplay's reputation as a dogmatic rock band without ever suggesting the group is adventurous. It's a nifty trick, a record that skirts any accusation of stodginess yet still feels as comforting as a warm bath, which is why Ghost Stories never feels heartbroken. Often, it feels like the lament of the sensitive soul who just had his heart broken but won't let his pain detract him from picking up that pretty girl at the end of the bar.
This may seem a contradiction but it also suits a band like Coldplay, who at this stage of their career quite clearly want to be everything to everybody. If your heart is shattered and you want to slide into self-pity, turn here. If you are feeling free and want to woo a new love, turn here. If you want to just enjoy every soft, supple turn a rock band could do, turn here. Coldplay are here for comfort, as Ghost Stories proves time and time again.
Chris Martin, lead vocals, acoustic guitar, piano, keyboard
Jonny Buckland, electric guitar, keyboard, piano, slide guitar
Guy Berryman, bass, backing vocals
Will Champion, drums, drum machine, backing vocals
After surfacing in 2000 with the breakthrough single "Yellow," Coldplay quickly became one of the biggest bands of the new millennium, honing a mix of introspective Brit-pop and anthemic rock that landed the British quartet a near-permanent residence on record charts worldwide. The group's emergence was perfectly timed; Radiohead had just released the overly cerebral Kid A, while Oasis had ditched two founding members and embraced psychedelic experimentation on Standing on the Shoulder of Giants. U.K. audiences were hungry for a fresh-faced rock band with big aspirations and an even bigger sound, and Coldplay were more than happy to take the reins. Parachutes went multi-platinum in several countries and earned the band its first Grammy, but Coldplay continued to grow into the 2000s, topping their debut album's success with higher record sales and an increased public profile.
Chris Martin (vocals/piano), Jon Buckland (guitar), Will Champion (drums), and Guy Berryman (bass) were all born into musical households. Martin, the eldest of five, began playing the piano as a young child and later took solace in the work of Tom Waits. Buckland, on the other hand, grew up with the heavy guitar sounds of Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix. Scotland native Berryman preferred funk to indie rock, thereby leaving him to play bass, while multi-instrumentalist Champion didn't plan to be a drummer until he joined Coldplay's lineup. The bandmates came together in 1996 while attending the University College of London, and the Safety EP was issued shortly after their first gig at a Manchester festival for unsigned bands. The release only saw 500 pressings, as did the subsequent Brothers & Sisters EP. Nevertheless, it was enough to win the band a U.K. deal with Parlophone Records in April 1999, and the five-track Blue Room EP arrived that fall. With nods from the media, Coldplay were hailed as the next Travis, thanks to their simple acoustics and charming personas.
Parlophone ushered Coldplay into Parr St. Studios in Liverpool, where they recorded the bulk of their debut album. Parachutes was released in July 2000 and became a swift hit on the strength of four U.K. singles, several of which enjoyed popularity in America as well. With "Yellow" climbing the charts on both sides of the Atlantic, Parachutes was released in the U.S. in November, where its sales soon rivaled — and eventually surpassed — those in the U.K.
Riding on the strength of their universally popular debut, Coldplay headed back into the studio in fall 2001 to work on a sophomore album. They emerged with A Rush of Blood to the Head, releasing the album worldwide in August 2002 and embarking on a global concert tour soon after. "The Scientist" enjoyed regular radio rotation, while both "Clocks" and "In My Place" won Grammy Awards. The CD/DVD package Live 2003 was issued to highlight the group's popular tour, and Martin specifically earned a higher notch on the celebrity scale by marrying actress Gwyneth Paltrow in December 2003. Paltrow gave birth to the couple's daughter Apple the following April.
Fatherhood didn't stop Martin from working, as Coldplay began recording material for a third album within weeks. Previously recorded material with longtime producer Ken Nelson was scrapped early on, while Danton Supple (Morrissey, the Cure) joined Coldplay to complete the recording of X&Y. "Speed of Sound" marked Coldplay's first single from their long-awaited third effort in spring 2005; the album followed in June, topping charts around the world and selling more than eight million copies during its first year.
Such success put Coldplay on the same commercial level as U2, and Coldplay retreated to the studio in late 2006 to work with famed producer Brian Eno (who had teamed up with U2 several times in the past). Recording sessions with Eno were completed within one year, followed by several months of mixing and growing anticipation from the band's audience. Viva la Vida — also known by its extended name, Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends — ultimately arrived in June 2008. Worldwide sales for the album had approached six million by November, when Coldplay released several new recordings (including a collaboration with hip-hop mogul Jay-Z) as part of the Prospekt's March EP.
Preceded by first single "Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall," Coldplay's fifth studio album, 2011's Mylo Xyloto, was produced by Markus Dravs, Daniel Green, and Rik Simpson (the official press release adds "with enoxification and additional composition by Brian Eno"). Live 2012, the band's second concert film/recording, followed in 2012 after a hugely successful world tour, which included a special performance at the London Paralympics closing ceremony. Work began on their sixth album in late 2012 at their Bakery and Beehive studios in North London, where longtime producers Paul Epworth, Daniel Green, and Rik Simpson joined them for sessions. As the recording progressed, other producers, including Avicii and Timbaland, were brought in, making the resulting Ghost Stories quite different from its predecessors in that there were many producers instead of a handful.
Coldplay began promoting Ghost Stories in March 2014, two months prior to its May release, playing a showcase concert at the iTunes Music Festival which was held during the 2014 South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas. Around the time of the concert, it was revealed that Martin was separating from his wife. This news was counterbalanced by the announcement Martin was going to act as an advisor on the U.S. series of singing competition The Voice. Additional television duties for the band included a concert called Coldplay: Ghost Stories on NBC — the same network that aired The Voice — aired on May 18, the Sunday prior to the release of Ghost Stories.