I can see that while Coldplay doesn't necessarily hit the ball out of the park with Mylo Xyloto, at least they make their amends with Ghost Stories, the band's sixth studio album. However, it is surprising, but do fans want Coldplay's older sounds, or their experimental directions? And, does this album grants the reviews it's had so far (which has been mixed to positive)? It's really all hard to say at this point.
Fair enough, I get the hate train that's been knocking on Coldplay's door for almost 2 years, but when you look beyond Mylo Xyloto (overrated? More like underrated), it doesn't look as bad as it seems. Of course, there are very peculiar tracks and very underhanded lyrics that seems to be shoe-strung onto the album, it does impress production wise and something that Coldplay usually doesn't deliver on. Their production usually builds up steadily (take a look at their new singles Magic and A Sky Full of Stars) and it really surprises at how great Coldplay is at handling it. Of course, it doesn't really match up to Viva La Vida nor Rush of Blood to the Head, but it seriously doesn't deserve the hate it has been getting (the singles more than the album really).
Heck, I was genuinely afraid of their new material ever since Mylo Xyloto was put out. Midnight was quite literally intolerable for me on first listen. Chris Martins' vocoded vocals don't seem at the all interesting, and definitely feels a lot better when put side-to-side on the track-list. Their new singles really didn't awe me that much. Magic, while I personally liked, I felt it didn't really impress. It hit an exceptional high during the bridge, and within seconds, it transitions back into a beat with simplistic production. It was disappointing, but once you get over the fact of it, sometimes Magic fits the emotional vibe when you get comfortable to it. The same goes to A Sky Full of Stars, which was produced and co-written by Avicii, it was great, but not the Coldplay most people were known to. While the EDM part does feel strange and weird on a Coldplay song, rather than replacing it with the big hyperventilating drums and guitars, it wasn't necessarily all that bad.
I guess that sums up the entire album really. Most of the tracks are forgettable easily (Another's Arms, Oceans) and most of the lyrics on the album don't impress as well. Obviously, most of the tracks are really throwback to their previous albums (Parachute for instance) and for a listener who hasn't really delved back into their past, I can say that it is pretty passable. Most of the tracks on the album don't really gather up the courage to hit rock solid, and it seems that they are just picked up from leftovers. I was really confused and perplexed at how some of the material doesn't really make up half of what Coldplay was and would be. While I consider this an experimental step forward, it doesn't really prove much on it's own.
That's when you realise that maybe Ghost Stories is the full complete package for everything. It has the charged melodies, interesting lyrics, powerful Chris Martin vocals (on many occasions) and while others may feel that it may be shortchanged, I feel it is enough to warrant a place in the top 3 of my Coldplay album's list (behind Rush and Viva La Vida in my opinion). However, while I digress that for some it may not be the case, it is a comfortable album that I would recommend to anyone. However, most might not dig the sound that accompanies this album.
Favourite Tracks: Magic, A Sky Full of Stars, Ink
Least Favourite Tracks: Another's Arms, O
Is it impressive? No. Is it the same Coldplay? No. Is it better than Mylo Xyloto? Some would argue but I would say yes. All in all, there are tracks for the faithful and there are tracks for the overall populous. It's not a great album, but it's above average decent.
Benny Ong: Just your regular guy who likes soccer more than most people, and also a little downtime is pretty nice.