Coldplay’s 'Ghost Stories' haunts

The band’s latest album is a moody, brooding masterpiece

Coldplay’s sixth studio album, “Ghost Stories,” offers a collection of expertly crafted tunes which will haunt listeners from the start. Each song thematically incorporates nostalgia and lost love, making the album one of the band’s best in recent years — certainly since 2005’s “X&Y.”

“Ghost Stories” works well as a concept album, stripping away the fluff of “Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends” (2008) and “Mylo Xyloto” (2011). Though Coldplay has historically erred more on the side of pop, never putting all its focus into crafting beautiful lyrics and melodies or telling captivating stories, the band succeeds in achieving something real and meaningful with “Ghost Stories.” This album feels like a complete work — not merely a collection of singles.

“Ghost Stories” resonates with a deep and heart-wrenching passion. Coming in the wake of lead vocalist Chris Martin’s divorce, the album gives fans a sense of Martin’s release from his relationship as he deals with the breakup in a public yet introspective way — a struggle very evident in the album’s lyrics.

Stories’ most memorable lyrics are also it’s most tragic. “Magic,” for example, begins: “Call it magic / Call it true / Call it magic / When I’m with you / And I just got broken / Broken into two”. These words echo Martin’s heartache, demonstrating his ability to completely let go of a past love. In “Midnight,” Martin croons, “In the darkness before the dawn / In the swirling of this storm / When I’m rolling with the punches / And hope is gone / Leave a light, a light on.” The soundscape of these songs truly works to paint the darkness and anguish of a broken heart — and paint it vividly.

Other notable tracks include “A Sky Full of Stars” and “Ink.” “Stars” may yet prove to be one of the top songs of the summer, including both a pulsing EDM feel and a soaring chorus. Co-produced by Avicii, this track is unsurprisingly already tearing up the charts. It is still the band behind the track and its context in the greater album, however, that makes the song special. “Ink,” meanwhile, is more downtempo, discussing how Martin doesn’t want to lose the memory of his lover. The melody of this song is unique and — quite honestly — addictive.

Overall, “Ghost Stories” proves to be a wonderful collection of music, with Coldplay really putting its best foot forward.

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