Coldplay - Ghost Stories

Wer dachte, dass die Talsohle mit "Mylo Xyloto" (2011) durchwandert wäre, sieht sich nun getäuscht. "Ghost Stories" ist das sechste, kürzeste (9 Titel in 42 Minuten) und schwächste Album von Coldplay

Chris Martin arbeitet auf diesem Konzeptalbum thematisch die Trennung von Gwyneth Paltrow auf, und natürlich wird es dann in Songs wie "True Love" traurig und pathetisch, aber die bewegenden und herzergreifenden Piano-Balladen, die die Band früher locker aus dem Ärmel zu schütteln schien, sucht man hier vergebens. Der schlicht "O" betitelte Abschluss der Platte kommt diesem Ideal noch am nächsten und die aktuelle Single "Magic" muss in diesem Songzyklus tatsächlich als rühmliche Ausnahme herhalten - das hätte man so vor Veröffentlichung der Platte auch nicht gedacht. 
Passend zum Albumtitel "Ghost Stories" sind die Songs oft nur schemenhaft und schwer greifbar. Vermutlich werden die Produktion von Jon Hopkins, Paul Epworth, Avicii, Timbaland und Hugo Leclercq sowie die mutige musikalische Neuausrichtung in Richtung Electronica auch andernorts viel Lob hervorrufen, ich persönlich brauche jedoch Coldplay, die versuchen nach James Blake zu klingen ("Midnight") oder Euro-Dance spielen, der klingt wie der kroatische ESC-Beitrag ("A Sky Full Of Stars"), nicht.  

Zumindest das Artwork der tschechischen Künstlerin Mila Fürstova ist besser gelungen als das bei "Mylo Xyloto". 

Über die Deluxe Version erhalten Fans noch 10 weitere Minuten Musik: "All Your Friends", "Ghost Story" und "O (Part 2/Reprise)".

But this isn't quite early Coldplay rebooted. It shares a simple sparseness with 'Parachutes', but the approach is radically different. In harness with producers as diverse as Paul Epworth, Timbaland and Avicii, Coldplay have never sounded more electronic. Where 'Ghost Stories' really differs from 'Mylo Xyloto' is in a sharp dialling down of intensity, sonically if not lyrically, with only the Avicii-led 'A Sky Full Of Stars' cutting loose, and even then as a hesitant retread of 'Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall'. It's a reluctance that feels quite normal; introspection doesn't invite the poppers. The real heart of 'Ghost Stories' is in the warped Bon Iver-isms of 'Midnight' with its devastated plea to "leave a light on", in the beaten but unbowed bareness of 'Magic' ("If you were to ask me/After all that we've been through/Still believe in magic?/Yes, I do/Of course I do"), in the gorgeously off-key synth loops of 'Oceans' and in the choppy dubstep textures of 'True Love' where Martin croaks, "One last time/Tell me you love me," and we all start to feel his own hollowness. For an album that apparently began, for the very first time, with other members providing the kernels of tracks, this doesn't half feel like a Chris Martin solo record.

And in that sense it was never going to provide fireworks. 'Ghost Stories' is a feeling more than a collection of songs, and takes a willing reception for granted. That feeling's not rancorous, it's bloodless and resigned, but touching as well. In its warm, delicate drift, this is a quiet success and, as the choral voices and synth glitches of 'Always In My Mind' bookend the album, there's a suggestion it's been parcelled up and everyone can move on. It's all part of the process.

Guitars and drums have given way to synths and electronic keyboards with few exceptions. Variety has never been a strength of theirs, and the stylistic change here is welcome. However, one can’t escape the feeling that the majority of it feels like background noise to existing music. The album’s overreliance on electronics and synths end up being one of its major flaws as when used here end up sounding like futuristic background music. It’s has a nice sound, but not much else.

While musical progression is one way to describe Ghost Stories, the songs end up sounding formulaic and predictable. At a certain point the realization sets in that the album ultimately doesn't go anywhere especially interesting or different, lyrically or musically. “Always In My Head” is a suitable opener with a smooth bassline over chiming electronics with minimal lyrics. Lead single “Midnight” is an optimistic track featuring a low key dance beat and one of Chris Martin’s best vocal performances on the album. Acoustic guitar strumming comes in at the bridge, injecting some much needed substance into the song. The album might as well end there, as nothing compositionally different happens for the rest of the forty five minute running time.

“Ink” follows “Magic” with almost the exact same structure and sound. “Midnight” is the closest the band comes to overcoming their flaws and sounds like nothing they have ever done before. Atmospherics and Martin’s electronic singing dominate the first half until a mysterious sounding bridge subtly creeps in and builds to a chiming crescendo of keyboard licks and synths before descending into a low key vocal outro over a faded keyboard line. The synth elements of the early Coldplay-esque tracks “True Love” and “Anothers Arms” end up making them sound like electronica remixes of their older songs. The first half of “Oceans” is only singing and an acoustic guitar strumming interesting sounding chords before descending into a dull and unnecessary electronic outro. It ends up serving as an intro for the fist-pumping dance-pop track “A Sky Full of Stars.” Album closer “O” is a surprisingly genuine sounding piano-driven ballad where Martin sings about one day “Flying next to you." This whole album ultimately feels like a love letter to his ex, as Martin himself essentially stated as the concept. Despite being somewhat obvious, the lyrics clearly convey his thoughts and lessons from the experience.

Atmosphere and consistency have always been the band’s best qualities and is best exemplified on "Midnight." But even the few strengths this album possesses fail at times. Despite being Coldplay’s most consistent release, almost half of the songs have extended electronica outros that feel completely out of place and unnecessary. Given how short the album is, these tacked on sections ultimately feel like unnecessary filler.

Ghost Stories is ultimately harmless and competent. The simple concept is conveyed in the lyrics and the music is listenable. The low key synth and clinical sound the songs possess ultimately make for a forgettable but satisfying enough listen. In an album full of clichés and bland electronica, the stripped down simplicity of a song like "O" ends up being the most impactful part of the album, and encompasses everything it should have been.
(sputnik music)


Sal Wa hat gesagt…

Hmm, ja also ich kann deine Meinung nachvollziehen, aber ich finde man sollte das Album nicht einfach abstempeln und sagen "scheiße" okay nächstes. Man muss es irgendwie erst mal länger auf einen wirken lassen, dann macht das ganze Sinn... "A Sky Full Of Stars" ist schrecklich, da stimme ich dir vollkommen zu!!! Naja, also vielleicht willst du ja mal meine Meinung zu der Platte lesen:


Olly Golightly hat gesagt…

Diese Rezension muss man auch auf sich wirken lassen:

Dirk hat gesagt…

Das ist wohl eine 3 Sterne-Bewertung (***).


Volker hat gesagt…

Ich bin da ganz bei dir Dirk, außer, es ist natürlich peinlich, dass ich "A Sky Full Of Stars" und "Midnight" mit ihren Disco-Elementen, als Höhepunkte des albums sehe. Da geht endlich mal kurz die Sonne auf, und sei es die Eurovision Song Contest Sonne ;-).
Ich hätte auch nichts gegen die melancholische Grundhaltung des Albums, wenn es denn gute Songs hätte, aber die Lieder kreisen irgendwie ziellos um sich selbst. Ich fürchte auch, obwohl ich nicht dachte, dass das im Coldplay-Kosmos möglich ist, dieses Album ist noch schwächer als "Mylo"

Olly Golightly hat gesagt…

4,5 Punkte

Ingo hat gesagt…

Ich zitiere die Mitfahrerin: "Die Songs sind langweilig und klingen alle gleich."4 Punkte

Dirk hat gesagt…

Es geht weiter abwärts mit Coldplay...

5 Punkte

Volker hat gesagt…

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