[Written by SC]
Almost every other review of this album out there has at least one reference to frontman Chris Martin’s recent ‘conscious uncoupling’ with his (now ex-) wife, Gwyneth Paltrow. Although this is quite clear from the lyrics of the album, this writer has decided to take a different route with this piece. The most sensational news of their split will not take precedence over the musical accomplishment of the band in this album, as a whole.
At a glance, the album art paints an uplifting picture of wings at rest. However, the lack of a multi-coloured cover, as with their previous outings, gives it quite a morose feel too. Musically, this whole album has a mellow undertone and lots of synth, which might not be a bad thing!
The first minute gives off a fresh and vocally stimulating track that paves the way for a melodic entrance into Always in my head, with a strong synth background that makes way for Champion’s slow but invigorating drumming. Such timeliness, paired with Martin’s vocals, is just the right note to start off with. This wonderful intro to the album just shows the tip of their musical abilities.
As it progresses, Ghost Stories gives way to more songs with as much heart in it as any other Coldplay album before it. Oceans, however, sounds quite electronic, and apart from Martin’s exquisite vocals and Berryman’s neat bassline, it doesn’t sound quite so Coldplay as the other songs. It’s neatly wrapped up with faint church bells ringing in the background, giving it a VERY saddening end.
And of course, in A Sky Full of Stars, listeners are treated with a dance track that is as far away from anything Coldplay has ever done before. It starts off sounding more familiar than any other song on this album, more reminiscent of a track played at Tomorrowland than at a Coldplay concert. This may be because the band collaborated with Swedish DJ, Avicci, for this song.
Around the 35th minute of the album, O comes on with a light piano melody. Their decision to end the album with something that sounds more like their previous outings than any other song on this album was their best decision. Their new sound is good, but sometimes listeners are comforted by the moroseness of Martin’s signature melodies and soothing voice. This is the only song that does not sound like Martin crying out to the mother of his two children.
Overall, the whole album might just be Martin’s diary of “Don’t leave me” addressed to Gwyneth Paltrow. What this album lacked are the frequent changes between major and minor chords, which honestly made their previous albums a joy to listen to. Putting that aside, the music is best listened to on a rainy afternoon, dreaming of the London skyline above with the rumblings of the subterranean tunnels underneath, with teacup in one hand and your head in the other.
This album has been given a four out of five star rating.
The writer does not presume to be an expert in Coldplay music or in music in general, but she does have some knowledge on Coldplay trivia and invites readers to join her in summoning Liverpool’s trophies on twitter at @SoddenCold.