May continues to roll on and with it comes more of the big name new releases. This week was no exception, with new music from Coldplay, Conor Oberst and The Roots, as well as special releases from Oasis, R.E.M. and Billy Joel.
While I didn’t pick most of them up myself, I did grab myself the newest album from news-makers Coldplay.
The UK band’s first album in 3 years, Ghost Stories offers more of the group’s original softer, more introspective approach, with a lone track resembling the previous album tossed in as well. The album, that was apparently written while lead singer Chris Martin was “consciously uncoupling” from now ex-wife Gwyneth Paltrow, begins with the track Always in My Head. This track is reserved, but the lyrics are direct “you are always in my head”. This slips right into the kick drum heavy single Magic. The track is accompanied by yet another excellent music video (seen below) that the band has been known to pair with their music. Other examples of their creative spark can be seen here as well.
After the lead single come the tracks Ink and True Love, of the same mold as the prior tracks, softer and introspective. Next comes the beginning of a change with the track that was the first release from the band prior to album announcement, Midnight. It begins with a sedated Chris Martin singing with a bit of voice modulation, but the track develops further, into the beginnings of an electronic, astral sound. Another’s Arms proceeds with the vocal assistance of a specter-like female vocalist who only offers crooning Ooo’s in and out of the entire track while Martin mournfully sings about his lover in another’s arms. This is followed by the track Oceans, a track incorporating an acoustic guitar and string accompaniment offering a fairly simple instrumentation before fading into a dreamlike psychedelic electronic concoction including church bells and waves crashing. This rolls right into what is easily the most energetic track on the album, the Avicii-produced track A Sky Full of Stars. This electronic dance track comes at just the right time in the album when it seemed like Martin was losing himself to his emotions in an album full of mostly somber tracks. This track also is the only one that draws from the Eno–produced sound ever-present on Mylo Xyloto. The ninth and final track on the album is a piano-driven track simply titled O. Here, Martin sings of a bird flying on right through all the trouble and the stormy weather past the trouble. He offers a single glimmer of hope for escape from his prison of sadness, “maybe one day I’ll fly next to you”. This is a perfect closing track to the album, and then comes the “hidden track” which comes after about two and a half minutes of dead air which consists of guitar and ghostly voices.
The group’s latest album is a welcome turn in the other direction from where the band had been heading. Instead of following in the “bigness” of Mylo Xyloto‘s footsteps, the band took a step back to their more reserved roots which is a welcome reprieve. Choosing to go with multiple producers, including the likes of Paul Epworth, Avicii and Jon Hopkins, the crisp, more reserved approach won out. You can really hear that the producers’ had their hands in these tracks, from Avicii‘s contribution to A Sky Full of Stars to Jon Hopkins‘ electronic touches incorporated into Oceans. Epworth’s contribution may or may not be a little more difficult to pick out, but if you understand and realize the other projects he’s worked on, his producer’s touch is easily identifiable. Ghost Stories is an apt title for this new body of work from Martin and the band. Chris sings almost exclusively about the relationships that haunt him throughout the whole of the album. While the album itself is only nine tracks coming in at 42 minutes of play time, it offers some very enjoyable pieces that will be welcome additions to the Coldplay discography. Enjoy the change of pace!
Speaking of ghostly voices, I must share with you the track by Icelandic artist Jónsi whose voice may sound familiar. He comes from the band Sigur Ros, but performs solo under the name Jónsi, and this track is hauntingly beautiful from his 2010 album Go.
And now, as always, here was everything acquired on this New Release Tuesday:
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Now Playing: Jónsi – Tornado