Coldplay...a band not afraid to roll the dice!
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
Ghost Stories is an interesting release. Let's start with one of the alleged problems, Target has an exclusive deal which has three additional songs on their in store copies. Some "hard-core" Coldplay fan were sent into a tizzy. Get real...three missing tracks from Bruce Springsteen or Paul McCartney might give those "hard-core" fans a legitimate beef. Missing the three tunes simply because you made your purchase at Amazon is like saying not getting the extended dance remix of Beyoncé's last track on her most recent release somehow ruins the record. The album was marketed poorly so I'll give them an F right off the bat.
Moving on, the tunes actually have a little meat on their bones. Memorable? More memorable than their last record. Slightly darker with a subtle U-2 vibe minus all the social political commentary they feel so compelled to toss in. "Always In My Head" and "Oceans" are polar opposites allowing the band to show off some much needed diversity and that they have graduated past the "chick band" stage of college radio. I don't listen to Coldplay as a rule, between the somewhat spacey production values of Depeche Mode meets U2 then I see this one in heavy rotation for some time. They bang out an A on these points.
Fans seem split on this release and I believe this could easily be broken down into the demographics vaguely referred to earlier, that and pop music fans are idiots on occasion. Slightly more radio friendly without biting the commercial bullet the band seems to have matured beyond their years. Artistic but not artsy. Contemporary but not pretentious. The intangibles push this release for another A. Release of the summer? Doubtful. Will people have this on their Christmas list? Definitely!