by Caitlin Baldridge
It’s fairly safe to assume that if you haven’t heard of Coldplay you’ve been living under a rock. In addition, Chris Martin the lead singer’s marriage with Gwyneth Paltrow is pretty mainstream knowledge. The two were married in 2003, right around the time Coldplay released A Rush of Blood to the Head. The two met in 2002 when they were touring. Clearly, Paltrow has had some influence over Martin’s lyrical content throughout their marriage, but what’s even more evident is how consumed Martin is by their recent divorce due to every song on Ghost Stories talking about heartbreak and devastation. However, Martin must’ve seen it coming because the lyrical content, melodies, and instrumentation are uninspired and, at best, radio material, but nothing more. The heart-wrenching content that Coldplay used to demonstrate is long forgotten, and in its place are boring, dragging love songs.
Coldplay jokes are reasonably famous. They’ve even gotten some play in major motion pictures like 40 Year Old Virgin when Paul Rudd and Seth Rogen use “you know how I know you’re gay? You like Coldplay” in an argument. I always felt that these jokes were incorrect, because Coldplay’s older material is stunningly beautiful with albums A Rush of Blood to the Head and Parachutes. The content and musical technique are unmatched, and it’s quite sad to see them stoop to mainstream levels with their new album Ghost Stories. The album incorporates down-tempo, sad techno in song “Midnight”, and upbeat house techno in track “A Sky Full of Stars” with no interpretable intention other than to land an easy radio spot. Not to mention there’s no variation in lyrical content because as I said, it’s all woe-is-me love songs, most likely about the Paltrow divorce. Lyrics like, “I think of you / I haven’t slept / I think of you / I don’t forget” in opener “Always in my Head” and “got a tattoo and the pain’s alright / just want a way of keeping you inside” in “Ink”. The lyrics aren’t thoughtful, especially in comparison with older material written for Paltrow such are “Fix You”, and other amazing songs like “The Scientist” and “Don’t Panic”.
The album does have one or two things going for it in comparison to other music on the radio these days. It’s mostly upbeat, feel-good music, with extremely catchy hooks that’ll get you humming along whether you like it or not. Also, Martin’s voice is hard to beat. The band’s years of experience together puts them at an advantage over other modern rock-pop bands, but they’re quickly becoming more and more average. Hopefully they’ll get out of this rut and return to their usual spectacular music.