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Theory: the “Ghosts” of Ghost Stories!


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So I was thinking… Another’s Arms has that haunting female voice pop in and out. Oddly, its not much of a duet, but more of a vocal effect.

 

On the Zane Lowe preview clip, we hear the studio version of Always in My Head, which also has ethereal “voices” sliding around in the background.

 

Lastly, Midnight—among others—carries on the choral vibe with a slew of Chris’ harmonies batched together.

 

Do any of you guys think that these vocal effects are alluding to different “Ghosts” or souls?

 

And I’m not suggesting that it goes any deeper than that. Perhaps the sounds are just there to resemble different people, and how their essence lingers on. Even months or years after you’ve loved or lost someone, they’re still a part of your inner being. Those memories and feelings remain—changing our hearts forever.

 

“Those who are dead are not dead, they’re just living in my head.”

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That's an interesting theory, you may well be right. I definitely think that there's more to this album than the simplistic lyrics would suggest. Perhaps the lyrics are alluding to something deeper than just a love story- or maybe its just that; a love story. With all the pictures beside the hand written songs, and the artwork for magic and on the album itself, one would assume that there is a deeper meaning to it all. Perhaps I'm just over thinking and looking to analyse something that is straightforward, but some of their songs from previous albums have been very thought provoking so hopefully there's more to it than meets the ears. In a purely musical respect though, I don't think this albums their best, however I haven't heard all the songs, so it will be interesting to see how everything ties together. But your theory of Ghosts or a spirit of someone seems on par

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Interpreting and understanding MX was definitely frustrating. The album went from full-on film to a regular album release, and we essentially ended up with a loose version of the would-be story. 18 months later we got some closure through the comic books.

 

I'm not expecting a distinct plot on GS, but hopefully the tracks will fit together like different phases of life.

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Yeah I agree. I love concept albums, so it would be good if GS told somewhat of a 'story'. The lyrics do imply broken love, but the artwork and drawn pictures leave me wondering. The algiz rune, and the triangle with the vertical line above it (on the magic artwork), are pretty esoteric. The theme of the sun (next to always in my head), and moon (seen in the magic film clip, as well as next to midnight) seem to be themes intended to represent meaning in the album. furthermore, the use of stars seems to be a prevalent theme in this album, given the stage they perform on, as well as the self explanatory song. The universe, such as the mentioned tangible objects and symbology seem to be ideas being conveyed through the album, or at least through the art and pictures. This tied in with the title 'ghost stories' makes me think that spirituality is present in the album, that correlates to the mentioned symbology. Who knows, maybe he's singing about the 'holy ghost'.. P.S, I do not conform to any religion lol

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Who knows, maybe he's singing about the 'holy ghost'.. P.S, I do not conform to any religion lol

 

Honestly, I'm not sure if we'll ever know Chris' true intentions behind the religious material in Coldplay's songs. From "God is in the houses and God is in my head", to "Lord lead me not into temptation", to "Devil talking with those angel's eyes", to "Lord I don't know which way I am going", to "Bleed from thorns"... the list just goes on and on.

 

Like you I'm not particularly religious, and I don't think it matters if the band is or not, but its definitely a reoccurring theme in Coldplay's music.

 

As for Ghost Stories, I think you're right; there are general themes of spiritually and mortality that can apply to any person or culture.

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I actually didn't really like the fact that MX was based on a story they came up with and all the songs had to fit into that. When I saw the artwork for Magic and GS with the figurative drawings I was afraid they would use some narrative again through the album. But the Zane Lowe interview made it kinda clear that the songs just really came from Chris himself and not from the viewpoint of some comic character.

I think the vocal effects are more just an way to enhance the sound and feel of the songs (if that makes any sense) than that they're used from some person-related concept.

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Honestly, I'm not sure if we'll ever know Chris' true intentions behind the religious material in Coldplay's songs. From "God is in the houses and God is in my head", to "Lord lead me not into temptation", to "Devil talking with those angel's eyes", to "Lord I don't know which way I am going", to "Bleed from thorns"... the list just goes on and on.

 

Like you I'm not particularly religious, and I don't think it matters if the band is or not, but its definitely a reoccurring theme in Coldplay's music.

 

As for Ghost Stories, I think you're right; there are general themes of spiritually and mortality that can apply to any person or culture.

 

Even though I get a little irritated when I hear Biblical references in CP songs (i'm an atheist), I tolerate it for the same reason I tolerate reference to Greek Mythology and books such as Nineteen Eighty-four (best book ever btw). I see them as harmless literary references. CP songs could be a lot more religious (listen to jeremy camp for real christian rock). As long as they're not preaching to me in their music, I'm cool. What do you think is their most religious song?

 

Oh, and the "ghosts" are most likely the ghosts of someone's past.

 

EDIT:

“Who, and what are you?” Scrooge demanded.

 

“I am the Ghost of Christmas Past.”

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Chris explained the "ghosts" on Ghost Stories in the Zane Lowe interview:

 

The idea of Ghost Stories for me was how do you let the things that happen to you in the past, "your ghosts", how do you let them affect your present and your future. Because there was a time when I was feeling they were going to drag me down, kind of ruin my life and the life of those around me.

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Chris explained the "ghosts" on Ghost Stories in the Zane Lowe interview:

 

The idea of Ghost Stories for me was how do you let the things that happen to you in the past, "your ghosts", how do you let them affect your present and your future. Because there was a time when I was feeling they were going to drag me down, kind of ruin my life and the life of those around me.

 

To be fair, I think there are two distinctions here:

 

In the context of lyrics, the “ghosts” are realized through “things that happen in the past”. Events or "Stories" of the past. Awesome, thanks Zane Lowe!

 

Secondly, this thread was an attempt to link the ambient vocal effects to those “Ghost Stories”. I’m happy to admit there isn’t necessarily a complete answer here. The music and sounds of the album can be interpreted in a variety of ways. Having that said…

 

[On the choral sounds at the start of Always In My Head] “Our sound engineer Dan makes synth sounds… and then my daughter is singing a little bit in there as well. The whole idea of that was just a sort of idea of togetherness through life’s challenges.”

 

I still think there’s plenty of room to argue that these voices are connected to real people (of the past and present). Again, Another’s Arms seems to be a vivid example of a woman's voice just lingering on as a memory.

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I myself dont mind religious songs. Really loving the thought of it having religious theme..

 

Let's not confuse religion with spirituality.

One things clear tho after reading all the lyrics: every song is about Gwen and the breakup.

He's heartbroken.

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Yeah I agree with that ^ comment. I Think Chris (not sure about the rest of the band) take a spiritual perspective rather than a religious one. I think he believes in God, but not within any particular dogma. The songs do appear to be about a breakup, his own or a hypothetical one. But there are also spiritual elements to it, I believe. That's just how I relate to it anyway.

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Let's not confuse religion with spirituality.

One things clear tho after reading all the lyrics: every song is about Gwen and the breakup.

He's heartbroken.

 

So sad, but if they never get back together im sure he will find somebody special someday, I just wish it was back with Gwyneth they made such a nice couple..

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I think the ambient parts are the ghostbusters channeling their emotions through these noises. They're live-recordings of when they were clearing a house with scooby doo.

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I think the ambient parts are the ghostbusters channeling their emotions through these noises. They're live-recordings of when they were clearing a house with scooby doo.

 

The band should play the Ghost Busters theme before they get onstage. Just like they did with Back To The Future on the last tour!

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The band should play the Ghost Busters theme before they get onstage. Just like they did with Back To The Future on the last tour!

Yesss that would be very cool!

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The band should play the Ghost Busters theme before they get onstage. Just like they did with Back To The Future on the last tour!

 

Oh yeah man. I miss that intro in the Live 2012 :(

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