The Ghost Stories era – Coldplay’s magical live return (March)
Coldplay’s magical live return – March.
March had started and within 36 hours of the month change, we had gone from knowing nothing to knowing everything, about Coldplay’s sixth album.
Call it Magic!
So, the burning question was the relevance of Midnight to Coldplay’s upcoming album. We didn’t have to wait too long for the answer as on March 2nd, the details of the band’s new album titled, Ghost Stories were let loose on Coldplay’s official website. Midnight was confirmed as an album track but it was only to be a teaser/promo song; Magic had been announced as the official first single, with the audio for the millions of excited Coldplay fans worldwide:
Magic received a generally positive response from critics, who often described the effort as a “return to form”. The tune is more laid back than usual for Coldplay’s introductory radio single and begins with Guy Berryman’s bass solo. The track made an impact straight away, and charted at #10 in the UK singles charts and at 14th position in the US.
Let’s get to the meaty part! The full tracklist was shown to us upon the revelation of the album title, Ghost Stories. The album appeared to be a short one, with only nine tracks, or possibly, a longer epic track in waiting. Three extra tracks were announced however, to feature on the deluxe version of Ghost Stories, which would only be available via US retailer, Target.
Ghost Stories tracklisting:
1. Always in My Head
4. True Love
6. Another’s Arms
8. A Sky Full of Stars
Ghost Stories was set for release on May 19th. Fans could also use a magnifying glass feature on Coldplay’s official website to view the magnificent detail on the album cover.
There was already talk of what Coldplay’s next single from Ghost Stories would be, just a day after the release of Magic. This was down to not only the excitement of the album announcement but the listing of Ghost Stories on Amazon. The retail website had individual release dates for two tracks we had not heard as of then: Another’s Arms and A Sky Full Of Stars, due on April 28th and May 12th.
The artist who has been working with Coldplay for their sixth record was revealed to be Czech born Mila Fürstová. Jackiehawkins.com describes the artwork for Magic and Ghost Stories perfectly :
The single art for Magic features a symbolic white dove imposed onto a blue canvas. Contained within the perimeter of the dove is a scenario featuring imagery related to stage magic, including a levitating couple, a flying deck of cards and a theatre stage. The level of detail is just gorgeous…
Coldplay’s grand live return
Their live return was anticipated as much as the album announcement and was aired live online to millions of music fans. The venue was the iTunes festival, held in Austin, Texas for 2014. Another reason to cheer was the impending feeling that new Coldplay material was about to drop, for the very first time.
1 Always In My Head*
2 Charlie Brown
6 Another’s Arms*
7 Viva La Vida
9 Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall
10 Fix You
(* new songs from the forthcoming album: Ghost Stories)
Two previously unheard songs, the beautiful and understated Always in My Head and the haunting Another’s Arms debuted at the magnificent comeback show, which included the live first’s for Magic, in addition to the set finale, Midnight. For Coldplay’s electronic, Jon Hopkins inspired track, bassist, Guy Berryman play one of the band’s new toys, a laser harp!
Top secret filming
In perhaps the biggest shock so far, a few hundred lucky Coldplay fans were invited or had won tickets to a ‘top secret show’ in Los Angeles, at the Sony studios. Little did they know, they were about to witness the first ever performance of Ghost Stories, in its entirety and no one else apart from them would listen to the album for a while yet. Not only that, Coldplay were filming a concert special for a new DVD!
A trio of shows on March 21st, 22nd and 23rd formed an unforgettable experience for many fans. The first two nights were mainly filming, as the audience were asked to play their part in front of the cameras, inside the unbelievable theater, which cost $4 million to make, for just the Sony studios venue! The entirety of the band’s new album, Ghost Stories was performed on all three nights. Paradise, Clocks, Viva La Vida, Fix You and Paradise (once more) featured either side of the Ghost Stories set on the first night. The audience on the second night and third nights listened to Paradise, Clocks and The Scientist (which was the song of choice when Chris asked everyone on the second night). The third gig was not filmed we believe and had a larger crowd of up to 1,600 people.
Most importantly, these shows symbolised the scaled down approach Coldplay wanted to take for the newly arisen musical era. They wanted to connect to the fans on a more personal level and experience a different kind of energy and feeling, compared to the raw, adrenaline fueled energy accosiatated with the previous stadium tour for the Mylo Xyloto era.
The guessing game
Unlike Mylo Xyloto, where we were interpreting a song, such as Princess Of China from a low quality Youtube clip, there were no clips this time as any recording devices were strictly prohibited at Coldplay’s exclusive concert in LA. Coldplayers were trying to find out as much information as possible, from the reviews of other fans who managed to see Ghost Stories debut in full at the Sony studios.
Many reviews were posted on the Coldplaying forums (including this one by Ostrich) and the general jist among the reviews of the previously unheard tracks was :
Ink featured Chris Martin on an acoustic guitar. A catchy, upbeat Coldplay classic. True Love wasn’t described in as much detail as the others but the two words used were, heartbreak and Jonny Buckland’s guitar solo! Oceans featured a ‘ship horn’ sound from Will Champion’s drum pad and it’s name lives up to the atmosphere the song radiates. O saw Will playing the electric guitar. A slower number which doesn’t build up to a massive conclusion.
Eight track on the album, A Sky Full Of Stars received the most praise as was the standout for many fans. The hype of the track was incredible as all sorts of phrases were beamed across our forums. ‘Best Coldplay song since Viva La Vida‘ and ‘the next Yellow‘ were among them. Most Coldplayers made up their mind that A Sky Full Of Stars was the ‘massive’ track from Coldplay’s upcoming album and definitely the one to wait for!
Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow separation announced
A trending post of news, which didn’t involve Chris Martin for musical reasons, was in form of a separation announcement, made by Gwyneth Paltrow on her website, Goop. Chris’ now former partner coined the term, “Conscious Uncoupling” (a word which doesn’t frequent these parts!) when describing their break up. News spread quickly and it resulted in 2014 seemingly being a media frenzy for their romantic interests. The quote from Gwyneth’s website post:
It is with hearts full of sadness that we have decided to separate. We have been working hard for well over a year, some of it together, some of it separated, to see what might have been possible between us, and we have come to the conclusion that while we love each other very much we will remain separate. We are, however, and always will be a family, and in many ways we are closer than we have ever been. We are parents first and foremost, to two incredibly wonderful children and we ask for their and our space and privacy to be respected at this difficult time. We have always conducted our relationship privately, and we hope that as we consciously uncouple and coparent, we will be able to continue in the same manner.
Gwyneth & Chris
After this event, the lyrics of Another’s Arms caught attention, with the words: “Late night watching TV, used to be you here beside me, used to be your arms around me, your body on my body”. Ghost Stories was being refered to in some quarters as a ‘break-up album’ and the more and more it appeared to be about Chris’ personal life.
The wait is on!
Ghost Stories was only under two months away and most conversation was focused on what Coldplay’s sixth effort would sound like. Maybe we will find more clues or even hear a new song or two during April. What about the music video for Magic? Jonas Åkerlund had been named as the director for the new video, which was expected to appear very soon….