Friday, 4 July 2014

Coldplay - Ghost Stories

Ghost Stories (Coldplay album)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Ghost Stories
Studio album by Coldplay
Released16 May 2014
RecordedNovember 2012 – March 2014; The Bakery and The Beehive (London, England)
GenreElectronica,[1][2] alternative rock
Length42:37
52:03 (Target Deluxe edition)
LabelParlophone
Producer
Coldplay chronology
Coldplay Live 2012
(2012)
Ghost Stories
(2014)
Coldplay studio chronology
"Mylo Xyloto"
(2011)
Ghost Stories
(2014)
Singles from Ghost Stories
  1. "Magic"
    Released: 3 March 2014
  2. "Midnight"
    Released: 17 April 2014
  3. "A Sky Full of Stars"
    Released: 2 May 2014
  4. "True Love"
    Released: 2014[3]
Ghost Stories is the sixth studio album by British rock band Coldplay. The album, co-produced by the band with Paul Epworth along with returning Mylo Xyloto producers Daniel Green, and Rik Simpson, was released by Parlophone on 16 May 2014. The album was released by Atlantic Records in North America on 19 May 2014. It is the first full-length release by the band in North America under Atlantic, after Coldplay were transferred from Capitol Records in 2013, following the purchase of EMI and its assets by the Universal Music Group in 2012.
Ghost Stories, partly inspired by lead singer Chris Martin's troubled relationship with Gwyneth Paltrow at the time of the album's recording, is a concept album that tells the story of a man going through a dramatic and sudden breakup, with the narrative following the man's various emotional states leading up to his eventual acceptance of the situation. The album revolves around a central theme of "opening yourself up to love", and accepting that love does not last forever. The album was recorded by the band throughout 2012 and 2014 at the band's purpose-built home studios in London, England, and features guest producers Avicii,Timbaland and Madeon, in addition to the band's frequent collaborator, Jon Hopkins. The album is packaged with original etchings by Mila Fürstová, created specifically for the album.
The album was heavily promoted by the band and Parlophone in the lead-up to its release, with an accompanying prime time TV special, a visual album and a six-date promotional tour of the album, as well as various appearances on television and radio. The album was further promoted by three singles: "Magic", released in March, "Midnight", released in April, and "A Sky Full of Stars", released in May 2014.

Contents

  [show

Background[edit]

In 2011, Coldplay released their fifth studio album, Mylo Xyloto. Originally conceived by the band as a "stripped-down, more acoustic collection",[4] it became one of Coldplay's most experimental and pop-oriented records to date, being described as "luxuriously colourful"[5] where "the choruses are bigger, the textures grander [and] the optimism more optimistic."[6] Produced by Markus Dravs,Brian EnoRik Simpson and Dan Green, the album peaked at number one on 18 national album charts and was certified Platinum in 16 different countries. Mylo Xyloto had also sold 8 million copies within the first year of release.[7] Coldplay's 2011 single, "Paradise", became the band's second UK number-one single after 2008's "Viva la Vida". Coldplay's subsequent world tour in promotion of Mylo Xyloto visited North America, Europe, Australasia and Africa, raising $99.7 million in revenue.[8]
Going into the creative process for their sixth studio album, the band wanted to return to the "stripped-down, more acoustic collection" they had stated their fifth album would be, returning to the original idea of an acoustic-oriented album, with less of the production and sound that made Mylo Xyloto. Drummer Will Champion spoke to Jo Whiley of BBC Radio 2 fame, saying in response to a question about the album being more stripped-back: "Yeah, that might be nice, actually. There's only so far you can go without becoming pompous and a bit overblown, so we'll tread that line very carefully. Reset. Recalibrate."[9]

Concept[edit]

Ghost Stories is a concept album that revolves around two major themes mentioned by lead singer Chris Martin. The album explores the idea of past actions, and the effects they can have on the future and one's capacity for love. The album was mostly inspired by Martin's troubled relationship with then-wife Gwyneth Paltrow.[10] The couple, who eventually separated in March 2014, had been going through a rough relationship which they had been attempting to resolve in the two years prior to their split.[11]
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 like they were going to drag me down and ruin my life, and the lives of those around me. I was very lucky to meet a very good sufi teacher who started to introduce the idea of "if you sit with your experiences and the things you've been through, they alchemize." At the time he said that, I didn't really know what that meant, but I trusted that it would work, and the more that I was learning about that, the more music just started flowing through.

Recording[edit]

The creative process and recording sessions for the band's sixth studio album took place between late 2012 and early 2014, at their purpose-built studios The Bakery and The Beehive in North London, England. The studios were both originally constructed for work on their two previous studio albums, 2008's Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends and 2011's Mylo Xyloto. The band took a different approach for their sixth studio album in contrast to their previous studio albums.[12] Lead singer Chris Martin invited the band to contribute original songwriting material for the album, as opposed to building songs off Martin's ideas as they had done during previous recording sessions. For example, "Magic" was built off a bass riff originally conceived by bassist Guy Berryman in the studio.[13]
For a long, long time I've been begging the band, "Please could someone else start a song"! I've been given that gift from the universe, or from God or whatever you want to believe in that ideas for songs get sent through wherever they get sent from, and then I take them to the rest of the band and then we layer it up and that's how we do it. I was so grateful. It made me so happy and that was kind of a sample of the album as a whole, "We'll help each other out here". There were lots of songs but that was the first point where I thought, "Everyone is invested in this, everyone knows what we're trying to do; go a bit more personal".
—Chris Martin

Packaging[edit]

An example of Mila Fürstová's work, which are inspired by mythology, a central theme also depicted in the artwork for Ghost Stories.(Pictured: "Other Skies I" by Fürstová, 2011)
The album art for Ghost Stories was etched by British based, Czech etching artist Mila Fürstová.[14] The medieval art-driven artwork, measuring 100 by 100 cm, features a pair of angel wings imposed onto a painting of an ocean under a sky at night. The angel wings themselves feature cryptic imagery of medieval-style drawings of fairly contemporary objects and concepts. The images include a couple in love, a man facing a mirror, a flight of white doves, a circular maze, a girl by candlelight, a window looking out onto an incoming tornado and a garden plant with a ladder, amongst other imagery depicted in the artwork. A larger, digital version of the artwork is available on Coldplay's official website, with the ability to zoom into the artwork with a screen magnifier.[15]
Fürstová had etched the artworks for all of the releases in the Ghost Stories album cycle, including the artwork for singles "Magic" and "Midnight", which all use the same motif of a scenario taking place in a larger body. Fürstová, whose work has been described as "dazzling images are both contemporary and personal, searching in the surreality of dreams, tales and fables that can map the framework of our consciousness",[16] and has won numerous awards, including the Royal College of Art Society Award in 2001 and becoming the youngest academician at the Royal West of England Academy in 2009,[17] was invited by Coldplay to etch artworks for their new album in January 2013. She described the collaboration between her and the band as "a most inspiring journey and a truly humbling experience to cooperate with such talented people".[18]
There are plans for an exhibition of Fürstová's Ghost Stories artworks in the Autumn of 2014 in central London. 25 original etchings and 100 high-quality digital prints of the artwork, all hand-signed by Fürstová, are also set to go on sale on 19 May 2014, the same day Ghost Stories releases in the United Kingdom and the United States.[19]

Promotion[edit]

Coldplay performing at the televised 2014iTunes Festival at SXSW where four Ghost Stories tracks were premiered live.
Coldplay performed on the opening night of the televised 2014 iTunes Festival at SXSW on 11 March 2014 at the Moody Theater inAustin, Texas. In addition to performing "Magic" and "Midnight", the band performed "Always in My Head" and "Another's Arms"; the first live performances of the four songs.[20] The band also performed "Magic" in a pre-recorded segment of Sport Relief 2014, which aired on BBC One on 21 March 2014.[21]
In April, Coldplay announced an international scavenger hunt for sheets containing lyrics to the nine songs on the album. The notes, handwritten by Martin, were placed in ghost story books in libraries around the world, with the band tweeting clues leading to their locations. One of the hidden envelopes was also containing a special Golden Ticket, allowing its finder and their guest to go to London for the Coldplay concert at the Royal Albert Hall in July.[22][23] The lyric sheets have been found in libraries in Mexico City, Singapore, Helsinki, Barcelona, Dartford, New York City, TaurangaDublin and Johannesburg.[24]
A TV special titled Coldplay: Ghost Stories was filmed in March 2014 by the Grammy-nominated director Paul Dugdale (AdeleThe Rolling Stones) in a custom-built amphitheatre in Los Angeles. Coldplay performed material from the album in its entirety for the first time. The show, which included cinematic vignettes and 360-degree projections, was attended by an audience of 800 fans and press, and will be broadcast in prime time in several countries in May and June 2014.[25][26][27] Coldplay was also the musical act for the 3 May airing of NBC late-night sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live and performed "Magic" and "A Sky Full of Stars." It was the band's fifth appearance on the show.[28]
On 12 May 2014, seven days before its release date, the album became available to stream in full via iTunes, accompanied by an animated video revolving around Fürstová's album artwork,[29] but the band refused to allow Spotify to stream the album.[30][31]

Tour[edit]

In April to July, Coldplay will embark on a six-date promotional tour in support of the album. The band has performed at E-Werk in Cologne, Germany on 25 April and will perform at the Beacon Theatre in New York City, New York on 5 May, prior to the release of Ghost Stories. The band continues the tour after the release of the album at the Royce Hall in Los Angeles, California on 19 May, the Casino de Paris in Paris, France on 28 May, the Tokyo Dome City Hall in Tokyo, Japan on 12 June, the Enmore Theatre in Sydney, Australia on 19 June and closing the tour at the Royal Albert Hall in London on 2 July 2014.[32] Ghost Stories Promotional Tour
DateCityCountryVenueSupporting Acts
25 April 2014CologneGermanyE-Werk
5 May 2014New YorkUnited StatesBeacon Theatre
19 May 2014Los AngelesRoyce HallLondon Grammar
24 May 2014GlasgowEnglandRadio 1's Big Weekend
28 May 2014ParisFranceCasino de Paris
12 June 2014TokyoJapanDome City Hall
19 June 2014SydneyAustraliaEnmore Theatre
1 July 2014LondonEnglandRoyal Albert HallAlunaGeorge
2 July 2014

Singles[edit]

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"Magic" features a similar production style to tracks on Mylo Xyloto, yet contrasts with its softer, less "colourful" music.

Problems playing this file? See media help.
music video for "Midnight", the fifth track on the album, was released as a teaser for the band's sixth studio album on 25 February 2014. Ghost Stories was officially unveiled by Coldplay and Parlophone a week later on 3 March 2014, along with its artwork and track listing.[33] "Magic" was released by Parlophone on 3 March 2014 as the lead single promoting Ghost Stories. The featured track, "Magic", was also made available to download through Ghost Stories on iTunes and Amazon.com the same day, with pre-orders of the album including the track as an "instant-grat" download.[34][35] Following the release of the single and track, it charted on 25 national record charts, so far peaking within the top ten in 18 countries.
A second single promoting the album, "Midnight", was released by Parlophone on 17 April 2014[36] as a one-sided 7-inch vinyl for Record Store Day in a number of 3000 copies.[37] "A Sky Full of Stars" was released digitally as the second official single on 2 May 2014. Within 24 hours from its iTunes release, the track had sold 121,690 units worldwide,[38] peaking at number one in 86 countries on the iTunes Store Charts.[39] The song reached number ten on the Billboard Hot 100, making it their third top 10 hit and first since "Viva la Vida" in 2008.[40] It also became their first number-one single on the Billboard Hot Rock Songs chart.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Metacritic61/100[41]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic4/5 stars[42]
Consequence of SoundC+[43]
Entertainment WeeklyB[44]
The Guardian3/5 stars[45]
The Independent3/5 stars[46]
NME7/10[47]
The Observer2/5 stars[48]
Pitchfork Media4.4/10[49]
Rolling Stone3.5/5 stars[50]
USA Today2.5/4 stars[51]
Ghost Stories received mixed to positive reviews from contemporary music critics.[52] At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 61, based on 31 reviews, which indicates "generally favorable reviews".[41] Jason Lipshutz of Billboard wrote the magazine's track-by-track review of the album, praising it as the band's "most listenable album in years" and describing it as "an evocative concoction of sullen phrases, sparse arrangements and powerful themes."[53] Kyle Anderson of Entertainment Weekly commented that Ghost Stories "will likely be remembered as a transitional album" and noted that "while being solid, it feels like a prequel to something better."[44] Larry Fitzmaurice of Pitchfork Media wrote that the album is a "subdued work that finds Chris Martin and his band crisply moping through mid-tempo soundscapes and fuzzy electronic touches that have the visceral impact of a down comforter tumbling down a flight of stairs."[49] Nick Hasted of The Independent wrote that Martin "accepts his loss too meekly to approach the anguish of a great break-up album", but concluded that the band's "step away from grand platitudes is still one in the right direction."[46]
Jerry Shriver of USA Today felt that "within the realm of memorable breakup albums," Ghost Stories lacked "the confessional gut-punch of Dylan's Blood on the Tracks, the acrimony of Richard and Linda Thompson's Shoot Out the Lights and the irresistible sonic appeal of Fleetwood Mac's Rumours," ultimately describing it as "not even a particularly memorable Coldplay album."[51] While noting that Ghost Stories "should be applauded for scaling back the gaudy excesses of their previous albums," Consequence of Sound's Josh Terry opined that its songs "suffer from a lack of direction" and "could use the vitality that launched them to the top in the first place."[43] Mikael Wood of Los Angeles Times wrote, "The nine songs on Ghost Stories hum gently, cultivating an effective sense of intimacy. As always, there's a lot going on in the music, sculpted by the band along with various collaborators." He added, "Coldplay's new album, 'Ghost Stories,' finds the British band setting aside its trademark grandiosity."[54]

Chart performance[edit]

The album debuted at number one on the UK Album Chart, selling 168,000 copies in its opening week—the largest sales of 2014.[55]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Guy BerrymanJonny BucklandWill Champion, and Chris Martin, except "A Sky Full of Stars" co-written by Tim Bergling
Ghost Stories — Standard edition
No.TitleProducer(s)Length
1."Always in My Head"  
3:36
2."Magic"  
  • Coldplay
  • Epworth
  • Green
  • Simpson
4:45
3."Ink"  
  • Coldplay
  • Epworth
  • Green
  • Simpson
3:48
4."True Love"  
  • Coldplay
  • Epworth
  • Green
  • Simpson
4:05
5."Midnight"  
4:54
6."Another's Arms"  
  • Coldplay
  • Epworth
  • Green
  • Simpson
3:54
7."Oceans"  
  • Coldplay
  • Epworth
  • Green
  • Simpson
5:21
8."A Sky Full of Stars"  
  • Coldplay
  • Epworth
  • Green
  • Simpson
  • Bergling[a]
4:28
9."O" ("Fly On" - 0:00-3:54 / "O" - 6:18-7:47)
  • Coldplay
  • Epworth
  • Green
  • Simpson
7:47
Total length:
42:37

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