This past Sunday evening, right around midnight as most of you were winding down from your four hour viewing of the painfully awkward Oscars ceremony, Coldplay announced their new album, titled Ghost Stories, due out May 19.
Now, Coldplay has received a lot of praise and criticism lately. Just a week prior, they released a new track, "Midnight," with essentially zero warning or hype, outside of a few twitter personalities that had the inside track to the band.
"Midnight" was completely different and familiar all the same, causing quite a ruckus among music fans (which was probably the intention). It's a very new direction for Coldplay, stripping their sound of just about every traditional instrument, replacing it with Chris Martin's auto tuned vocals and an atmospheric, electronic arrangement.
And while many, including myself, hailed it as a welcomed and natural progression for the band, tons of fans and critics nailed it as a Bon Iver/Imogen Heap rip off. And to that I say, so what? Nobody ever pinned Coldplay as a revolutionary, groundbreaking band. And really, do they have to be? 90% of today's musical artists have an influence of sorts that they mold into their own sound. This is no different. Not everyone has to be the next Radiohead or Beatles.
And, if their follow-up single that they released alongside the new album announcement, "Magic" is any indication, the entire album isn't going to be Bon Iver. "Magic" brings Martin's full voice back to the forefront, but keeps the simple arrangement that the album appears to possess on the surface. It's a bit more traditional Coldplay, with, might I say, very uninspired lyrics.
Two very different tracks from Ghost Stories leaves us all in wonder of how the rest of the album will sound. It almost feels like the calm, or recovery, from the grand, production-heavy Mylo Xyloto from 2011. If they stick to the formula of "Midnight" (and here's hoping they do), we could have a very different Coldplay, which will also be very 'hit-or-miss' with fans. Either way, Coldplay is still interesting and relevant nearly 15 years into their career.