"Magic" by Coldplay // Ghost Stories (Out May, 2014 via Parlophone)
I must say, that I’m completely perplexed. I never would have guessed that in 2014 that I would find myself spending much time thinking about new music from Coldplay. No disrespect to Chris Martin and the boys, but I just hadn’t really connected to anything that the band had done since 2005. It was just a case of artist and fan growing in different directions. I didn’t dislike their output, but it wasn’t drawing me in the way it once did. Cut to last week when the band released the new track, “Midnight”, which sounded completely different than anything that the band had ever done. Eschewing the stadium ready anthems for a darker, atmospheric track that felt more attuned to Justin Vernon's Volcano Choir output than Coldplay. Now, just a few days later - the band drops the official information on their forthcoming sixth album, Ghost Stories, as well as another taste of the new album. “Magic” is again, something different, albeit a little closer to the Coldplay of Rush of Blood to the Head, but still different. Starting off with a guitar loop and drum machine sample that sounds straight out of The XX, it takes a while to really start sounding like a full on Coldplay track, but even when it does, the influences are all shifted. No rapturous U2-like chorus, and Radiohead-style electro flourishes, instead this sound like a band freshly inspired by the wave of genre-bending new artists that have permeated the market in recent years. There’s a somber, R&B leaning tone to the track that never gets too heavy - in fact, at times it sounds downright sweet once the shimmering post-rock guitars collide with Martin’s falsetto. This is Coldplay at it’s best, and I’m frankly impressed that this far into their career, they’re shifting into something resembling unpredictability. I’m excited for what lies ahead.