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The casual Coldplay listener might confuse this new album, their sixth, for a “best of” compilation. “Fly On” and “Oceans” are more acoustic, reminiscent of their debut Parachutes. “Always in My Head” and “True Love” remind the listener of their bigger rock sound on A Rush of Blood to the Head. “Magic” and “Ink” turn on the arena-sized ballads found on X & Y. Echoes of Viva la Vida live on in the tribal beats and choral vocals of “Another’s Arms” and the experimental sound of “Midnight.” “A Sky Full of Stars” is a danceable pop hit, in the vein of Mylo Xyloto.

These new songs continue in the theme of romance and relationship. But here the language is from the voice of someone more seasoned, experienced, and a little jaded. “True Love” is pure desperation: “I had it once, I lost it though/And all along the fire below would rise/And I wish you could have let me know/What's really going on below/I’ve lost you now, you let me go/But one last time/Tell me you love me/If you don’t then lie/Lie to me.”

Overall, Ghost Stories is a goodbye, a lament for something precious that is gone. In this case, the celebrity gossip news gives away the ending: lyricist Chris Martin and his wife, Gwyneth Paltrow, announced their split mere months before this album’s release. Like many artists, his real-life sorrow has produced some excellent music. (Atlantic)

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