AOTY 2019

Ghost Stories

Coldplay - Ghost Stories
Critic Score
Based on 30 reviews
2014 Ratings: #787 / 845
User Score
Based on 440 ratings
2014 Ratings: #443
May 19, 2014 / Release Date
LP / Format
Parlophone/Atlantic / Label
Pop Rock / Genres
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www.coldplay.com / Website
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CRITIC REVIEWS

80
AllMusic

Coldplay may not be forceful, but within their incessant politeness they do have a distinctive personality, one that shines through whatever tricks individual producers bring to the table.

75
The Line of Best Fit

As much as Martin may emphasise it being a learning curve or “joyful realisation” about the ups and downs of love, it’s inescapably, undeniably a break-up album. Rousing, downtempo pop to soothe a troubled soul. ​

75
Paste

It’s them getting back to their roots after taking the majority of the world by storm. For the most part, gone is the orchestral, light experimentalism of Viva la Vida and the synthed-out bombast of Mylo Xyloto.

70
NME

This isn't quite early Coldplay rebooted. It shares a simple sparseness with 'Parachutes', but the approach is radically different.

70
No Ripcord

On Ghost Stories, despite a near derailment, they "fly on," moving in fresh directions while keep the catharsis that gave them their audience in the first place.

70
Spin

This doesn't mean Ghost Stories is a bleak album. In fact, its deep sea of synth-encrusted pop glistens under a halo of angelic ambient touches and Martin's ever-rosy perspective

67
A.V. Club

Martin does a touching though frequently ham-handed job of working through his feelings, at least on eight of these nine tracks.

60
DIY

‘Ghost Stories’ is the sound of Coldplay finally coming to terms with who they are - a universally loved, often loathed, slightly cheesy outfit. 

60
Exclaim!

It has brief sparks of a fresh creativity and has plenty of potential, but doesn't take steps bold enough to totally reinvent itself, making for a record littered with moments that let it sink into the forgettable parts of the band's catalogue.

60
Drowned in Sound

You can feel the thought and polish that has gone into everything, and though Ghost Stories is almost unprecedentedly pared down and shorn of ego for a sixth album by an act of this stature, the music never has the ragged quality to put it in sync with Martin's voice. 

60
American Songwriter

While there are moments in which Coldplay take some interesting steps forward on Ghost Stories, there are a few moments when the band rests a little too heavily on easy listening or pop music clichés. 

60
musicOMH

But you do get a short and sweet nine-track exorcism of demons and one crushed dude who knows how to pen some beautiful, infectious ballads.

58
Consequence of Sound

Even though it’s not Coldplay’s strongest, Ghost Stories should be applauded for scaling back the gaudy excesses of their previous albums. 

56
Sputnikmusic

Overall, Coldplay’s decision to drop back a couple of gears does not serve them well, especially given the fact that the quality of Martin’s lyrics rarely rise above the serviceable. 

50
Pretty Much Amazing

For an album that aims to explore the most emotional time in Martin’s life, Ghost Stories stands as Coldplay’s most distancing effort to date.

44
Pitchfork

Ghost Stories is unmistakably Coldplay's "breakup album," a subdued work that finds 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.

40
Time Out London

Weighing in at a scant 40 minutes, the tone of ‘Ghost Stories’ is electronic and plodding, not guitary and surging. Forget the idea of Coldplay writing for stadiums – this is the sound of a band restraining themselves and desperately holding it in.

30
PopMatters

Despite all the emotional gravitas and metaphysical significance Coldplay wishes to impart with this album, the tunes are too flat to hit home at their best and perilously teetering over the edge of plagiarism at their worst.

MinatoArisato
65
I surprisingly think that this album is one of the more underrated records in Coldplay's discography. Yes, Ghost Stories does have massive problems, repetitive and has some weakish songs, however, this album has something which I think think the other Coldplay albums of this decade have lacked, personality. Ghost Stories feels like an album, it has a feeling and a concept even if it's your basic Coldplay heartache album I do think that this album has a unique aspect to its sound that for me ... read more
KengojiUltamYT
61
Kid A for the Mainstream
TreyLikesBands
72
Good

"Ghost Stories", as an entire body of work, works beautifully to create an immersive, spacious, almost soaring atmosphere. Some songs go on for a bit longer than anticipated, but other than the lack of memorability in them, add to the overall ambiance. It's their most subdued record to date, and their most personal-feeling.

Color: Blue
FAV TRACKS: True Love, Midnight, O, Always in My Head, Another's Arms
LEAST FAV: Magic, A Sky Full of Stars
cfreemon
47
Starry-eyed college sophomore me was a Ghost Stories defender. At the time I found Chris Martin's sad croons meaningful, and the mix of sparse electronica beats fitting of the record's theme. Jaded mid-20's wage slave me isn't as agreeable. I still admire the sparse sound to a degree, especially on the 22, A Million predictor "Midnight". It crawls through a cold, blurry electronic landscape that's constantly shifting, but most other efforts aren't as engaging. The sound leaves a lot ... read more
bajafrecuencia
50
Coldplay intenta volver a sus raíces acústicas y melancólicas. Y al no lograrlo, nos entregan un conjunto de canciones formuladas y sin vida, hechas para replicar una mejor época de la banda.

Y finalmente, ni siquiera a ello pueden comprometerse ya que casi al final liberan un tema de bases explosivas y pésima producción: "A Sky Full of Stars". Un atisbo de lo peor que seguiría con su siguiente álbum. Confirmando a su vez la ... read more
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Year End Lists

#41/The Telegraph
#48/Rolling Stone

Track List

  1. Always In My Head
  2. Magic
  3. Ink
  4. True Love
  5. Midnight
  6. Another's Arms
  7. Oceans
  8. A Sky Full Of Stars
  9. O
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Added on: March 3, 2014