I first heard Coldplay’s “Yellow” on Iceberg Radio when Parachutes was released in 2000 and I quickly jotted down the details of the album. I’d like to say this happened long before they caught on, but many others were doing the same thing at that exact time. I have followed them through their other albums, some great and some okay, though Ghost Stories is pretty tough to like at times. If I heard it as my first encounter with the group I’m sure I’d have continued on with what I was doing; there’s nothing remotely remarkable about this album.
What’s Up with the Drums?
The drums on Ghost Stories sometimes sound like those 1980s Roland drum components in the early days of development—in other words, nothing like real drums. At their worst, as on “Magic,” they sound like the drum machines that were once ubiquitous with man-with-guitar situations back in the 80s in bars, legions, and community halls. The drums sometimes sound so mechanical—literally—they are actually distracting, as they are at the beginning of “Magic” and on “Another’s Arms.” Will Champion is a good drummer, too bad there is no sign of that here.
Then There’s the 10cc Sound
Nothing wrong with 10cc, in fact they were an amazing group back in their day—somewhat overproduced, but compelling. “Always in My Head,” “Midnight,” “O,” and “All Your Friends” sound like new releases from 10cc. That’s a big dose of 10cc in 2014 and it’s the production that delivers it.
And Production In General
The production is telling. Daniel Green, Rik Simpson, Paul Epworth, and the band itself are the producers. It’s like one of those TV shows where the stars end up as producers, directors, and executives of some sort. We all know what it’s like to watch those episodes. It’s Beatles’ syndrome; when was the last time you drove around listening to “Revolution 9”? It might be time to find a roof somewhere, before it’s too late.