Coldplay’s “Ghost Stories” is No Longer All About Singing

Longtime readers of the blog will remember my analysis of The Singing of Coldplay vs. the Soul of Muse. If you’ll recall, the learned conclusion of that scholarly article was that Coldplay songs mention singing a lot, while Muse songs mention souls a lot.

I am pleased to report that this trend has made a sharp turn.

Let’s review the stats from each bands’ first five studio albums:

The Singing of Coldplay

Background photo source

The Soul of Muse

Background photo source

As you can see, both bands followed the same basic pattern with their respective obsessions, with Muse getting particularly repetitive in album four.

Later in 2012 – goodness, almost two years ago already? – Muse put out The 2nd Law, and it was pretty consistent with the pattern. Three tracks featured at least one instance of the word “soul” (three times in the song “Explorers”) for a total of five appearances, just like on Showbiz and Absolution.

Coldplay’s sixth studio album, however, throws a little curveball. On Ghost Stories, released yesterday in the United States, not once does frontman Chris Martin explain to us that he is currently singing. Not one time. (He is though.)

Does he think we’ve gotten the message by now? Has Coldplay unilaterally called off the senseless brinkmanship between the two British prog rock powerhouses? Is self-referential art – singing about singing, movies about movies, musicals about musicals, writing about writing – now dead? Did Chris Martin kill art?

We may never know.

One thing is for certain: this genre has reached a tipping point. With one arm forsaking its defining element and the other remaining perfectly and maddeningly consistent, what does the future hold? One might even be tempted to look at pretentious orchestral rock music from British bands who have not enjoyed the goliath success Muse and Coldplay have.

There’s this charming group called Thirteen Senses, for example, who just put out a record two weeks ago called A Strange Encounter. Digital only, no physical release. Their site is a Tumblr; your argument is invalid.

Anyway, for those keeping score, here we go:

Muse - The 2nd Law vs Coldplay - Ghost Stories

There’s no possible way this could be taken out of context.

Leave a Reply