As the title implies, Coldplay’s sixth album, “Ghost Stories,” out Tuesday, is a spectral affair, haunted by longing.
Co-produced by the Brit pop-rock quartet and previous collaborators like Paul Epworth, these are contemplative, lifesize “Stories,” plain-spoken, personal tales mostly free from the gloss of the band’s often grandiose arena ambitions but still featuring several sonic layers — acoustic and electronic — and some earwormy melodies.
The collection is a hazy look at what has been lost, like quiet, cozy moments watching late-night TV (“Another’s Arms”) or the times when “I love you” felt glorious instead of hollow (“True Love”).
Even without headlines for assistance, it would be clear that “Ghost Stories” is a breakup album. But if surveying romantic wreckage through the rearview mirror usually involves several stages, for this album, the band, and particularly frontman Chris Martin, seem pre-occupied with the downbeat resignation phase.
There is, of course, beauty to be wrung from sadness, and “Ghost Stories” has several lovely passages of outright melancholy, including the keening, reverb-laden howls of “Midnight.” It also pairs the heartache with pleasing musical counterpoints like the jaunty underpinnings of “True Love.”
But it can get a bit dreary and a couple of dollops of other emotions — anger, for one — could’ve gone a ways toward varying the mood. (Out Tuesday)
ESSENTIAL “True Love”