‘Ghost Stories’: How Chris Martin Bore His Soul On Coldplay’s Haunting Sixth Album – Dig!

Marking a sombre departure from the bright, anthemic sounds of their previous releases, Coldplay’s sixth studio album, Ghost Stories showcased the group’s more introspective and understated side as they worked through a period of personal turmoil. Greatly informed by Chris Martin’s breakup from his wife Gwyneth Paltrow, the album saw the songwriter turn to Sufi mysticism as he navigated feelings of loss and heartbreak, adopting a fatalistic view over atmospheric, stripped-back forays into alt-pop and ambient electronica.

Here is the story of how Ghost Stories saw Martin bare his soul and embrace a melancholic yet hopeful perspective on life’s endings and beginnings.

Listen to ‘Ghost Stories’ here.

The backstory: “It was a challenging period, a journey from ultimate loneliness to ultimate togetherness”

After playing the final show of Coldplay’s Mylo Xyloto Tour in December 2012, Chris Martin returned home and began facing the painful realisation that his marriage to actress Gwyneth Paltrow was coming to its end. “It was evident that things were very difficult for Chris and that he was unhappy,” Coldplay drummer Will Champion said in the documentary A Head Full Of Dreams. “We sort of felt helpless in a way, you know. Naturally it’s distressing when your friend is going through something so traumatic.”

For many years, music had been a source of therapy for the songwriter, with Martin frequently journaling his inner thoughts and turning them into Coldplay lyrics. So heavy was this cloud of despondency, however, it was clear to Martin’s bandmates that they would be called upon to help their friend shoulder his burden. “What we wanted to do was to provide the comfort that music has always given him,” Champion explained. “That’s the only way we could really help him.”

The band’s manager, Phil Harvey, also remembers being worried about Martin’s welfare around this time. “He was in a lot of pain,” Harvey acknowledged. “And almost when he was at his absolute lowest, that was when we started making Ghost Stories.”

Grateful for the kindness and support offered to him, Martin began writing songs that were disarmingly fragile and pensive, funnelling his feelings of heartbreak into home-recorded demos. “What we decided to do on Ghost Stories was to really be honest about it,” he later said. “I don’t want to bullshit, because I need to sing it, to get through the day.” Crediting his bandmates with helping him at a time of crisis, the songwriter poured his heart into what would become Coldplay’s most personal album yet. “It was a challenging period,” Martin later admitted. “It was a sort of journey from ultimate loneliness to ultimate togetherness.”

The recording: “I trusted that it would work”

Initial recordings for Ghost Stories were made at bassist Guy Berryman’s home, where the group set up a makeshift studio in a small room and played music together eye-to-eye. For a band who had gotten used to being in lavish recording facilities and writing huge anthems for stadium shows, this intimate setting immediately recalled the vulnerable and lo-fi surroundings within which they recorded their debut album, Parachutes. “We weren’t surrounded by familiar rooms or lots of equipment,” Berryman remembered. “It was very reminiscent of when we first started the band.”

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Marc Valldeperez

Soy el administrador de marcahora.xyz y también un redactor deportivo. Apasionado por el deporte y su historia. Fanático de todas las disciplinas, especialmente el fútbol, el boxeo y las MMA. Encargado de escribir previas de muchos deportes, como boxeo, fútbol, NBA, deportes de motor y otros.

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