Coldplay's had an intense focus on the sonic aesthetic of their music. They might care about that more than the actual songs themselves. That was the case with Mylo Xyloto and Viva La Vida. Both of those albums are great and they both have some tremendous songs on them, but people remember what those songs sound more than the songs themselves. Coldplay is about the sonic landscape of their music far more than anything else. On their new album, Ghost Stories the band's focus is more about the songs this time around, but I'm not sure if that's a benefit to the album or not.
From the onset you can tell that this is a different album for Coldplay even though those sounds, accents, and programming techniques are going to be a big part of Ghost Stories. "Always in My Head" starts out the album. It's a decent song, but the accenting guitars in the chorus are the most enjoyable part of it. Past that, is "Magic." It's a mundane song, especially for a single from this band, and it's mundane because it's not big, bold, and bright. It's a bass-focused song that fails to capture the imagination. The band tried to make an album that doesn't rely on the big sonic landscapes with this record, but that just makes it somewhat of a meandering journey of an album.
Coldplay attempts to make a different kind of record with Ghost Stories. One that tries to say something but ultimately doesn't. That's mostly due to the type of band that they are. There are a couple of really good songs on this album, but for the most part it falls short of both Viva La Vida and Mylo Xyloto.