Those searching for clues to Chris Martin’s state of mind following his recent marital break-up with Gwyneth Paltrow will be carefully scouring lyrics such as “Tell me you love me/If you don’t then lie” or “When the pain just rips right through me/Another’s arms”.
Certainly the overriding mood of Ghost Stories is melancholy, but then the same could be argued for a sizeable chunk of its five predecessors. Coldplay tend to prefer crepuscular minor chords. At least you can shake a leg or two to Magic and the fizzy, Avicii-assisted A Sky Full of Stars; closing piano ballad O, however, is as hangdog as they come.
Finally abandoning The Pretenders band name after two decades in which she has been its only constant member, Chrissie Hynde presents a solid set of songs on her solo debut. There’s nothing particularly groundbreaking here but Dark Sunglasses does have a certain swagger and Neil Young’s guitar adds a gnarly feel to Down the Wrong Way. As ever with her records though, the real star is Hynde’s sensuous, aching voice.
Mariah Carey, on the other hand, has always favoured vocals of the gymnastic variety. And no scale is left unclimbed on her ponderously titled 14th album. It’s hard not to admire the silky smooth production of this record, which seamlessly melds pop, R&B, hip-hop and gospel – the vintage clatter of drums on Beautiful is instantly likeable – but the plethora of guests and overly long running time make Me. I Am Mariah Carey – The Elusive Chanteuse something of an endurance test. And quite what the swear words are meant to prove is anyone’s guess.
Black Keys duo Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney trade in their long-established blues rock template on the follow-up to their million-selling 2011 album El Camino. Turn Blue is a frisky, adventurous affair, accurately described by Carney thus: “On this record we let the songs breathe and explored moods, textures and sounds.” They’re not averse to the occasional guitar wigout (Weight of Love), but there’s a lot of slinky soul here too as well as garage band grooves and even hints of pop and psychedelia. While it may not be as souped-up than its predecessor Turn Blue is nonetheless a fine record.