The Singles Party: Coldplay, ‘Magic’

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Coldplay has made a lot of noise the 10 days or so. First, they dropped the song “Midnight” completely out of nowhere, then almost immediately followed with the release of their official first single “Magic” and the news that their album, Ghost Stories, will hit shelves on May 13, 2014.

The Singles Party gang jumped on the new single the day it dropped and have allowed the new one from Chris Martin and company to really simmer before passing judgement…here’s their thoughts…

Nick Porcaro: Bear with me, readers, I have to say it — Coldplay’s latest single is downright magical. The British boys next door have undergone quite the mid-career creative renaissance and their forthcoming album Ghost Stories looks to continue the trend. “Midnight”, our first glimpse of the record, was an unexpected turn away from the arena rock bombast of 2011’s Mylo Xyloto towards a meditative, minimalist approach. “Magic” is less of a departure but a much greater triumph. It stands toe to toe with the rest of their hits and will be remembered as one of the band’s very best singles.

The song opens innocuously enough. It carefully builds off a sexy, interlocking drum machine and bass guitar groove. Lush piano chords surround Chris Martin’s heartfelt vocal. The band toys with texture throughout, including a nifty fingersnap-and-synthesizer break in the second verse. There are strands of modern R&B and In Rainbows-era Radiohead in the song’s DNA but when Jonny Buckland’s signature, shimmering guitar lines enter the mix, all bets are off.

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To put it simply: this song soars. Martin’s trembling vocal hits the peak of his falsetto range; the vulnerability in his voice is enough to send shivers down the spine of the snidest critic. His lyrics may be featherweight as always but the sentiment behind the words sure isn’t. Gwyneth Paltrow must have melted the first time she heard this track. Indeed, “Magic” is what true love sounds like—passionate, helplessly devoted, and impossible to contain. Verdict: Add this to your playlist immediately! It’s my early choice for single of the year.

Kelly O’Dowd: It’s definitely not like the old Coldplay songs that’s for sure. This is the type of song that grows on you after multiple listens and, with it’s simplicity, one can listen over and over again without hearing anything new. You’ll hear it in your dentist office soon, if it’s not there already. It’s quiet and it’s boring. Not loud and soaring that Coldplay can be. And personally, I haven’t liked the band after their third album.

The funny thing is, I keep seeing people say “WOW! WHAT A LOVE SONG.” Listen to the lyrics; he’s talking about how he still finds this person magically magic even after they broke apart. “And I just got broken/ broken into two./ But still it’s magic…” And at the end of the song he still believes in magic “even after all we’ve been through.” Now of course, the chorus screams lots magic, much love, wow. And that’s fine and all, but it’s not a love song; it’s a pining after something that’s broken and dead song. Verdict: One and Done

Lauren Stern: I used to love Coldplay, but lets face it: after a while, Chris Martin literally singing the same song over and over gets boring. I can name at least four or five songs off Coldplay’s discography that sounds exactly like this. Chris Martin needs to add a little flavor to his music. I vote bringing back Jay-Z again. Verdict: One and Done

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Jason Stives: For a while I truly believed in the work of Coldplay thanks in part to their first three releases which were stellar but then in my eyes they had seemed to just go off the rails creatively. Their past few records had left me disenchanted despite understanding the need to evolve their sound. Couple this with the release of the snore fest that was “Midnight” and I had my doubts once more but “Magic” has a lot more to offer despite some rather hokey lyrics. This rather melancholy love song isn’t necessarily the next “Fix You” and it falls somewhere in between most of their recent arena rock anthems but it’s the closest to their earliest work that I can imagine. Chris Martin’s vocals and the overall nature of this song is far more restrained with a bass heavy opening that creates a splendid groove. I’m not jumping to the front of the line to pick up Ghost Stories come May but this is probably one of the more satisfying Coldplay songs I have heard in a very long time. Verdict: Add to the Playlist

Bill Bodkin: At first listen, “Magic” did nothing for me. Yet, after a few listens I let the song really grow on me and I began to wonder why the song had such a “meh” first impression on me. Then I realized it — I had become conditioned to Coldplay’s more grandiose, stadium anthems that evoked comparisons to late 80s-era U2 from their more recent albums. Then I remembered when I first head “Yellow” on MTV2 and how simplistic it was — focusing mainly on Martin’s vocals which was punctuated with some bombastic guitar work. “Magic” reminds me of those early days, those quieter days. For a playlist, it’s a strong addition, it has a great air about it and you really find yourself enveloped in its aura. But, you’ve got to patient with this one. Much like me, you’re probably so used to “Viva La Vida” Coldplay that this more subdued version of them band might strike you as boring and flat out dull. I say this, once you let this song in to your brain, you’ll really dig it. Verdict: Add to the playlist.

Final Verdict: We recommend this one by the slightest of margins. This was an extremely divisive song with our crew either loving it or completely feeling unimpressed by the band’s latest effort. So we’ll throw a buyer beware label on this one.

Founded in September 2009, The Pop Break is a digital pop culture magazine that covers film, music, television, video games, books and comics books and professional wrestling.

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