Coldplay’s New Single Is Actually Really Good

Slate's Culture Blog
March 3 2014 1:25 PM

Coldplay’s New Single Is Actually Really Good

156315120-chris-martin-of-coldplay-performs-live-on-stage-at
Coldplay is back with "Magic."

Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images

If the first song off Coldplay’s next album sounded like a bad parody of Bon Iver, then their first single sounds like The xx—in the best way. While “Midnight” was mush-mouthed and self-serious—the video had Chris Martin dancing with forest animals while making less sense than the fox—“Magic” aims only to be a hushed, simple pop song, and it’s all the prettier for it.

Over a spare electronic drumbeat and what sounds like a single, steadily plucked, reverb-heavy bass string, Martin sings in almost a whisper: “And if you were to ask me/ After all that we’ve been through/ Do you still believe in magic?/ Yes, I do.”

Advertisement

After two or three minutes, what you might think of as Coldplay’s own sound enters the mix: An acoustic guitar comes strumming in, Joshua Tree-like, and Martin—as he does at the climax of all good Coldplay songs—transitions up into his falsetto. Do I still believe in Coldplay? Sometimes, yes, I do.

You can purchase “Magic” now on iTunes. Coldplay’s next album, Ghost Stories, which will feature both “Magic” and “Midnight,” is out May 19.

Forrest Wickman is a Slate staff writer. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Frame Game

Hard Knocks

I was hit by a teacher in an East Texas public school. It taught me nothing.

Yes, Black Families Tend to Spank More. That Doesn’t Mean It’s Good for Black Kids.

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

If You’re Outraged by the NFL, Follow This Satirical Blowhard on Twitter

The Best Way to Organize Your Fridge

The World

Iran and the U.S. Are Allies

They’re just not ready to admit it yet.

Sports Nut

Giving Up on Goodell

How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.

Republicans Like Scott Walker Are Building Campaigns Around Problems That Don’t Exist

Farewell! Emily Bazelon on What She Will Miss About Slate.

  News & Politics
Foreigners
Sept. 16 2014 4:08 PM More Than Scottish Pride Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 16 2014 4:16 PM The iPhone 6 Marks a Fresh Chance for Wireless Carriers to Kill Your Unlimited Data
  Life
The Eye
Sept. 16 2014 12:20 PM These Outdoor Cat Shelters Have More Style Than the Average Home
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus Video
Sept. 16 2014 2:06 PM A Farewell From Emily Bazelon The former senior editor talks about her very first Slate pitch and says goodbye to the magazine.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 16 2014 1:27 PM The Veronica Mars Spinoff Is Just Amusing Enough to Keep Me Watching
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 16 2014 1:48 PM Why We Need a Federal Robotics Commission
  Health & Science
Science
Sept. 16 2014 4:09 PM It’s All Connected What links creativity, conspiracy theories, and delusions? A phenomenon called apophenia.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.