Coldplay new song “Magic” from new album Ghost Stories sounds like the xx, is way better than “Midnight.”

Coldplay’s New Single Is Actually Really Good

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

Coldplay’s New Single Is Actually Really Good

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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.”

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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 senior editor. He writes and edits for Slate’s culture blog, Brow Beat.

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