Let’s just get this out of the way: I’m a massive Coldplay fan. They were my favorite band throughout high school and the beginning of my college career; I own all of their albums on CD and vinyl, and I cried my eyes out the first time I saw them live in June of 2012. I love Coldplay.

It’s my love for the band that makes me feel even more disappointed by the fact that I’m not impressed by their new album, Ghost Stories, released in the States on May 19.

By this point, Coldplay fans and many non-Coldplay fans are aware of Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow’s recent “conscious uncoupling,” and that knowledge is important to keep in mind when sitting down with this album. It is undeniably a breakup album, and along with that label comes the mournful lyrics and melancholy sounds that are so characteristic of the genre (and of Coldplay’s sound in general).

At times, the album is a beautiful, heart-wrenching ode to a lost relationship; tracks like “Midnight,” “Another’s Arms,” and “O” are tracks that will join the ranks of Coldplay classics. Martin’s vocals remain as crystal-clear and effective as they have ever been, the rest of the band’s instrumental work is remarkable (guitarist Jonny Buckland in particular shines on “True Love”), and – at times – the lyrics are moving and emotional (“got to find yourself alone in this world,” “fly on, ride through; maybe one day I’ll fly next to you”).

There are many occasions, however, when the album just doesn’t feel…right.

Coldplay’s first release from this album was “Midnight,” debuting in late February in a move that surprised all but the most in-tune Coldplay fans (some had been tweeting rumors of the song’s release for several days before it happened). The song, characterized by a relaxed vibe and heavy synths, is a new direction for the band, and it’s striking, somehow uniquely Coldplay and simultaneously entirely different from anything they’ve released in the past.

However, in one of the more disappointing aspects of the album, the band abandons this sound for the rest of the tracks. The heavy studio production and synthesizers are still there, but at no point in the album do they reach the tasteful and captivating usage that they do in “Midnight.” Indeed, on multiple occasions, the production becomes far too heavy-handed and detracts from the album’s beauty. Coldplay is typically at their best when they scale back the studio tricks and depend on their skill with their instruments and their songwriting (“Shiver,” “Amsterdam,” “Swallowed in the Sea”). The album’s highlight in this regard is the gorgeous “O,” which features only Martin’s mournful vocals and the accompanying piano. It’s the most memorable and genuine track on Ghost Stories, and it serves as a fantastic closer and a reminder of just how good Coldplay can be when they forego the studio tricks.

It is, of course, worth noting Coldplay is capable of producing and has produced many beautiful tracks with a high level of production (“Talk,” “Cemeteries of London,” “Clocks”). The issue with Ghost Stories is that it offers far too many tracks that are muddled with production that distracts from the music’s raw emotion and skillful instrumentation, and this is perhaps never so evident than with “A Sky Full of Stars,” a song co-produced with EDM legend Tim Bergling, better known as Avicii. The song is the album’s one major misstep; as a whole, Ghost Stories is a mediocre effort, but “A Sky Full of Stars” is the one track on the record that can be described as cringe-worthy.

Ghost Stories is not a terrible album. At times, it offers genuinely emotional, memorable tracks; at others, it provides overproduced songs with weak lyrics. The album isn’t a tragedy, but, much like preceding album Mylo Xyloto, it doesn’t reach anywhere near the band’s previous heights and ends up being an underwhelming work. Coldplay is a band that has repeatedly affirmed that they are capable of great things. They just don’t quite reach them with Ghost Stories.

My advice? If you’re a Coldplay fan, buy it on iTunes and give it a couple of listens. It isn’t worth rushing out to buy on vinyl, but you’ll likely find a couple of songs worthy of your “faves” playlist. If you haven’t listened to Coldplay much, go back to their first two albums, Parachutes and A Rush of Blood to the Head before judging them on Ghost Stories. And if you’re one of those people that hates Coldplay, skip the album entirely; it won’t change your mind.

How did you feel about ‘Ghost Stories’?

In interesting but potentially brilliant casting news, comedian Amy Schumer will be taking on the role of Barbie for a live-action film.

Take a moment to soak in the news. Now revel in the idea. This could be awesome.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Amy Schumer is not only leading the project on screen, but she’ll also have an influence on the script.

Read full article

In interesting but potentially brilliant casting news, comedian Amy Schumer will be taking on the role of Barbie for a live-action film.

Take a moment to soak in the news. Now revel in the idea. This could be awesome.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Amy Schumer is not only leading the project on screen, but she’ll also have an influence on the script.

Last year, Sony had their pick of three complete scripts for a live-action Barbie movie. Of those three, they chose Hilary Winston’s. Now that Schumer is on board, THR says to expect her and her sister, Kim Caramele, to rewrite Winston’s original idea.

The plot, given that Schumer doesn’t change the major details, “begins in a perfect land of Barbies where one woman slowly awakens to the fact that she doesn’t fit it. She is expelled from the idealistic land and journeys to the real world, where she discovers that being unique is an asset.”

The outlet also addresses the fact that Mattel has had to deal with plenty of criticism regarding body image and race when it comes to the Barbie toys. Schumer’s casting is a great way to speak to some of those issues, and will hopefully provide a positive and uplifting message by the movie’s end.

There will be, of course, some hesitation given Schumer’s previous work. One only has to look as far as Trainwreck and Inside Amy Schumer to see her comedy is often brutally honest and raunchy. Barbie would be shocked.

But Schumer is an actress, after all, and a brilliant comedian. For this “contemporary spin on beauty, feminism and identity,” she seems like just the right fit.

What do you think of Amy Schumer as Barbie?

It’s arguably the biggest day for Hamilton fans since the release of the original Broadway recording: The Hamilton Mixtape has arrived!

Following years of development, the Hamilton Mixtape was released around the world on Friday, December 2. Mixtape features, well, remixes of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton hits, sung by artists both big and small from various genres.

To celebrate the album’s release, a special #Ham4Ham was hosted at the Richard Rodgers Theater on Thursday night, where names like Ashanti, Ja Rule, Regina Spektor, and Andra Day performed their songs from Mixtape:

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It’s arguably the biggest day for Hamilton fans since the release of the original Broadway recording: The Hamilton Mixtape has arrived!

Following years of development, the Hamilton Mixtape was released around the world on Friday, December 2. Mixtape features, well, remixes of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton hits, sung by artists both big and small from various genres.

To celebrate the album’s release, a special #Ham4Ham was hosted at the Richard Rodgers Theater on Thursday night, where names like Ashanti, Ja Rule, Regina Spektor, and Andra Day performed their songs from Mixtape:

Stream ‘The Hamilton Mixtape’:

Spotify users can easily stream The Hamilton Mixtape below. You can also listen here via Apple Music.:

And you can purchase a physical copy from Amazon here (you know all the Hamilton fans in your life will want a physical copy):

Hamilton Mixtape tracklist

1. No John Trumbull (Intro) – The Roots
2. My Shot (feat. Busta Rhymes, Joell Ortiz & Nate Ruess) [Rise Up Remix] – The Roots
3. Wrote My Way Out – Nas, Dave East, Lin-Manuel Miranda & Aloe Blacc
4. Wait For It – Usher
5. An Open Letter (feat. Shockwave) [Interlude] – Watsky
6. Satisfied (feat. Miguel & Queen Latifah) – Sia
7. Dear Theodosia (feat. Ben Folds) – Regina Spektor
8. Valley Forge (Demo) – Lin-Manuel Miranda
9. It’s Quiet Uptown – Kelly Clarkson
10. That Would Be Enough – Alicia Keys
11. Immigrants (We Get The Job Done) – K’naan, Snow Tha Product, Riz MC, Residente
12. You’ll Be Back – Jimmy Fallon & The Roots
13. Helpless (feat. Ja Rule) – Ashanti
14. Take A Break (Interlude) – !llmind
15. Say Yes To This – Jill Scott
16. Congratulations – Dessa
17. Burn – Andra Day
18. Stay Alive (Interlude) – J.PERIOD & Stro Elliot
19. Slavery Battle (Demo) – Lin-Manuel Miranda
20. Washington’s By Your Side – Wiz Khalifa
21. History Has Its Eyes On You – John Legend
22. Who Tells Your Story (feat. Common & Ingrid Michaelson) – The Roots
23. Dear Theodosia (Reprise) – Chance The Rapper & Francis and The Lights

What are our favorite performances on ‘The Hamilton Mixtape’?

Chris Pratt is currently on a press tour for Passengers. Jennifer Lawrence may or may not be there too.

Passengers, the new sci-fi epic starring Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence, comes out later this month. The promo tour has kicked off in Europe, with the two stars on hand to answer all our questions.

To entertain himself (and his fans!), Chris Pratt has been updating his Instagram with funny photos and captions from the tour.

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Chris Pratt is currently on a press tour for Passengers. Jennifer Lawrence may or may not be there too.

Passengers, the new sci-fi epic starring Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence, comes out later this month. The promo tour has kicked off in Europe, with the two stars on hand to answer all our questions.

To entertain himself (and his fans!), Chris Pratt has been updating his Instagram with funny photos and captions from the tour.

There’s some real gold in there, but the best part is when he realizes that fans really want to see some pictures of Jennifer Lawrence — who doesn’t have her own social media accounts — and proceeds to very decidedly not include her!

Update: He did it again.


See some of the hilarious posts from Chris Pratt below:

Finally got that selfie with Jen y'all wanted. #passengersmovie

A photo posted by chris pratt (@prattprattpratt) on

Just hanging with my bestie Jen. #passengersmovie

A photo posted by chris pratt (@prattprattpratt) on

Here Jen and I pose with @elrubiuswtf

A photo posted by chris pratt (@prattprattpratt) on

Here's an extremely artistic and meaningful video I made in which Jen is heavily featured. #passengersmovie

A video posted by chris pratt (@prattprattpratt) on

Another day down with me and my best buddy Jen. #London #passengersmovie

A photo posted by chris pratt (@prattprattpratt) on

Not going to lie — we’re almost as excited for the press interview videos as we are for the movie itself!

‘Passengers’ hits cinemas on December 21