From Fleetwood Mac's Rumours to Adele's 21, pop music has a long history of breakup albums.
You can add Ghost Stories, Coldplay's sixth studio set, to the list.
It was inevitable that frontman Chris Martin's split with wife Gwyneth Paltrow would haunt this one. (Guess "Conscious Uncoupling" would have been too obvious a title.)
Right from the start you can hear the ghosts of their relationship. Amid the moody atmosphere of vibe-setting opener "Always in My Head," Martin confesses, "I think of you, I haven't slept / I think I do but I don't forget / My body moves, goes where I will / But though I try my heart stays still."
On the next track, "Magic," Martin continues to reveal his conflicted heart along to the pulsing electronic beat: "Call it magic / Cut me into two / And with all your magic / I disappear from view / And I can't get over / Can't get over you."
All of this breakup brooding turns the melancholy streak that has always been in Coldplay's music to a deeper shade of blue.
There's a pervading sense of loneliness and isolation on songs like "Midnight," whose spooky chilliness makes it the album's coolest cut. But the sun bursts through the clouds on "A Sky Full of Stars," where Coldplay's piano rock meets Avicii's EDM for a moment of bliss.