When I first heard “Magic” on the radio, it was like hearing an old Coldplay song. I quickly picked up the chorus, so I was singing along by the end of the first listen. Every time it came on the radio, I was surprised to hear it. I would think that it was strange that so many stations were playing an older Coldplay song so frequently. It took me probably about a dozen listens to realize that it is a new song. I really had to stop and think, telling myself I knew all the old Coldplay songs. Once I realized that Coldplay had released a new song – let alone a new song that sounded like pre-Mylo Xyloto – I was thrilled.
I think it can go without saying that I hate Mylo Xyloto. Just in case, though, I thought I would say it anyway. I HATE Mylo Xyloto. There, for a second time, to emphasize it. I Was extremely disappointed by that album. It was like Coldplay was trying to become something they aren’t. Chris Martin readily admits that he isn’t a great singer. What adds to the greatness of their songs is his imperfections. His voice adds emotions to the songs that would be lost without him. Mylo Xyloto was devoid of all of this. It was the album version of jumping the shark. Coldplay had given into the electronic, dance beat and auto-tuned voice. It just sounded too clean, too polished, and too flat.
“Magic” reminds listeners why Coldplay is different than any other band out there. It shows that no matter what the trends are, they will be true to what they want to do and make albums with jagged edges. The strong bass is still missing from the song, but they are getting back to their original sound. And they are proving that it is possible to succeed after the shark is behind them.
Despite my love for the song, the music video for “Magic” left me feeling a little out of place. I love the idea of an old-style silent film for the music video. Especially since the focus is on magicians. But the music video feels too light overall, even though it deals with a somewhat dark topic. This, however, may just be a side effect of the silent film style. They were, for the most part, lighthearted and fluffy. It is difficult to convey deep emotion, pain or sadness in that style.
What also turned me off from the music video is a connection to the book The Night Circus. The book focuses on two young magicians who are trained to battle each other by their mentors. They are meant to battle to the death, but they fall in love. The girl’s name is Celia, similar to this Cecile. The young man learns tricks to impress the girl and ultimately save her from their impending doom. Cecile’s husband brings to mind Celia’s calculated and emotionally distant father.
While I enjoyed the book and the imagery it created, the connection I made between it and this song took away some of the magic from the song – pun slightly intended. I always see Coldplay and their music as heartbreaking and beautiful, giving simplicity to some of the most complex emotions. And before I saw the music video, this is how I felt about “Magic.” With the music video and the subsequent relation to The Night Circus, it turned into a song about actual magic, which ironically I find quite unmagical. Hopefully, I’ll be able to find the song’s sparkle again.
That being said, I know this song would be incredible to hear live. Coldplay puts on one of the best concerts I’ve seen, and they would be able to give this song the ability to make time stand still.