Grammy-winning music video director Jonas Åkerlund, who’s worked with Madonna quite a few times, has helped Coldplay sonically illustrate their latest single, Magic, off the forthcoming album Ghost Stories. Åkerlund, who was also behind one of my favourite music videos of all time, Prodigy’s Smack My Bitch Up, brought colour and sass to Beyonce and Lady Gaga’s Telephone collaboration and also Maroon 5 and Christina Aguilera’s Moves Like Jagger.
For Magic, which was released just as news of lead singer Chris Martin’s separation from Gwyneth Paltrow, or ‘conscious uncoupling’ as they termed it, was announced, the director strips away the colour, and the song is taken out of the contemporary setting that most likely inspired Martin to write it. Åkerlund gives us a vignette of an assistant’s love for his magician, set in black-and-white. Our magician, or magicienne as she’s credited, is played by Chinese actress Ziyi Zhang, who’s found fame beyond her homeland in movies like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Memoirs of a Geisha, with Martin, naturally, playing the assistant.
It’s a sweet, endearing little love story – nothing more, nothing less. But I did find the doves at the beginning of the video an inspired touch, and at the end, an apt fitting to go along with the final refrain.
Ghost Stories is out May 19th.