Review Summary: Coldplay goes way over the top...again.
The last time we heard Coldplay, they were gently closing the door on 2008’s smash success Viva La Vida
with chants of “I don’t want to follow death and all of his friends.” Suffice to say, the only thing that has departed is their musical direction, as Mylo Xyloto
ushers in a new era to follow a string of award winning albums dating back to their turn-of-the-millennium debut Parachutes
. Although that brand of reserved, contemplative indie rock still surfaces periodically, it appears to be nothing more than a brief cameo in a much more diverse scheme. Mylo Xyloto
presents us with a new
Coldplay; one that isn’t afraid to indulge its every eccentricity. The result is a pop album bursting at the seams with vivacious melodies, along with electronic fibers that have been skillfully woven into their time-tested fabric to give fans something quite unlike anything they have ever heard.
From the opening track, it is apparent that Coldplay has marched straight off the deep end. The way that ‘Mylo Xyloto’ transitions into the shamelessly upbeat “Hurts Like Heaven” creates a mood happier than anything that could possibly be found on the band’s first four albums. The lyrics are so histrionic at times that they may become laughable (“you use your heart as a weapon, and it hurts like heaven”), but such is the premise of this entire album. Here we have something so grandiose and so over-the-top by nature that it defies words like normalcy
. It swells with glittering synthesizers (‘Paradise’ deserves a special mention here), melodic guitar riffs, hook-laden piano lines, and towering choruses. It has hauntingly beautiful atmospheres, driven home by Chris Martin’s theatrical approach and near-flawless songwriting. There is nary a moment of blasé droning, as every song serves a specific and well-defined purpose within Mylo Xyloto
’s progression. Producer Brian Eno deserves a lot of credit for highlighting the importance of every song the way he does, seeing how interludes and shorter acoustic tracks like ‘U.F.O.” find themselves not only seamlessly fitting in, but also creating a buzz of their own. Hell, even Rihanna’s guest appearance on ‘Princess of China’ feels right at home, which is also due to the delivery of what might be her best vocal performance ever. Mylo Xyloto
is, quite simply, an all styles inclusive album…and that is what makes it so easy for just about anything to sound like an essential piece of its puzzle.
A lot of adjectives will be used in the coming weeks to describe Coldplay’s new album – cheerful, spacey, emotive, triumphant – but perhaps no word better sums it up than colorful
. The album art is actually rather indicative of what you will get. Mylo
is a mixed bag of ideas that come together in a fashion that should exceed many people’s expectations, and as long as Coldplay continues to inflate over the coming years, you may find yourself wondering how it is possible for a band to sound this big.