Review Summary: Whenever you like a band, their lyrics are 'minimalistic'. Whenever you don't, they're 'simple'.
Through Coldplay’s 15 years, they have crafted themselves into a band that can seemingly only be loved or hated. The lack of a middle point is prevalent most likely due to the prevalence of their obsessing fangirls in equal amounts to their ignorant haters. And even still, Coldplay are often assigned the identity of a band guys only like because of their girlfriends, or otherwise: a group that the average indie music consumer is afraid to accept with opens arms. Yet, these factors transcend Mylo Xyloto, and albeit its somewhat predictability, proves itself to be a pleasant, and enjoyable album.
Not only was I unable to pronounce the album’s title, but I was fully prepared to despise this album prior to listening to. Nearly everyone in my circle of friends (that is, with relatively good music taste) spur the slightest mention of Coldplay. They’re a band who, in the eyes of my peers: “started out as a band that ripped off Bends-era Radiohead, and morphed into a band that just sucked.” But, to my utmost surprise, I could dig this release. In sharp contrast to 2008’s god-awful Viva La Vida was disastrous on multiple levels, (annoyingly flamboyant, drenched in cheese and corn, and at times, chokingly pretentious) Mylo Xyloto takes clichés and makes them sound fun, and even intuitive.
This release takes the now-familiar Coldplay song formula of catchy hooks and minimalistic, ‘heartfelt’ lyrics and couples it with an increased electronic influence. Synths and various other digitized instrumentation spruce up the lighter sections of the album, providing a synthetic deviation from the warmth and tone of Chris Martin’s vocals. And yet, despite the blatant presence of filler and the occasional appearance of generally uninteresting tracks, Mylo Xyloto flows nicely. Like all of this band’s albums, their 5th includes a slew of songs meant to sound inspirational and lift your spirits, and maybe even make you want to do some cool productive *** like in good will hunting. Yet, those songs achieve the symptoms of boredom on repeat listens. “Don’t Let It Break Your Heart” serves a clear and just purpose, but I can very rarely find an urge to listen to it again.
Another notable factor of Mylo Xyloto is its wondrous, often whimsical vocal harmony work. There are moments spread throughout the record that seem to be lifted to new and mighty heights via a myriad of voices echoing the sentiments of Chris Martin. The singles “Charlie Brown” and “Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall” epitomize the stereotypical Coldplay song, but are irrefutably effective in their goals. (Side Note: The videos are stylistic and fun to watch; enhancing the song’s ability to entertain and fixate the listener-viewer’s attention).
The first half of Mylo Xyloto blows the second half away. Tracks like “Paradise” and “Hurts like Heaven” feature excellent production and generate quirky atmospheres that only a multi-million dollar budget could surmise. Also, there are 3 interlude tracks that have a running time shorter than a minute and are ultimately unnecessary. In my judicial opinion, I’d prefer if those tracks were either A) combined with the tracks they preface, B) removed completely, or C) extended into cool-ass ambient jam outs. C would be awesome if only Coldplay were brave enough to experiment. I’ve deduced the filler tracks as “U.F.O.”, “Major Minus” and “Up in Flames”. Those songs are a pain to get through. Skip them.
In conclusion, fans of Coldplay will delight in their style continuity and their firm belief in the “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it” principle, whereas for those who have always hated the band, this album will do absolutely nothing to change your biased, ignorant opinion. The euphoric reaction the listener is capable of receiving from this album is worth the download alone. Mylo Xyloto stands as a solid, mainstream music release from a band that I refuse to be considered a fan of, yet who I’m not afraid to enjoy.