Album Review: Coldplay – Mylo Xyloto
Since the late ‘90s, college kids and adult-alternative fans alike have turned to COLDPLAY for songs to help them get in touch with their deep, emotional side. Whether it’s a song with meaningful, somewhat melancholy lyrics that sounds like pop bliss or a piano-driven anthem, COLDPLAY has trascended leaps and bounds over their competition. With the upcoming release of their fifth, studio album Mylo Xyloto, Chris Martin and Co. remind their devoted fans why the love them and their critics why they don’t.
With a push in the “weird” direction, Mylo Xyloto balances its R&B influences with industrial rock overtones and quintessential piano jams. The album plays with the ideas of addiction and escape, heavy and light, fast and slow, love and hate. But while its predecessor Viva La Vida was clear in its concept, this album is muddled with Martin’s vocals often being outshined by the instrumentation and production distortions.
Irrelevant storyline aside, each song should be taken for what it is. Tracks like “Hurts Like Heaven,” “Don’t Let It Break Your Heart,” and “Paradise” are masterpieces within themselves. Each track is joyful, festival-ready, and embody a certain flare that has been a part of Coldplay’ aesthetic since the beginning. While these tracks are not completely disconnected from the sonic ideals of Viva La Vida, the obvious R&B, dance feel is fresh and exciting.
The album’s standout track is also its most peculiar. “Princess of China” features vocals from Rihanna, a pairing more unexpected than Coldplay’s pairing with producer, Brian Eno. As unnatural the feeling of these two artists finding a common ground, everything works. The cascading keys add an originality to the song when in contrast with the acoustic guitar. While it can be said that this song is the band’s attempt at a huge radio hit, it shouldn’t be tossed aside as just that. This track in particular shows growth and confidence (and still would even without Rihanna’s help).
While COLDPLAY diehards may be put off by the dance feel of many tracks, there are moments of classic COLDPLAY that remind the listener of greats such as “Yellow,” “Shiver,” and “The Scientist.” Chris Martin’s quintessential loveletter rears its head on the track “Us Against the World” and “Up With the Birds.” The piano remains gentle, complimentary Martin’s almost-raspy vocals and seminal falsetto.
As Mylo Xyloto appears to be pretty perfect, the “bore” and “pretentious” tags that have become assimilated with the band are still there. “U.F.O.” does its best to draw influences from U2, but fades into the background and the 3 track intermissions don’t add any musical merit or interest to the album as a whole. Also, the fact that the album has 14 tracks could be assumed that each song was “too important” to leave behind (and some could have been).
Shortcomings aside, Coldplay is who it is. The British entity has said that this could be their last record, let’s hope not.