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Saturday, 12 November 2011

Coldplay - Mylo Xyloto Album Review

Coldplay – Mylo Xyloto

Back in June of this year Coldplay were preparing to headline Glastonbury for the third time in 10 years. Although most of the attention was turned towards the other headliners U2 and Beyonce, it was Coldplay who stole the show and the entire weekend. That Saturday night they brought out the big guns: “Yellow”; “Fix You”; “Viva La Vida” as well as debuting new songs from their fifth album which were met with a great reception. This was probably their greatest festival ever and a stand out Glastonbury headline slot.  Often referred to as the biggest band in the world, Coldplay have sold over 50 million records worldwide. However Coldplay are a marmite band- some people love them and some people hate them. This is mainly due to lead singer Chris Martin with his dry distinctive voice and his “wacky” personality. Their first two albums were intimate and were met with critical acclaim from the British press. Their third album “X & Y” was Coldplay attempting to do sound more like stadium rock U2 and they pulled it off to some extent. Their fourth album took a different turn as well.  It’s been three years since their last album so is their fifth album Mylo Xyloto any good then?

Well it starts off with the 42 second title track, the opener to their Glastonbury performance this year which was accompanied by fireworks. It sounds like the opening to the Beijing Olympics. It is grand and in a way quite beautiful.  This then flows into the first proper song on the album “Hurts Like Heaven” which is a post-punk pop song with a gem of a chorus “You use your heart as a weapon and it hurts like heaven”. It’s a great song but has to have “Mylo Xyloto” opening it or it just doesn’t feel right.

At this stage in their career, Coldplay are not particularly fussed about trying to reach out to new fans. But this doesn't stop them from making songs with massive pop hooks and appeal. “Paradise” and “Princess Of China” are perfect examples of this. “Paradise” has massive appeal in that it could be played on Radio 1; Radio 2; 6 Music; Commercial Radio; Local Radio; Adverts; TV Documentaries and more! Whereas has “Princess Of China” has Rihanna dueting with Chris Martin. An unlikely pairing but a genius one at the same time.  The harmonies between them are especially good.

However these songs lie too heavy on the synths and can sometimes be a bit too much. Their first single from the album “Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall” gets the medium right between a great pop hook and over doing it. The song “M.M.I.X” is basically a longer intro to E.T.I.A.W but does not add anything new or interesting to the song and therefore is pointless. The same goes for “A Hopeful Transmission”, a 33 second instrumental which could be repeatedly looped for a rubbish holiday channel on Sky. Although there are no real filler tracks on Mylo Xyloto, the closing song “Up With The Birds” feels like its going doesn’t really get to where it wants to go. “Don’t Let It Break Your Heart” just feels like it’s had the kitchen sink thrown at it as well as a few guitars. A lot is thrown into it, but nothing really good is produced.

These are just minor errors however to the rest of Mylo Xyloto. As opposed to their third album “X & Y” they can do stadium rock with ease. This album is basically them having another crack at “X &Y” which was 62 minutes long. This time they do it in just 45 minutes and they do it a lot better. “Charlie Brown” is a fantastic song which sounds like The Killers’ “Human” but better. “Major Minus” is more of the same a perfect song to show what Coldplay do best because on this album it isn’t Chris Martin’s vocals that shine its Johnny Buckland’s amazing guitar playing.  Coldplay’s more stripped back songs such as “U.F.O” and “Us Against The World” are almost reminiscent of their beautiful debut. The piano led “Up In Flames” is incredible. It starts off sounding like Massive Attack and has Chris simply repeating the word “Up In Flames” over and over again. Simple but brilliant.

Although it may not be their best, Coldplay have made a great album. Just one question remains:
What next?

Favourite Songs: Major Minus; Charlie Brown; Us Against The World; Mylo Xyloto + Hurts Like Heaven and Up In Flames

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