These days few people want to admit liking the band Coldplay. But the unalienable fact is this. In mid-October, the band released the video for second single "Paradise," a jocular affair with a man in an elephant costume patrolling the streets of London. By the end of the video, the entire band dons the costume and marches around on stage to a sold out audience. In just three days, the video received 2.7 million views.
2.7 million in three days. Obviously, somebody out there likes Coldplay.
Yet, an aura still exists that liking Coldplay is a bad thing. Moreover, it's almost as if Coldplay is the villain. But what exactly have they done wrong? They write layered, engaging rock songs; keep their personal lives private and for the most part keep their noses clean. Sure they got a bit political on the album A Rush of Blood to the Head, but since then they've been focused on first-rate stadium-ready rock music. And on their fifth full-length Mylo Xyloto, they certainly don't disappoint.
Divided into three segments, the disc opens with the celestial instrumental "Mylo Xyloto," before opening the flood gates on the ringing and shuffling "Hurts Like Heaven," which is arguably one of the greatest songs Coldplay has ever written. Wistful, breezy and undeniably kinetic, "Hurts Like Heaven," hurls like a cannonball and never lets up. Aforementioned second single "Paradise," features an orchestral beginning, Chris Martin's sonorous vocals and a whimsical strut that lifts upwards towards the heavens at the 2:30 mark. Buoyant, layered and richly textured, it's another titanic song from a band whose penchant for titanic songs knows no bounds.
The penultimate cut of the first section is "Charlie Brown," a driving and mellifluous paean to youth and innocence that is as engaging as anything Coldplay has ever done. Additionally, the song gives Mylo Xyloto three powerhouse anthems back to back to back. But alas, asking for a fourth is only wishful thinking. "Us Against the World," is a bare-bones acoustic ballad that serves as the album's first mistake. It's not that the song is a failure, it just feels too earnest, too cookie-cutter and too safe. Coincidentally, these are three arguments people usually have for bashing Coldplay, so take it as you will.
The second portion of the disc begins with the 49-second instrumental "M.M.I.X.," another foray into celestial noise that serves as segue for lead single "Every Teardrop is a Waterfall," a synth-heavy splash of dizzying layered effects that is triumphant, powerful and winsome. Nowhere is this more evident than in the last minute of the song when Martin croons over bristling guitars and propulsive drums. Jangly acoustic guitars open "Major Minus," a somewhat disappointing piece of filler that does very little to bolster the album's mission statement. Unlike "Us Against the World," it is not too earnest, too cookie cutter or too safe. The only problem is the song goes absolutely nowhere and makes no grand artistic or sonic statements.
Another acoustic guitar marks the opening of "U.F.O," a stark and simple ballad that is everything "Us Against the World," could have been. Lilting, timeless and resonant, it is proof that when constructed properly, even filler can be gorgeous. The much-talked about "Princess of China," a duet with Barbadian superstar Rihanna follows and does very little to disappoint. Ostensibly an exercise in urban sounds, the song is sure to be a single and features the same soaring landscape as the album's opening three tracks. The second portion of Mylo Xyloto ends with "Up in Flames," a piano-driven ballad that will leave fans of "Fix You," and "The Scientist," drooling.
Thirty-second instrumental "A Hopeful Transmission," begins the final segment of the album, a one-two punch that rings out the disc in the finest of ways. Penultimate cut "Don't Let It Break Your Heart," bursts and oozes with the same wall of sound as the first two singles, while the plaintive ballad "Up With the Birds," serves as a flawless conclusion to a deeply engaging and undeniably impressive disc.
When all is said and done, Mylo Xyloto is a near grand-slam. Aside from "Us Against the World," and "Major Minus," there is not a single bad song. In an era when Billboard chart-toppers can only churn out one or two 99-cent singles, Mylo Xyloto is a true revelation. Though it is probably not Coldplay's best, it is indeed a memorable listen and another chapter for a band whose place in rock music is firmly cemented. Bash them all you want, but when the time does indeed come for Coldplay to hang it up, even if its 20 or 30 years from now, a gaping hole will indeed be left.
Definately enjoyed this more than Viva but not as much as the earlier stuff. It will still be a very enjoyable listen until radio ruins all the good songs on it. Charlie Brown is an easy fav for me tho!