Their newest album, “Mylo Xyloto,” is far and away their best record thus far, and quite frankly, one of the best albums I’ve heard this year. This long-awaited fifth album was set to release this past January but was held until last Saturday, and is well worth the wait.
The first track, “Mylo Xyloto” sets the tone of the album, creating an instrumental epic consisting of piano, clean electric guitar and an orchestral sound that fades elegantly into the second track “Hurts Like Heaven.” This brilliant combination of clean, edgy and classical undertones is a recurring theme throughout the album, taking the listener on an emotional journey through each song.
“Mylo Xyloto” seems to battle between the two sounds Coldplay has branded since their studio debut in 2000, one of ballads and soft, intellectual grace; and one of a pop, electric band. While the newer electric-pop sound shines through, the early Coldplay, the one that gave us songs like “Clocks” and “The Scientist,” is still very apparent. Coldplay has transcended into a new, fresh version of themselves—a version that mixes their past with their present perfectly.
Often criticized for being “too slow” or “too soft”, Coldplay’s “Mylo Xyloto” quiets critics with upbeat, catchy radio-worthy tunes, all the while keeping their base sound. “Princess of China,” which features Rihanna, has a hip-hop undertone to it, along with a prominent beat—the same goes for “Up in Flames,” which features a noticeably poppy sound. On the other hand, we have songs like “U.F.O” and “Up With the Birds” that keep Coldplay’s old signature sound that made them popular, with strong acoustic guitars and angelic choir background vocals.
This pairing of genres makes this album unique, creating an opportunity for everyone to enjoy a song.
I’ve been worried for some time about “Mylo Xyloto.” I enjoyed very few tracks on Coldplay’s last album (Viva La Vida) and the two singles they released for “Mylo Xyloto,” “Every Teardrop is a Waterfall” and “Major Minus” didn’t impress me much—“Major Minus” in particular. I had a notion that they were going down a road I would be reluctant to follow. A path that led into the pop music abyss and mainstream Jason Derulo-like hits.
But don’t be fooled by Coldplay’s new sound—they’re still impressively good.
The entire time I listened, it was hard to keep a smile off of my face from the sheer joy of the music, and it was damn-near impossible to stop my foot from tapping. The album has something for everyone. Want a depressing song? “U.F.O” is for you. Want an inspirational, catchy tune to run to? “Don’t Let It Break Your Heart” is yours. Need a nice pick-me-up? Crank “Hurts Like Heaven.” While listening to the album, I can envision myself driving down the road with sunny skies, watching leaves fall on my car as I cruise down Mission Road.
Not only is the music astonishingly great, but lead singer Chris Martin, yet again, proves he is one of the top writers in the music industry. The lyrics are, as a whole, based on positive things, and feature stories of self-reflection, individuality and breaking free, almost the complete opposite of their first album “Parachutes,” which was much more depressing, with tracks like “Sparks” and “We Never Change” which basically preaches giving up. Martin has grown as a writer since 2000, and it shows.
“Mylo Xyloto” is concluded with “Up With the Birds,” an inspiring, uplifting track that wraps the message of the album up perfectly. The song seems to paint a pictures of a man, telling himself to be a happy man regardless of life’s situations—a universal life-lesson many people struggle with every day. Coldplay finishes off the album with a simple line, that exudes the theme of the album: “A simple plot / But I know one day / Good things are coming our way.”
I find it hard to think of someone who won’t enjoy a single track on this album, if not the entire thing. The only complaint I had about it was that I began to miss the “old Coldplay” midway through. There really isn’t a “Yellow” or “Fix You” in this album, and, as a whole, it lacked the certain amount of sadness I’m used to seeing in their songs. I guess we have Martin’s wifey Gwyneth Paltrow to blame for the cheery lyrics, but I would have liked a little more piano ballads, though I got used to their new fresh sound.
Despite my mounting nostalgia, one thing is for certain: with “Mylo Xyloto,” Coldplay proves once again, they make bloody good music.