Coldplay’s latest album, “Mylo Xyloto,” a stunning 14-track CD, is much more than an assortment of singles. Unlike past albums, Chris Martin creates two characters, Mylo and Xyloto, whose incredible love story is accented with artful rebellion against those in power and spans the entire disc.
For fans who worry that Coldplay has succumbed to the world of tasteless pop melodies, fear not. “Mylo Xyloto” is every bit as engaging, kinetic, and varied as its predecessors, and features the return of some of the band’s best-loved music: “Paradise” and “Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall.”
The cover track is a 42-second melody featuring xylophone and hints of electronica, a sound that’s new to the band. It hops directly into “Hurts Like Heaven,” almost as if it’s the same song.
“Hurts Like Heaven” is a bouncy, wildly uplifting piece with a beat that makes it difficult for the listener to stay still.
The lyrics refer to the New York graffiti movement of the ?s, as seen in the opening line, “Written in graffiti on a bridge in the park: do you ever get the feeling that you’re missing the mark?” This song is joyfully inspiring, jazzy, and has a “follow your bliss” attitude. It’s arguably one of the best Coldplay has written.
“Us Against the World” is an acoustic ballad featuring melancholy lyrics. This song gives more insight into the relationship of Mylo and Xyloto, though the track lacks Coldplay’s usual waves of sound and remains fairly contained.
“U.F.O.” is also a ballad, but possesses the sweeping resonance missing in “Us Against the World.” It is mild, lilting, and circular in all the right ways. Though this track may be overlooked in its unembellished simplicity, it is a must-listen.
“Princess of China” pushes boundaries with its electro-pop, R, and alternative hip-hop sound. It has a heavier, darker mood with the tasteful use of a synthesizer throughout. Rihanna’s vocals are fierce and shimmering, and fit the bill perfectly. This particular song is quite out there for Coldplay, a band that plays primarily alternative and acoustic rock, but it has received surprisingly positive feedback.
“Don’t Let It Break Your Heart” is brimming with the soaring, invigorating, anthemic sound that gave Coldplay its vast following in the early 2000s. Do the pounding piano, crashing drums, trilling guitar – sound like an unpleasant jumble? Absolutely not. The penultimate track captures the essence of the British band with crystalline clarity, proving their talent, musical dexterity and bittersweet warmth. “Don’t Let It Break Your Heart” is timeless, consuming, and extremely stirring; it has a toe-tapping beat and the music is vivid, present, and alive. Its joyful atmosphere washes away the disc’s intermittent melancholy, leaving the sweet victory of lovers reuniting.
This album is gut-wrenching, explosive, and optimistic. Coldplay has done a phenomenal job. The songs are practically splitting at the seams with meaning and imagination, and personally, I welcome the overflow.
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