“Mylo Xyloto” is really, really good.

I feel like I need to apologize for this post in advance. Coldplay tends to be a polarizing group, for sure, but it’s hard to argue with their music. Call it what you will—manufactured pop, a U2 knockoff—whatever. I happen to think their newest album is outstanding.

Top to bottom, from Chris Martin’s blippy, vocoder-assisted vocals in the opener, “Hurts Like Heaven”, to the soothing ballad feel of “Up With the Birds”, this album is completely memorable. Coldplay had two batches of songs prepared, which they ultimately ended up melding together into one record, as opposed to a double-release or a later companion album. The first type, which lends itself better to the catchy radio singles for which Coldplay are known, contain grandiose soundscapes, high-flying vocals, and dramatic instrumentation. Lead single “Every Teardrop is a Waterfall”, along with later singles “Paradise” and “Charlie Brown” (my personal favorite) exemplify this style. The other type, less characteristic of Coldplay, is a “stripped-down” style with an acoustic feel, focusing more on introspective lyrics and less complex melodies (e.g. “Us Against the World”, “U.F.O.”). The two styles are juxtaposed beautifully to fill the album with an equal share of soaring highs and calming lullabies.

The band admits “Charlie Brown” was truly the centerpiece of the album, and it’s not difficult to see why. The guitar lines radiating throughout the song are infectious and energetic, and I can’t put it better than how Q Magazine described in their review: “Whilst the music is wonderfully overblown, Chris Martin keeps the vocals cool and calculated.” That perfect contrast between the even-keeled vocals and the adrenaline-fueled bridges makes this song truly stand out from the album.

But there are really no throw-away tracks, no “filler” to be found here. “Paradise” is lush and rousing. “Don’t Let it Break Your Heart” feels more like powerpop with a splash of synthy electronics. “Major Minus” opens with an absolutely killer guitar lick unlike any other on the record. And the closer, “Up With the Birds” is cool and soothing until it breaks into an emphatic finale. Unique to this album among Coldplay’s discography, there are strong electronic influences throughout, which lends extra pizzazz to the musical textures.

I’ve been listening to this album on repeat for the last few weeks and there isn’t a single track that hasn’t gotten itself firmly stuck in my head at some point in time. It’s funny how the first song/lead single you hear from an album sometimes ends up being one of your least favorite songs, just because you hear it repeatedly, out of context from the rest of the album. It’s not that I dislike “Every Teardrop”, but it now feels less emotionally charged and striking when placed in the context of the rest of the record, in my opinion.

Overall, I will not hesitate to say that “Mylo Xyloto” is a can’t-miss record for anyone who likes any of Coldplay’s music.

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~ by Marcus on 01/29/2012.

One Response to ““Mylo Xyloto” is really, really good.”

  1. […] this song and “Don’t Let it Break Your Heart” from Coldplay’s Mylo Xyloto (an album I have previously discussed). While Eli Young acknowledges that you must push on, “even if” your heart is broken, […]

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