Mylo Xyloto by Coldplay (Parlophone, 2011. 44 minutes)
Coldplay are a British alternative rock band led by vocalist Chris Martin. Recently produced by Brian Eno, Coldplay has enjoyed a high level of acclaim and success. The band has won numerous awards throughout their career, including seven Grammy Award wins from twenty Grammy Award nominations. Coldplay has sold over 50 million records worldwide.
What is in a Name?
“Mylo Xyloto.” Upon hearing these words, the first thing that came to mind was this exact thought: what? Martin claims that it means “xylo toes”, as in musical toes from a xylophone. But, album title aside, Mylo Xyloto is wonderful. Despite the aid of Brian Eno, it took me a while to get into the record. While reviewing the album as a whole is rather hard to do, I’m going to attempt to make a few comments about a couple of tracks.
The album, according to lead singer Chris Martin, is a concept album, following a love story in an oppressive 1984-esque dystopia. I don’t really see it, but I think the album is absolutely fantastic nonetheless. It’s apparent that Coldplay is pushing themselves to grow. I think that every band that desires to change their sound somewhat is a band worth following, and Coldplay has assuredly succeeded in this pursuit, notably on their dark, pop hit “Princess of China”.
Coldplay changes their sound dramatically in this track, erring on the side of electronic pop. To further this genre change, they even include Rihanna, I think to their detriment. This song would have been just fine without her mucking about all diva-like. But hey, her inclusion helps gain access to the top 40!
Hello Charlie Brown!
My favorite track is, without a doubt, “Charlie Brown”. It possesses an absolutely ingenious melodic line to start the track. The song is also rhythmically complex, intricate, and thoughtful. A toe-tapping wonder, I doubt “Charlie Brown” will ever get old. Frankly, I don’t think words can do it justice so have a listen.
Lastly, “Paradise” is definitely worth, at the very least, watching the music video of an elephant (Chris Martin) trying to find his pack. The chorus is grand, and there of faint echoes of U2 throughout—a comparison from which Coldplay has never shied away.
Coldplay’s previous albums were based on quick, catchy tunes that really stuck with you readily, and “Paradise” is the only track on this album that still fits that stereotype. Their previous albums were a little more accessible, and toward the end of a listen, I would say repetitive as well. Though it may be easier to like something on the first listen, it may not always be the best, as is proven in Mylo Xyloto. Their evolved sound is worth diving into and taking the time to get to know, as the record makes the last few albums seem quaint and simple. Additionally, the bigness, as well as the heart behind the album, creates a worthwhile listen.
Verdict: 4 out of 5