When I first heard ‘Every Teardrop is a Waterfall’, Coldplay’s first single off their new album ‘Mylo Xyloto’, I shuddered. It wasn’t a bad song, but it just wasn’t Coldplay. Just like ‘My Chemical Romance’ and Linkin Park in recent times, the new record sees them change very, very drastically. They do manage to pull off a decent attempt at electro rock. Unfortunately, as a listener, I was unable to identify it as a Coldplay album.
‘Mylo Xyloto’ is the British quartet’s fifth studio album, and their second with producer Brian Eno after the triumphant ‘Viva la Vida’. It is a concept album, with the lyrics following the two protagonists, Mylo and Xyloto, as they meet in an urban setting and fall in love. Brian Eno helped them achieve a distinctly fuller and more experimental sound in the last album. However, in what seems like an attempt to repeat the magic formula, the new record pales in comparison to its predecessor.
Here’s a quick review –
Hurts Like Heaven
‘Hurts like Heaven’ is essentially the opening track of the album after a short instrumental titled ‘Mylo Xyloto’. More than anything else, it sets the tone for what you can expect from the rest of the album. Do pay attention to the lyrics, which are admittedly meaningful (“Use your heart as a weapon, and it hurts like heaven”).
This track stands out in terms of music, and is one of the few songs in the album which I took an instant liking to. The melodic vocals and the instruments come together in orchestra- like fashion, to produce a nice, rich pop-rock song. Again, lyrics like “I know the sun must set to rise” are going to stay with you long after the song is over.
If I had to choose a personal favourite from this album, it would have to be ‘Major Minus’. The song is the quirkiest of the lot, and Chris Martin adds to it with his famous falsetto. Also, guitarist Johnny Buckland stands out as the most evolved member of the band on this one. Just as in most of the other tracks, he seems bolder than ever, and he manages to hold his own with muscular guitar riffs amongst an excess of synth.
With an album as different as this, Coldplay is bound to divide its listeners. Some might trash the effort and accuse the band of selling out (especially citing the presence of Rihanna in ‘Princess of China’), while others will definitely back the band and plead creative freedom.
So there you have it. ‘Mylo Xyloto’ is a decent album, but far from Coldplay’s best, and it promises to leave a lot of fans confused as to what it is exactly that the band is trying to do with their music. Give the entire album a try only if you’re a diehard fan, as it’s far from being the record which Coldplay will be remembered by. As for me, I think I’m going to go revisit the good old days and listen to ‘The Blue Room’ EP.
Ah, Don’t Panic.
Photograph by Karl Axon.