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Mylo Xyloto - Coldplay
Member Name: izzoh
Mylo Xyloto - Coldplay
Advantages: Different side to Coldplay, nice concept, great vocals and atmospheric tracks.
Disadvantages: Only a few 'great' songs, a bit to much of the electronics and slightly boring.
This is the 5th Studio Album from Coldplay and just like the rest it went straight to number 1 in the album charts. (Only the 3rd ever group to do this after The Beatles and Oasis.)
Coldplay went down a slightly different route with the album and created an entire concept that the album is based on, rather than each song being a story in its own right. The whole concept of this album is about a love story with a happy ending. The two main characters in this 'story' are Mylo and Xyloto. (Hence the name of the album.) They live in an oppressed urban society. Surrounded by misery and negativity. But are brought together through a gang called 'The Lost Boys'. The overall idea is that good things can come out of bad situations. A rather 'cheesy' although lovely idea expressed in a rather dramatic way.
As a follow up to their 4 album Viva la Vida, Coldplay have a lot to live up to, the face they admitted themselves that they wanted this album to me more acoustic and atmospheric was a change of direction for them. Viva la Vida was full of energy and punch. So I was looking forward to this new long awaited album.
*** The Tracks ***
1. Mylo Xyloto
The short introduction to the album is almost magical. A 42 second instrumental where the percussion is king. Very warming and charming. An interesting opening for the album which I am sure will be used time and time again by the band when playing at gigs and events. They actually used this as the start of their Glastonbury gig. A Unique and interesting way to start the album.
2. Hurts Like Heaven
This track really represents what influenced Coldplay when making this album. They took influence from Old School American Graffiti and how graffiti is a way of expressing your feelings and emotions. This track starts with the lyrics;
''Written in graffiti on a bridge in a park
Do you ever get the feeling that you're missing the mark?''
Musically, the track is upbeat and has the great unnerving vocals that you expect from Coldplay. With great guitar work and an easy beat it is nice track. Nothing special but very easy to listen too.
As the second single from the album it seemed Coldplay had faith in this track being accepted by their fans. This is a strong song with strong beats and melodies. The use of classical strings with a hidden dub step bass line and tones of electronics thrown in, it is an interesting mix but the vocals are classic Coldplay and the whole track has a great vibe to it. I think this was a good single choice and in my opinion one of the best tracks on the album.
4. Charlie Brown
The band keeps the tempo up and alive after Paradise with this great track. Great use of the Guitar keeps the track plugging through until it reaches a great climax. This song is about being with 'The Lost Boys' the gang that brings the lovers together and this track is where you can really see the albums concept coming together.
5. Us Against The World
Here the band strip back and let the melody and Chris Martins Vocals do the work. The song has a great build up to it and if you only listen to one track from the album then I would recommend this. It just has a great design to it. Just when you expect a typical ending, it leaves you almost restless with its abruptness.
Although the title of this track is Roman numerals for 2009, MMIX actually means 'Mat McGinn is awesome' Mat is their long serving guitar technician, so almost a dedication to him.
This is another 40ish second electro interlude. I understand it serves as bringing the album together and keeping the acoustic style to the album but I really don't like it. All it does is act as an intro to the next track. Other than that I would prefer it if they got rid of it.
7. Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall
As the first single from the album, this one had to be attention seeking and commercial enough to get people back on the Coldplay roundabout. Especially as rumors of the album were leaking and people were apprehensive as to what to expect.
A very commercial sounding track with mixed reviews. I personally don't love it but I don't hate it. It really is just average. Great use of drums and a catchy track with interesting lyrics. I can see why they chose it as the first single.
8. Major Minus
I love the Acoustic Guitar in this track, the whole beat makes you nod your head and before you know it you will be singing along. A slightly darker track compared to the rest of the almost magical sounding songs. But it works well when taking the albums concept into consideration.
Another mellow track. The Coldplay vocals are in full force here. In my opinion I find this track a bit boring. A bit too slow and dreary for me so a good thing that this is a long interlude / short track at just over 2 minutes long. By the way, the escapism-themed lyrics of the track about flying away explain the title of the track and the strings used in the track give it that far away feel.
10. Princess Of China
I think this could be, in my opinion be the best track on the album. Featuring on the track, Rihanna adds some freshness to the album and stops it from becoming one delirious drone. I honestly believe they need to make this a single. It is easy to listen to with a great beat and the melody is so easy it is charming.
Immensely catchy and unique this is the star of the show. Coldplay do not lose themselves in this and Rihanna just compliments their vocals nicely.
11. Up In Flames
Hypnotic and simple sums up this track. Keeping it simple works because of Chris Martins vocals and true cold Play fans will believe this is them at their best. It is an amazing use of gentle swaying rhythms to create a great ballad.
12. A Hopeful Transmission
The last of the 3 almost pointless interludes. This 30 odd second interlude is a strings affair. I still think this and the last interlude are pointless parts of the album, serving no purpose and really in my opinion disrupt the flow of the album.
13. Don't Let It Break Your Heart
One of the better tracks on the album. They come back to life full throttle and invigorate some life back into the album. A simple track but a classic one. Well put together and a decent song overall.
14. Up With the Birds
A great end to the album. Intense and clear vocals with some uplifting stark instrumentals, a great alarm clock call. A really intense song but calming and restful. A great ending to the album and a great representation of the concepts 'Happy ending'.
**The Album Overall**
This is such a hard one to sum up. Marmite is the best word to use. Some will love it and other will absolutely hate it. I have to be honest and say it does not compare to their previous album Viva la Vida and I am a bit disappointed.
I love the fact that Coldplay took a different route and make the album into a story. It does give each song a different meaning and a lot more character. But leaving that aside and taking each song on its own merit, I would say that half of the tracks are substandard. Such a shame as there are three tracks which I think are great and overshadow the rest but overall it is missing some real star quality that the previous album had.
I would say that you should give it a listen regardless of your opinion on Coldplay as this is rather original. I have listened to some of the tracks that they left off the album and it almost burns to say I think they made a mistake with some of the tracks. But they chose what they chose for a reason, and that was to be more acoustic and to try and create the perfect track. Which I don't think they did with this album.
It was great hearing Rihanna on 'Princess Of China; and I hope this is an avenue they explore further as they didn't lose an ounce of themselves considering Rihanna's large presence. It spiced up the track and I think more collaborations should be to come.
Overall, a great musical production on a strong but diverse album. Not the original Coldplay but a slightly tweaked version. Love it or hate it, give it a chance and it does grow on you... slowly.
Summary: A good album with a hidden story!