Mylo Xyloto (2011)
Coldplay has become one of those epic bands that seems to get bigger and bigger with every release. It’s sort of crazy to think back to when I was spinning Parachutes in between college classes (on my Discman) before “Yellow” ever hit as a single.
Mylo Xyloto, the newest offering from these brits, is… interesting. I won’t say it’s bad or anything, but it’s certainly lacking in elements that made me like their previous releases.
As I said back in 2000, Coldplay is one of the few bands to come around this generation that has super-star ability. It still rings true today, but not in the way I had hoped. I can safely say that they’ve crossed the line into being a full-fledged Pop group, when their back catalog I always had listed as Alternative.
Gone are the tunes that drew me in: “Spies”, “Animals”, “Bigger Stronger”, “A Rush of Blood to the Head”, “Square One”, “Cemeteries of London”, “Violet Hill”, etc… making room for less intricate, sub-thumping tracks like “Every Teardrop is a Waterfall”.
The Rihanna collaboration on “Princess of China” is, to me, less a Coldplay track and more of a Rihanna track that guest-stars Chris Martin. There’s nothing wrong with this one, but there’s nothing to it that says it should be on a Coldplay record. Not to mention that a few tracks on Mylo Xyloto seem to have some dubstep-esque synth going on.
To quote Martin himself, “Everything’s Not Lost” however… track 8 on Mylo Xyloto (“Major Minus”) is the best track on the record, and I actually really like this one. Steel-string slide guitar, distorted vocals, tambourine, a little bit of distorted guitar, and upbeat. I’d put this song in a Cold-playlist any day of the week. Unfortunately, it’s the only track that kept my interest this time around.
I do enjoy the single “Paradise”, but it’s sort of a novelty enjoyment. Their previous singles, as overplayed as they became, were still fantastic songs in my opinion… and I’ve always admired Coldplay for their uplifting sound, a-la U2, as they came around when most bands had a self-loathing, fuck-the-world, my-life-sucks sort of attitude.
It’s sort of like being a comedic actor vs. a dramatic one: anyone can act dramatic, but it takes a special sense of timing and a certain personality to be truly funny. Just as anyone can be a faux-angry band, but not everyone can be legitimately uplifting without sounding cheesy.
The uplifting sound certainly remains on Mylo Xyloto (perhaps with the help of the now over-used “woah” singalong choruses), so I have to give them credit for that.
Dave Grohl even made a comment the other night during the Foo Fighters’ show in Oakland… “I used to like Coldplay before they started using computers…” which was part of his rant about how bands these days are ditching guitars for laptops and synths.
Bottom Line: Pop-dance fans will certainly cling to this new Coldplay record, and I do see it being very successful. But for those of you who used to like Coldplay as a band, you may be disappointed.
-Clay Lancaster (www.claylancaster.com)