Mylo Xyloto

Written by: PP on 29/11/2011 06:43:21

Prior to the release of their fifth studio album "Mylo Xyloto", Coldplay informed Spotify, Rhapdsody, and a number of other music streaming services that the album would not be made available through them, because the record should be heard as one cohesive work instead of broken up into singles. It's not difficult to see why. "Mylo Xyloto" is the most ambitious Coldplay album to date, not just because it's a concept album whose story is filled with metaphors and allusions, but also in terms of the soundscape. Although Coldplay songs have always had a stadium-sized reach ever since the days of "Yellow", they've never been able to encompass and fill those vast spaces with layers of sound in as epic proportions as, for example, Muse, and that's what changes with "Mylo Xyloto". Remember that epic scene from Lion King where Simba is lifted high above the savanna? What about Enya's ambience-driven majestic melodies? Put those two together, and essentially, you have "Mylo Xyloto".

Though the songwriting arsenal of Coldplay still revolves around Chris Martin's amazing pipes, particularly his ability to float like a cloud above the soundscape, as well as lofty pop rock melodies, comparing "Mylo Xyloto" to "Parachutes" makes you question if it can really be the same band who wrote these two albums. One is great because of the way it simplified pop rock into its essence, and the other does the exact opposite, bringing substance back to pop music. By taking the foundation of electro rock and mixing it together with alternative, pop, and a refreshing desire for experimentation and ambitious soundscapes, Coldplay have crafted something special, arguably a career reviving album (if they even needed one) that proves the group are excellent songwriters capable of writing more than just simple pop rock songs. It's a record that pushes the band as songwriters to their outer limits, which has a tendency of separating those who merely want to from those who can, and "Mylo Xyloto" definitely places the band in the latter category.

Words like majestic and grandiose don't do enough justice to songs like "Hurts Like Heaven", "Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall" or "Paradise". These are songs that push Coldplay fully over to a territory that was only touched upon on "Viva La Vida", into soundscapes that Tom DeLonge has attempted in vain with Angels & Airwaves throughout the years. Yet they own a wholly different Coldplay that's both spacious and rich at the same time. They have a sense of timelessness that is often attached to some of the biggest modern U2 songs like "Beautiful Day" or "Elevation".

As a result, some of the simpler, acoustic songs feel like they are lacking in content when compared to the others. But that is to be expected given that this is a concept album. The different flavors, the varying levels of ambition ensure that the pitfall of being too epic is successfully avoided. If anything, the (relatively) down-to-earth songs which are driven solely by Chris Martin's classic vocals as we remember him from a decade ago allow the album some much-needed breathing room, causing the megalomaniac songs sound even grander than they otherwise would.

There's a much longer discussion to be had about this album and why it's important, but I'll condense the gist of it down to this: Coldplay have been astray for the past nine years (since "A Rush Of Blood To The Head"), unable to live up to the critical acclaim of their early works. "Mylo Xyloto" restores the band's relevance and is the album that'll convince skeptics of their worth in the music scene at large. Few mainstream bands are able to successfully undertake a studio recording that is essentially a piece of art more than it is a rock album. Only Muse comes to mind from recent memory, and that says something about "Mylo Xyloto".

Download: Paradise, Hurts Like Heaven, Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall
For the fans of: Band Of Horses, Snow Patrol, The Fray, Travis
Listen: Myspace

Release date 24.10.2011
Parlophone Records

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