Coldplay - Mylo Xyloto

2012-01-31 11:46
 
What does your run of the mill Coldplay fan expect each time the band release a new album? Something to sing/wave lighters/snog along to most probably. But dance to? Actually shake some rump and jiggle some bits to? Well now, that's something quite new, isn't it?

Maybe I haven't listened to previous Coldplay albums closely enough, short of scoffing at Chris Martin's vague, Bono-baiting lyrics, but Mylo Xyloto feels like quite a departure for the band fifth time around.

On first listen, lead single Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall (ugh, that title) was a shocking affront to my senses, a piece of throwaway Euro-trance that did not gel with my idea of their usually standard, mid-paced pop-rock sound.

Comparatively, Mylo Xyloto is the Emerald City at the end of the yellow brick road - a happy, colourful place of wonder and play.

PHOTO: Coldplay Live in Cape Town

It starts off very brightly on the almost child-like Hurts Like Heaven, a keyboard-heavy 80s throwback that played like a dream opener on their recent South African tour. The good times roll on Paradise, a song as wide as the sky and the first song to recall anything that sounds like the Coldplay of old.

And so the strong first half of Mylo Xyloto continues with more feel-good melodies (Charlie Brown, in particular, is heart-happy stuff) and soft-spoken ballads that feel familiar but never really step over into any new territory.

Granted, it's not something Coldplay have ever been known to do. They've been able to stake an enviable claim as one of the most beloved bands in the world simply because they can so effortlessly distill the profound into something easily digestible. That may not be to everyone's taste, but the band's own awareness of their limitations has made their name less of a swear word. Writing off Coldplay as hacks has become as banal as rolling your eyes at the Twilight movies.

Mylo Xyloto peaks on one of the more rock-influenced songs like Major Minus, which would not have sounded out of place on their debut Parachutes, and Don't Let It Break Your Heart.

But the track everyone will be focusing on is the Chris Martin-Rihanna duet Princess Of China. It's a song that should once and for all disqualify Coldplay from any "alternative" music categories. This is pure pop. Replace Martin with Ne-Yo, Robin Thicke, even Justin Bieber, and the track would have worked as well. It’s a tortured break-up song that could have done with more depth instead of all those "la la la's" – but is set to be a huge hit nonetheless.

It's hard to believe that Coldplay were so far behind in the line to score a "featuring Rihanna" credit.

There's no faulting Mylo Xyloto as a good time album, full of big, bright, hands-in-the-air moments. It may not build on its more complex and alluring predecessor Viva La Vida, but in the Coldplay handbook, this is progress.

Watch Coldplay's Paradise video, which was shot in South Africa here:

 
Writing off Coldplay as hacks has become as banal as rolling your eyes at the Twilight movies.

Alan Montgomery 2012/01/10 9:11 PM
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Coldplay has produced a smooth yet lively set of numbers on this latest CD.The music encompasses all the richness and the restlessness of Africa where so,e of the videos were filmed.The high level of professionalism makes this a must buy and will be treasured for many years to come
Sandra Da Costa 2012/04/18 3:17 PM
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I thought the album was well produced and has many catchy tunes. I especially loved listenening to Paradise as I has seen Coldplay perform live at FNB stadium and they had played this song.
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