Mylo Xyloto Review
Coldplay have jumped the shark
Or the gun, or something.
With Mylo Xyloto, their transformation from acoustic indie darling to super monstrous pop-rock machine is complete.
Change is normally a good thing in music, but in Coldplay’s case, their change might be better described as devolution. Need proof? Check out 1999’s Blue Room E.P. or the b-sides recorded during the Rush of Blood to the Head sessions. This early music is far better than just about every song on Mylo, and most of it was never released on an actual album. Yep.
So what is the deal? After 2008’s excellent Viva la Vida, Coldplay seemed primed to make some truly great music. Granted, I was a little worried after hearing the first single “Every Teardrop is a Waterfall,” but it seemed like no matter after they released “Moving to Mars,” which harkened David Bowie and didn’t rely on overused pop hooks.
That song was not on the record however, and for good reason: there is no place for it in this pop monolith. Instead, Mylo plays like an extended version of “Every Teardrop” intermixed with a few boring acoustic songs.
While the record is supposed to be a concept album about “ young lovers (“Mylo” and “Xyloto”) in revolt against an uncaring establishment,” it is better just to ignore all that, since those themes, if they exist, are so subtle as to add nothing to the record.
The best song, “Charlie Brown,” manages to stand out a little from the bunch. However, frustratingly, the studio version loses a lot of the live version’s raw energy and angst. “Us Against the World,” one of the slower acoustic ballads, isn’t nearly as good some of their old music. Instead, they could have just re-recorded the unreleased “See You Soon,” which has the emotional power of 10 “Us against the World[s]”
Unexpected? Perhaps not.
While Coldplay rose to the occasion with Viva, it’s hard to see them recovering after this big a misfire. Chris Martin is notorious for hinting that every album might be the band’s last; for the sake of their legacy, perhaps they should actually call it quits this time. After all, life as a solo artist has its perks and perhaps it might prod that creative spark back to life again.
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