So at this point, it seems Coldplay are in it for the long haul. They’ve hit the part of their career where they feel the need to redefine themselves with every album. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing for any band to do, it sure does cause a lot of turmoil for their fans. Sure, casual listeners will here the same voice and melodies, but hardcore fans will always find something to gripe about. While I wouldn’t consider myself a hardcore fan, I find myself as slightly more than a casual listener. I like Coldplay non-ironically and am certainly proud of it.
Here are my thoughts on their career thus far; Parachutes was fantastic but A Rush of Blood to the Head completely blew it out of the water. I listened to the latter for something like a year straight, so it’s kind of my basis for comparison here. I thought X&Y ws a snooze comparatively, just like Kid A/Amnesiac next to OK Computer quickly becomes. Viva La Vida was really where the band changed the formula up, and its success still baffles me to this day. Yes it was good, but that good? I’m guessing it was carried by the massive title track and addictive “Violet Hill.” Digressions aside, this all leads us to here and now, and the band’s new album is called Mylo Xyloto (which fantastically, I must concur, means absolutely nothing).
This is the best Coldplay album since A Rush.., but that doesn’t mean its perfect. It has some of the same problems every Coldplay album has had, but it gets around them efficiently enough. The first major issue I have is the album’s length. Every Coldplay album is too long, and MX is no exception. Here though, the extra time is even more pointless with three short instrumental tracks and more than one song having an extra minute or two stapled to the end. The band pretty much puts down the version they’ll end up playing live; those moments when the crowd just wants the song to keep going. Yet, for the recorded version, I don’t think I’m the only person who’d appreciate the group keeping things short.
The opening instrumental track is completely unnecessary and should have been replaced by “Charlie Brown.” This would have introduced the album with the classic Coldplay we all remember, as well as a set of Chris Martin’s best lyrics in quite a while. Why didn’t they do this? I don’t know. They also could have cut the extra 1:30 coda from the end and launched into “Hurts Like Heaven,” my current favorite track. I actually figured out why the latter song is so good, as it takes every great melody that Telekinesis has put out and combines it into one ridiculous hook. Michael Benjamin Lerner should seriously consider suing, as he already has a better case than that silly hipster band that said they wrote “Viva La Vida.” Oh, and the dirty St. Vincent style guitar solo adds a nice touch to the end, even if the end drags on for another extra minute.
I hated the slick pop-ness of “Paradise,” then it got stuck in my head. I still think it would be a better plain piano ballad, especially if it got rid of the unnecessary Celtic strings. “Us Against the World” is the first time on the album the song length is spot on, but it’s followed by the pointless “MMIX.” “Every Teardrop is a Waterfall” is nicely unapologetic in it’s pop, but the damn opening line makes me cringe every single time (“I turn my music up/I got my records on” sounds like a Miley Cyrus song). “Major Minus” sounds like Parachutes-era Coldplay at their best, and it’s definitely the coolest song on the album. Yet, it should still end :52 earlier to capitalize on the vibe it gives.
“UFO” is kind of a throwaway track, but it’s nice enough to be included. Like every other reviewer has remarked, “Princess In China” does work way better than it should, though it’s probably the most gimmicky and disappointing to their original fans. The chorus also sounds a lot like the new OAR song “King,” which is weird. I can’t wait for “Up in Flames” to soundtrack my high school prom, but it certainly is a drag to sit through on ever listen. “Don’t Break Your Heart” is the most Coldplay-y song on the album, and sounds like an amalgamation of all the other songs on the record, so I’m not sure it was really necessary for inclusion. It could have been a good b-side, methinks.
Ending the album is “Up with Birds,” and it does it’s job very well. So there you have it, one more Coldplay record for your collection. It’ll probably be number one in every country within the month, and it probably deserves to be. I think my invented version would have been better, but I’m not the one making decisions here and I have no right to be. Yet I do believe that, if they followed my analysis, Mylo Xyloto would be 8-10 minutes shorter and twice as easy to listen to. It might have been the groups best record so far.