Lavin Rant: Coldplay’s “Mylo Xyloto”

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by Mike Lavin

4.4/10

Coldplay – Mylo Xyloto [Parlophone; 2011]

One thing that was so prominent with Coldplay’s 2008 effort Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends was the ambiguity of it. Tracks like “42” and “Death and All His Friends” made Viva La Vida one of my cherished albums that lived up to all the hype. As my music tastes and preferences changed rapidly from 2008 to 2011, Coldplay was left in the dust and I ashamedly found myself barely even caring that Coldplay’s fifth LP Mylo Xyloto was being released within a couple of days. Leading single “Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall” possibly signified the ultimate deciding factor of whether Mylo Xyloto had any hope to be as transcendent as Viva La Vida was. It failed, quite miserably.

Taking the opposite direction that Viva La Vida was dropped out with (the darker and more textured feel) Mylo Xyloto is more colorful and less brooding than its predecessor. One thing immediately present through just a simple listen of Mylo Xyloto is the lack of transition between songs. All past Coldplay efforts have had a consistent theme and dynamic to fall back on; A Rush of Blood To the Head—that glorious piano rock that skyrocketed Coldplay to fame; X&Y—spacey electronics; Viva La Vida—the beautifully orchestrated and baroque-quality music. However, Mylo Xyloto jumps around into random intervals. From the hushed acoustic guitar backed with lush orchestrations on “U.F.O.” to the Rihanna featured “Princess of China” which sounds like a pop song; the two are even right next to each other, I even checked if my iTunes was on shuffle when “Princess of China” started.

The traditional piano rock A Rush of Blood to the Head and Parachutes are known for is all but nonexistent on Mylo Xyloto; immediately dismissing past fans and bringing in new ones. The comparisons to U2 have been raining down for months ahead of Mylo Xyloto’s release; the pairing isn’t hard to see. The guitar lines on “Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall” are laced with the Edge’s influence and even Coldplay lead man Chris Martin’s croons have changed from the uniqueness on Coldplay’s earlier work into the way Bono wails. I can make endless comparisons, but it’s simple: Coldplay has lost its spunk and possibly run out of ideas.

Finding a standout on Mylo Xyloto is difficult; there isn’t one. Absolutely nothing pops out and has those beautiful “Coldplay moments” that Viva La Vida was laced with. The most flabbergasting part about the whole album is that Chris Martin claims it’s a concept album. Most of the time, concept albums are easy to spot after a listen, and after numerous listens, I still can’t see the whole “Mylo and Xyloto fall in love in a dystopian urban environment”. When tracks cannot even transition effectively, you know you can’t have a concept album with a cohesive structure.

Coldplay has even followed the trend of some pop acts by compressing their songs and adding overly loud bass and bright instrumentation. It’s honestly frustrating to see Coldplay give such a poor effort after the very solid Viva La Vida. Poor production, brutal transitions, and an overall mess of an album with no standouts or impressive moments to back it up, but really, Coldplay fans will never disappoint as a whole, so Coldplay has nothing to worry about.