Album Reviews: Mylo Xyloto

Coldplay’s fifth studio album has met a pretty nice commercial response. Mylo Xyloto is currently topping the charts: it’s #1 on Billboard 200. But what of critical reception? Reviews have been mixed. Let’s see what Murfie staffer, Tynan, has to say about the band’s latest effort.

~ By this point, saying you’re a Coldplay fan can be like saying you’re a fan of the Dave Matthews Band: met with an eye-roll and quips about the band that has become a favorite of frat boys and radio DJs everywhere. But I’m a proud Coldplay fan, and I’m not sorry about it. There is so much more to the band than meets the eye, and nothing proves that more than their new album Mylo Xyloto.

Mylo Xyloto is the perfect next step for Coldplay. It seamlessly connects where they have been to where they are going. The album begins with tracks that are very synth-heavy, then eventually moves into a more instrumental territory, reminiscent of the “Parachutes” days. Their previous album Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends was a concept album packed full of large fanfares dealing with large themes such as love, life, death and war. While Viva La Vida was a great progression for the band and a huge commercial success, I always get nervous after bands release concept albums because they’re difficult to follow up. Remember when Christina Aguilera released her concept album Back To Basics? Neither does anyone else. Sometimes it’s difficult for audiences to understand artists when they go out on a limb.

But while Mylo Xyloto is perhaps less ambitious, it reminds us why we fell in love with Coldplay at the start. Tracks such as “Hurts Like Heaven” and “Charlie Brown” artfully blend Coldplay’s gorgeous instrumental compositions with an electronic sound, and then bring it back down with more intimate tracks like “U.F.O.” and “Us Against The World.” Other standouts are “Princess of China,” which features vocals from hit maker Rihanna and “Up In Flames,” a heartbreaking breakup track where lead singer Chris Martin sounds like a broken man. (If I were married to Gwyneth Paltrow, I’m pretty sure I’d be a broken man, too.)

Say what you want about Coldplay, but Mylo Xyloto is undoubtedly one of the best albums of the year and the band shows no signs of stopping anytime soon.
     – Tynan Sinks