Coldplay – Mylo Xyloto
Coldplay’s conundrum is this: with 50 million records sold worldwide, and only one that is critically acclaimed, is it better to chase commercial or critical success? It seems that on “Mylo Xyloto” they want both.
There’s no doubting that it will be a commercial success; the band’s gift of pumping out solid melodies remains intact, and this album sounds exactly like the move into pop they have hyped it up to be.
To give credit where it’s due, there are moments of brilliance: the frenetic urgency of “Hurts Like Heaven”, and the soaring chorus of “Paradise,” “Up in Flames” – a Coldplay ballad revamped with an 808, or the team-up with Rihanna, “Princess of China”, a song of simple, unpretentious, unashamed pop.
This ‘concept album’ about two lovers, Mylo and Xyloto, styled as rebels in a White Rose-like movement, has ostensibly lofty ambitions, but too easily sinks back towards the traditional hallmarks of Coldplay: excessively sentimental, life-affirming, cliché-heavy cooing, particularly on the saccharine “Us Against The World”.
Underneath the glossy, electronic, ‘pop’ exterior lies the same band, including all the lyrical howlers you’d expect. ‘Life goes on, it gets so heavy’, ‘hear those crocodiles ticking round the world’ or ‘I’d rather be a comma than a full stop.’ Punctuation metaphors and Peter Pan references are so prosaic that they nearly hamper any opportunities for melodic transcendence.
If they’ve actually listened to any pop, they should know that they needn’t have tried so hard. Mylo and Xyloto seem insignificant: the themes of hope, rebellion and struggle can tag along for the ride, but the real star of the show is the melody. Although too close a listening won’t flatter “Mylo Xyloto”, don’t completely write it off, even if only for the insistently catchy tunes; there’s more to it than at first glance.