That might be the most ridiculous blog title I’ve ever written. But for some reason, Coldplay can name their album something outrageous and nobody says boo. I like that about them. Regardless of how weird they might get, they will still sell a ton of records, because their music speaks to people. And this album certainly does its share of talking.
I’ve had a full week to listen to it, and my initial thought is good stuff. I don’t think it’s their strongest or most cohesive collection, but it definitely has a wow factor. This album is a far cry from the intimacy of Parachutes. Anybody that wishes Coldplay would get a little more acoustic can forget about it. I feel like leading up to every new album, I’ll read interviews where talk about wanting to make music that’s more intimate, quieter, more introspective. And then they release a record like Mylo Xyloto. Which is the opposite of small. Every song on here (including the ballads) is made for a stadium, made for a live show with beautiful lights and 20,000 fans singing along. Is this bad? Not if Coldplay writes them. I don’t know if there has been a band in my musical lifetime that has more universal appeal than Coldplay. Even if you “don’t really like them” (and I contest that there isn’t a person on God’s Green Earth who truly means that if they say it), the music that they make is beautiful and huge and arresting. Take for example, the second song Paradise. Colleen and I listened to the album for the first time as we drove around the Coralville Lake area, and the first song and its intro definitely had us in a bit of a dubious state, unsure of where they were going to take us (“this is way too fast for a ‘Coldplay song'”). But holy cow, once Paradise came on, we immediately were taken for this ride where you’re slammed against your seat and you’re still able to bob your head to the powerful beat. The chorus sounds like it is being sung by Chris Martin and a thousand background vocalists. It actually sounds like they played this live to a huge audience and just miked the entire crowd as they sang along. It’s an insanely gargantuan song.
And that’s the musical theme of this album. And it’s for that reason that I actually don’t think it works as well as a collection of songs as some of their earlier records did. The whole thing sounds dominated by industrial pixies or something. The songs all sound haunted by the ghost of steampunk Tinkerbell. I can only assume this is the compositional influence of Brian Eno, famous for his work with the Talking Heads, Devo, Depeche Mode, and most famously with U2. The guy produced freaking Joshua Tree, and you can clearly hear it on this album. For as much as Coldplay has been dodging comparisons with U2 for nearly their whole career, Mylo Xyloto does them no good in trying to get away from that. I hear guitar tones where I literally think, “That has to be The Edge.” Major Minus sounds like the B side to Bullet The Blue Sky, both lyrically and musically. And this is not to say it’s a bad thing. Coldplay has made a career of making records that speak to the hearts of untold numbers of listeners, and they are very good at it. I love listening to this album because it just sounds so freakin’ good. And at the end of the day, what more can you ask for in an album?
It’s a good album and I enjoy listening to it. In a year’s time it probably will not make my Top 3 Favorite Coldplay Albums, but Paradise and Princess In China will almost certainly make my Top 10 Favorite Coldplay Songs. It’s not a perfect album (see: every lyric in Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall, and the song title itself), but it has its moments to shine alongside the rest of Coldplay’s catalog. One of the few albums worth buying this year.