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Music Review: Coldplay's Mylo Xyloto
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stainsteelrat
So I've got Mylo Xyloto. I did in fact have it before the weekend, but unusually pre-ordered it on iTunes as well, and have only just had a chance to listen to it. I still like Coldplay even though it seems to be fashionable to hate them at the moment (I'm reminded of when Genesis and even Queen went out of fashion in what must have been the late 80s). Despite the fashion they still seem to sell a bundle of records. They are a bit middle of the road and lukewarm, but (a) often they aren't and (b) they seem like a nice bunch of people at least (Chris Martin's comment about his own dancing at the BBC concert won me over). Typically I only like 2 or 3 tracks on a Coldplay album. Maybe 5 on a good day (A Rush of Blood to the Head).

Now I struggle to write much about music, because the medium just doesn't lend itself to detailed verbal analysis, for me. But anyway, what do I think of Mylo Xyloto track by track? (Based on a fresh listen, aside from the two single releases)

1. Mylo Xyloto - a 40 second intro track that blends straight into Hurts Like Heaven. Not quite sure why they separate it, but hey ho.
2. Hurts Like Heaven - I liked this immediately on a first listen, and it's surprisingly strident and rawk for a Coldplay track, with a somewhat original feel to it.
3. Paradise - I've heard this before, being one of the two singles released. I like it lots, but clearly it's one of the better tracks on the album, hence the single release.
4. Charlie Brown - this is somewhat classic Coldplay filler to me. Pleasant enough, but not much to write home about. Again though, a bit more energetic and noisy than the typical Coldplay track.
5. Us Against the World - a pleasant enough mostly acoustic track.
6. MMIX - another short track (do I hear concept album?) that just leads into the next one.
7. Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall - a stonking track, but again I'd heard it way before the album release.
8. Major Minus - perhaps a notch above filler, but not much.
9. UFO - this seems to serve as a counterpoint to Major Minus, and works quite well as that, in fact bettering it for me. Still feels like filler though.
10. Princess of China - Eek. Fairly dreadful pop effort. Featuring Rihanna. Coincidence?
11. Up in Flames - back to the acoustic (ish). Not dreadful, but again just not very exciting.
12. A Hopeful Transmission - another somewhat pointless 30 second musical palette cleanser.
13. Don't Let it Break Your Heart - this seems like third single material. All very uplifting 'n stuff, but a smidge less original feeling than the two previous.
14. Up With the Birds - and another jolly track that builds a bit (and blends with the previous). Starting to all blur together at this point, so probably a better track than I'd give it credit for.

Having seen a few reviews Mylo Xyloto has been written off as mostly average and not enough of a difference from previous efforts. In part perhaps, but I thought Paradise and Every Teardrop were actually pretty good departures, without being a complete reinvention - it's always hard to balance between completely changing your sound and producing an identical album. Bemusingly Coldplay almost sound like U2 at points during Mylo Xyloto. Now it's not the first time they've paired up with Brian Eno if I recall correctly, but even so. Coldplay's main failing for me is with their lyrics, which typically seem to have no meaning, discernibly at least (abstract poetry perhaps?). But do lyrics need to always have deep or even semi-complex meanings? It's a shame they couldn't expand on the brilliance that they reach in some tracks, but you can't have everything.

And it's OK, you don't need to tell me how much you dislike Coldplay.

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Phew! That's saved me a job :-P

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