… and the winner of last week’s Re-tweet Contest is… @elvinwong!!! Please pick up your prize at 2nd Service!
Coldplay – Mylo Xyloto (2011)
* * * 1/2
Sounds like: Coldplay (duh), U2
Since their first breakthrough hit “Yellow”, Coldplay has been one of the most consistently chart-topping bands of its day. Sometimes criticized for being too similar to U2 (hey, what’s the PROBLEM with that at all???), this british-bred band has reached Billboard charts with hits such as “In My Place”, “Clocks”, “Fix You”, “Vida La Vida”, “What If”, etc… I COULD keep going on for a while mind you.
Coldplay is simply a phenomenal band and I hear their live shows are among the BEST in the world.
Anyways, continuing onto this review: what is this “Mylo Xyloto”??? Frontman, Chris Martin, describes this album as a concept album that tells an epic love story throughout the whole album. They again collaborate with producer Brian Eno (of U2-fame) and that formula has definitely continued to be a success. If you want to know more in-depth about the album, check out the wiki entry HERE.
First and foremost, to get the best picture of this album, I would recommend listening to it straight through. Most of the tracks connect to one another and it works quite well in “telling a story”. Also, the theme of Heaven is very transparent throughout, although sometimes the lyrics are quite cryptic and short, but I guess that’s Martin’s poetic license to do so. Instrumentally, there’s a LOT of prominent euro, synth-y effects going on all over the place! Starting with the opening track “Hurts Like Heaven”, we are treated to a flurry of synthesizers and auto-tuned voices. For me it brings back a “depeche mode”-like 80s feel. Then it flow right into the 2nd released single, “Paradise”. The lyrics of the song describe the coming-of-age story of a girl who grows up to realize that life is a struggle, but dreams of a better place = Paradise. (And so lying underneath those stormy skies/She’d say “oh I know the sun must set to rise”/This could be para-para-paradise/Para-para-paradise) She realizes she must go through the “hard knocks” to find Paradise. Quite a possible allegory to Future Heaven, Paradise, and how through our struggles in life, that’s how we realize our character is crafted.
Hands down, the best track on the album is the debut single “Every Teardrop is a Waterfall”. Vintage Coldplay is how I would describe this song. With Johnny Buckland at the helm of electric guitar, the irish-influenced guitar lick fits in well towards the overall feel of the song. The overt optimism in this song is infectious and I’m sure it’ll be an anthem for many people for years to come. (So you can hurt, hurt me bad/But I’ll still raise the flag/It was a waterfall/Every tear/Every tear/Every teardrop like a waterfall) I simply love the instruments and arrangement of this song, and ESPECIALLY the great interlude with a killer bass line that starts at 3:04 on the track. Another catchy song from the album must be “Princess of China” featuring Rihanna. At first listen, I wasn’t even sure it was her, but after a quick google search, I realized my assumption was correct!
Coldplay, in general, have referenced many “biblical” or “Christian” themes in their songs. You CAN’T miss it. Even the track “U.F.O” is somewhat like a simple prayer, waiting for heaven. Of course this is a lot to do with Chris Martin, who grew up as a catholic. He has said he does not hold to any particular faith and believes that God exists but is still wrestling with who or what God is. I hope and pray that one day, he will realize that this “God” he is singing to, praying to, and writing beautiful lyrics about, will found in Jesus Christ. Jesus is the One who truly satisfies, invites us to real Paradise where we will one day experience eternal joy and peace with God… a love stronger than a waterfall
Conclusion: Would I recommend getting this album? Wholeheartedly. Some parts of the album do drag out if you’re not in the mood and I’m not sure the little interludes are necessary (I actually don’t know of ANY album that I appreciate the interludes). Overall, buy the tracks that you really like, but if you are looking for good driving music that will tell you an epic, melodious story… check “Mylo Xyloto” out!
Standout Tracks: ”Every Teardrop is a Waterfall”, “Princess of China”, “Paradise”, “Major Minus”, “U.F.O.”