Coldplay’s lead singer Chris Martin commented that their upcoming album “Mylo Xyloto” would be more of a happy sound than past albums, and he wasn’t lying. From the introduction, a 43-second jingle that beauifully flows into the first song, “Hurts Like Heaven,” “Xyloto” displays an upbeat, optimistic sound that captures the heart of the listener and carries them through the story the record is trying to tell.
“Heaven” begins the concept album perfectly, with its synthesizing toe-tapping beats and poppy guitar solo. A concept album is an album in which all the songs complement each other to tell a single story. In “Mylo Xyloto,” the middle sounds like you’re in a rainforest or waterfall, reminiscent of the Talking Heads, and the theme of water seems to persist throughout the album.
The revved-down ending sets up what is one of the album’s best songs, “Paradise,” the second single off the album. Its violin introduction sweeps you into the epic sing-a-long describing every person’s dream of paradise. And the optimistic, anthem archetype of the first two songs continues with the third track, “Charlie Brown,” which happens to be the album’s greatest, in terms of quality.
While the first three tracks emphasize optimism in a dystopia coupled with a poppy, synthesizing sound, the acoustic song, “Us Against the World,” that follows brings the album back to Coldplay’s U2-esque “Viva La Vida” sound. Martin likens himself to a drunken biblical Daniel in the lion’s den or a man caught in chaos, with soft hopeful lyrics that cry for us to break through, and “fly up to the surface and just start again.”
After a smart interlude with a jungle-sounding and tense piece of music, “Xyloto” flows into its lead single “Every Teardrop is a Waterfall.” The tune everybody knows finds a purpose here, as it begins the rebellious, stick-it-to-the-man attitude that “Us Against the World” alluded was coming. The lyrics might not have the quality that Coldplay usually produces, but the musicality is perfect and the lyrics set up the edgy words to follow in “Major Minus.” An angrier sample, “Minus” tells us to “turn to be heard.” But Mr. Martin, we were already listening.
The next song, “U.F.O.,” calls to God to help find a direction in an extremely stunning and emotional tidbit before the out-of-place and mainstream song of the album, “Princess of China,” which features Rihanna. It has a good beat with cheesy lyrics, and it’s reminiscent of a rapper trying to appeal to mainstream consumers. It’s the only disappointment of “Xyloto,” and it is a shame.
“Up in Flames” continues where “U.F.O.” should have left off, with a slowed rendition of a realization of the end. It appears a lot has happened in between the past three songs, and Martin reflects that the past has been burned.
“A Hopeful Transmission” transitions “Xyloto” into its last third, a sort of conclusion with an optimistic ending. “Don’t Let it Break Your Heart” builds up the predictable but awesome “Up with the Birds,” an optimistic metaphor for forgetting the trials and tribulations of the past with flying like a bird.
“Mylo Xyloto” is the perfect story of hope, lust, destruction and rebirth. While using metaphors of fire for dystopia, water for cleansing and tears, or concrete for what is constant in our world, Martin brings up a story to inspire and be learned from, backed by incredibly catchy and uplifting sounds that support their lyrical counterparts. “Xyloto” ends in the words, “Good things are coming our way.”
You’re wrong again, Mr. Martin. They’ve already come.
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