From their debut album release of Parachutes in 2000, Coldplay has been growing from strength to strength. Release of Viva La Vida (2008) topped the worldwide album charts and became the world’s best-selling album of 2008. Following this grand achievement, Coldplay got to work on their fifth album, Mylo Xyloto, which dropped on 24 October 2011. While a respectful nod must be displayed to the succeeding albums of Ghost Stories (2014) and their most recent A Head Full Of Dreams (2015), this review focusses on the dynamic transitional sound, which the band employs in Mylo Xyloto in particular. Press play and let us deeply examine Mylo Xyloto’s prominent electronic swing, constituting the band’s first movement into a fresh direction
From the opening chord, Mylo Xyloto creates the excitement of a curtain opening before an adventure. Coldplay took its distinctive art rock sound from earlier albums and spliced their formula with hints of a more electronic, spunky punch. There is no doubt that Chris Martin, the lead singer, and his band are in the upliftment business with this album.
Martin shed some light on the album’s lyrical inspirations in an interview with NME. “It’s about escaping in the city and finding a buzz somehow…it’s about making your own entertainment.” (Check out the rest of their behind the scenes interview here)
However, lyrical themes are not the only method of linking tracks and it seems Coldplay has tried and succeeded to create an album which tells a story.
The album follows a conceptual album set. The tracks flow effortlessly through the melodic themes incorporated throughout the album. The previous song always complements the next one, and similarly, the instrumental lead-ons weave together a seamless narrative progression. While the album is breath-taking as a singular unit, the individual tracks still hold their own.
Singles like “Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall” and “Paradise” have the makings of iconic youth anthem zeal to them. The cascading choruses boasting Martin’s soaring vocal triumphs are complimented by the distortedly rifty guitars, inspired largely by Brain Eno, Coldplay’s producer. These elements, coupled with the signature alternative beat mixes of Coldplay, give each track a unique flavour.
Despite the general mood of the album taking the path of playfulness, the original acoustic influences of the album are brought to life in tracks like “Up In Flames”, “U.F.O” and “Us Against The World”. Coldplay also showcase their collaborative talents in the dark and entangling “Princess of China”, featuring Rihanna.
Overall, the album’s pop influence does not detract from Coldplay’s much loved original sound, but rather leads the band into the unexplored genre territory that they presently inhabit. If anything, this album highlights Coldplay’s progression rather than an outright alteration of the music, which has bought them a ticket to super stardom.
As a die-hard fan of Coldplay, I am a firm advocate for loyalty to an artist, even when they venture from their original sound. Coldplay has become a global success and has therefore earned the right to develop their sound as a band, knowing that their fan-base is backing their play. From their early mellow sounds of Parachutes, right through to the electronic infused tracks of Ghost Stories and the whimsy of A Head Full Of Dreams, it is their restless drive to push past the boxes of genre categorization which makes Coldplay so mesmerizing. And while Mylo Xyloto may not be their most current or their most sold album, its unrestricted optimism induces a bounce in my step that another album has yet to reproduce.
If you don’t believe me, check Mylo Xyloto out for yourself here.