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Review my Review of Mylo Xyloto


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Well I'm not sure if you'd even call it a review, but there it is. Feel free to provide me with some critiquing, as it'd be much appreciated. I'm new to the blogging scene, but I couldn't read all these negative reviews and not say anything.


If nothing else, it's someone saying something nice about the album. I tried to put some thought into it:


Mylo Xyloto: Coldplay's Finest, Critics' Worst


It is a testament to the cynicism of the music scene that Coldplay has become one of the most hated bands of the decade. Not by the lowly fans of course—what do they know about “real” music anyway?—but by critics. Bloggers. Columnists with “refined” musical taste. And if they're not being hated or being called “the most insufferable band of the decade,” they're at the very least being ignored. Joe Tagnari in 2005 wrote for Pitchfork: “It may be pointless to hate them, but...they've almost certainly become the easiest band on the planet to be completely indifferent to.”


Mylo Xyloto, the band's latest album, will likely sway few of the band's detractors. Most critics will give the latest Coldplay album a listen or two, write it off as a collection of pop songs will a lot of "WHOOA-OOH-OH!" choruses, give it a 6/10 if they're in a good mood, and get on with their lives. And this is a very sad thing indeed, because Coldplay is a band that demands our attention, and Mylo Xyloto is an album that deserves more than just a couple casual listens. Once an artist has been around for over a decade and released 50 million albums, they're no longer an ignorable fad. They are no longer "that band that did 'Yellow'". They are an institution.



Disclaimer: I say this not as a drooling Coldplay fanboy, but merely as someone completely baffled with the "meh" attitude toward their latest release; it is, by all accounts, (and of course in my very humble opinion) their strongest album to date. Parachutes is pretty, but songs like High Speed and We Never Change are what got the band their “Radiohead lite” monicker in the first place. A Rush of Blood to the Head is great, but its inclusion of weak tracks like A Whisper and Warning Sign are strange considering the strength of the era's b-sides. And X&Y is...well we'll get to that later. If Viva la Vida was an attempt to fully realize the band's more artistic inclinations, their desires to make something that constituted "serious listening," Mylo Xyloto attempts to realize the other side of the band's collective persona: the side that wants to write massive, huggable, stadium-ready anthems with choruses that beg to be screamed by thousands at the top of their lungs. And if an album's success is attributed to how well the band behind it accomplishes their goal then Mylo Xyloto is a triumph.


After listening to this record almost exclusively for about a week now, a few things surprise me: the foremost being, I've been listening to this record almost almost exclusively for over a week? Why aren't I more excited about popping in that new M83 album, or revisiting the criminally under-rated Era Extrana? The answer, of course, is that this album is surprisingly addicting for what upon first listen appears to be nothing more than a collection of pop songs. More surprising, though, is how well these pop songs benefit from the album format. As a single Paradise is decent, but as the-song-that-comes-after-Hurts Like Heaven, it's a haunting, almost revelatory track. Taken on its own U.F.O. seems like nothing more than a pretty bone thrown at the Parachutes/Rush of Blood fans who have become disillusioned with the band's more colorful, enthusiastic new image; but on the album, it's a stunning and unexpected lead-in to the shockingly-not-terrible Princess of China, with features echoing synths, hip hop beats and Rihanna.


If the critics seem to have one thing right, it's that Chris Martin's lyrics are often far too simplistic for their own good. Or are they? With Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends, Martin proved he could write genuinely great lyrics if he set his mind to it. Which means that he chose to include lines like “Don't wanna see another generation drop/I'd rather be a comma than a full stop,” when he could have written something far less silly. Which means that, hey, maybe he wanted these lyrics to be silly. After all, that “generation drop” lyric occurs in the album's silliest song (which includes lines like: A WA-WA-WA-WA-WA-A-TER-FALL!”), and after all, Chris Martin is a pretty silly guy—and one that's not afraid to take a few jabs at his larger-than-life persona (see: Extras, The Colbert Report). I've seen a lot of people posting comments on music forums along the lines of “Does Chris really expect us to take these lyrics seriously?” I think the answer is: no.


This silliness is important, and it's what sets the album apart from the band's other stadium-centric album, X&Y. The problem with X&Y wasn't that the songs weren't catchy—it was that they often lacked sincerity, and the band simply wasn't (and still isn't) good enough at creating “dark” music to get away with such a constantly morose record. Mylo Xyloto doesn't have a dark track on it, and as a result it comes across as a much better reflection of who the people in this band actually are: funny, upbeat, relentlessly enthusiastic, occasionally awkward, but mostly, charming.


Coldplay are no longer Mope Rock. Heck, they're no longer rock. They're a pop band now, and they're probably the best in the world.

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