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MX review I wrote


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Just thought I'd share.





Coldplay, Mylo Xyloto.


In 2002, Coldplay were offered a headline slot at the biggest festival in the world. Their music had already touched the nation, but they were still four former university students with just one album under their belts; an album comprised of soft, gentle “limestone rock” in the vein of Radiohead’s acoustic endeavours. Many wondered whether Coldplay had the back bone to headline Glastonbury, and pretty much everyone – including Chris Martin and co themselves – knew that the booking was a risk.


But when Coldplay took to the stage that evening, they began their set not with a star-gazing singalong, but the 9/11-tinged, pounding Politik; a schizophrenic new song, and one that would open their new album, A Rush of Blood to the Head. Despite A Rush of Blood… being unreleased, the band played six songs from it, including future favourites Clocks, In My Place and The Scientist. The set was fantastically received by Glastonbury-goers, critics and fans. The album sold five million copies in Europe, and roughly the same in the States, and the rest, as they say, is history.


Coldplay, rather like their idols Radiohead and U2, work best when they feel compelled to evolve. 2008’s Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends is yet more stellar proof of this; an Eno-guided epic that reinvented what it meant to be Coldplay, the band’s fourth record restored just enough street cred after the lazy, overblown X&Y. So despite Chris Martin stating that Coldplay are still chasing the “masterpiece”, Mylo Xyloto comes with no pressure. The band are on top of the world after the triumphant Glastonbury homecoming, the massive success of Viva La Vida, and the simultaneous slip of U2 from “world’s greatest” to “just a little bit past it”. But if history’s told us anything, “no pressure” is not a good thing.


That’s not to say that Mylo Xyloto isn’t ambitious; it’s a stadium-rock record with three acoustic songs/ballads, three interludes, two R&B-influenced tracks and an overarching theme of “What would Nineteen Eighty-Four be like with Banksy?” All too often though, it doesn’t push the boundaries far enough musically; Major Minus is a moody, slow-burner waiting to catch fire, but when it does, you’re expecting something as psychotic as 42, not a safe, Edge-like solo. The chorus also relies on an “ooh” – as does Charlie Brown – and the wordless hooks lethargically leak through the album and onto every track. Easily the worst two songs on the record though are slowies Up in Flames and Up Against the World: a pair of unfinished, insipid and box-ticking tunes that suggest a comfort with the Coldplay sound, but don’t have the heartache, tenderness or warmth of Green Eyes, The Scientist or Fix You.


Gripes with over-familiarity aside, Mylo Xyloto is a stunning bag of tricks. Hurts Like Heaven is a soaring opener with electrifying guitar lines and breathless melody; a tender one-to-one from Martin of “Yes, I feel nervous and I cannot relax” re-establishes the almost unparalleled ability the man has to be both your best friend and arena ringleader, and from there, Coldplay lay the foundations of what is their friendliest record yet. Paradise and Every Teardrop is a Waterfall are both exercises in control; the former makes use of delicate piano flourishes and elegant strings before dropping a colossal chorus, and the latter’s plunky trance chords eventually break into irresistible thrashing rock rhythms. Charlie Brown and Don’t Let It Break Your Heart sound like Stone Roses dipped in day-glow paint, Up With the Birds is hymn-like and spellbinding, and Princess of China is halfway between Basement Jaxx’s Good Luck and Calvin Harris’s I’m Not Alone. Despite the over-twisting structure, it’s still the best vocal performance from Rihanna since her guest spot on Jay-Z’s Run This Town, and it still showcases one of the finest hooks on the album. They may all be wordless, but they’re the ones you sing live.


Mylo Xyloto is fresh, exciting and fairly unique, and it deserves to be commended for its cohesiveness; not many bands can pull off a Sigur Ros sample, a Rihanna collaboration and a written-in-just-a-day tearjerker, just over the course of three consecutive songs. But it’s that kind of ambition that Coldplay shy away from all too often, in favour of rewriting Viva La Vida – not that’s there anything wrong with the Viva-likes, Charlie Brown, Every Teardrop… and Hurts Like Heaven – there’s just not a lot to back them up with further into the record.


The answer Chris Martin is looking for is a no: Coldplay haven’t quite managed the masterpiece on this showing. Bloody good try, enjoyable listen, but next time, twist the formula again, guys.





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Good review, thanks for sharing.


I think 'friendly' is the right word to describe the album.

And I would say it came with a lot of pressure though. They had to try and top Viva, which proved impossible.




I just think MX is the natural successor to VlV. Obviously X&Y had pressure too, but it doesn't sound made under pressure. And neither does this, hence the friendly tone.

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