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    Mylo Xyloto review 11: A Hopeful Transmission (The Houghton Star)

    myloxylotoalbum2_1.pngThe next of our featured Mylo Xyloto album review comes from the Houghton Times which is a student newspaper of Houghton College, Houghton (which is a hamlet within New York). A generally positive review but not without its criticisms of Mylo Xyloto, the review sums up the album saying: "As a whole, the album is carried by a handful of beautiful songs that are bubbling over with hope and happiness. And music that gives you hope, whether mainstream or obscure, is worth listening to." Read on for their review...


    Ever since coming to Houghton, there have been a few bands that I've been embarrassed to listen to. Coldplay, Switchfoot, and U2 have always been three of my favorite bands, but they're all "mainstream," and sometimes I feel awkward listening to them when everyone else in college is listening to obscure indie music or dubstep. Yes, yes, I know this is stupid of me. I apologize for having insecurities, but after listening to "Mylo Xyloto," Coldplay's fifth album, I've firmly decided that it is absolutely ridiculous to be embarrassed to listen to Coldplay, because their music, and this album in particular, makes me so happy...

    Like most albums, "Mylo Xyloto" could be about any number of things. The band has stated that it's a concept album "based on a love story with a happy ending." In my opinion, calling it a "concept album" is a bit of a stretch. The story and characters are much more loosely defined here than in other recent concept albums such as the Decemberists' "The Hazards of Love" and Green Day's "American Idiot."


    The overarching ideas of love and optimism definitely run throughout each song, but it's not syrupy or saccharine. It's more realistic and poignant, acknowledging sadness before directing us to the beauty it can contain. Bittersweet, is still sweet. This is probably best captured in the elegant, acoustic ballad "U.F.O.:" "Bullets fly / Split the sky / But that's alright sometimes sunlight comes streaming through the holes."


    The song "Mylo Xyloto" is a short instrumental that segues into the song "Hurts Like Heaven," but I honestly can't ever imagine listening to one of these songs without the other. From the brief background vocals to the drill-like guitar solo, this song is full of moments that bring me to the brink of giddiness. It's fast and happy and makes me wish I could dance.


    "Paradise" is good but is unfortunately sandwiched between my two favorite songs on the album, so I often skip it. But you should definitely listen to it and watch the music video, because it's pretty funny.


    "Charlie Brown." Oh my goodness, "Charlie Brown." This is my favorite song on the album. The instrumentation, the tempo, the melody, the rhythm, the lyrics—everything about it is full of longing and emotion. I've listened to it when I was happy, and it's made me even happier. I've listened to it when I was depressed, and my sadness didn't go away, but became tempered with hope and peace. And the implications and imagery suggested by the line "Be a cartoon heart"…oh man, do I like that a lot. That is a beautiful, wonderful idea.


    "Up in Flames" is my least favorite song on the album. I can only make it about 16 seconds in before I start to get bored and upset.


    Critics could accuse Coldplay of trying to fit too many ideas into each song, and they'd probably be right. Songs like "Us Against the World" and "U.F.O." shift musically from one minute to the next with extended bridges, intros, and outros that are completely different from the rest of the song. The closing song, "Up With the Birds," begins modestly with spacious chords and minimal instrumentation. Midway through, the guitar kicks in, and the tempo picks up, and it gets harder and harder not to smile as the song builds on itself and Chris Martin croons, "A simple plot, but I know one day good things are coming our way," and part of you believes him.


    "Mylo Xyloto" definitely is a mixed bag. There are some clunkers, but it doesn't feel like a disappointment. There are a lot of high points, most of which seem to take place on the first half of the album, but even the parts that miss the mark aren't a total loss. As a whole, the album is carried by a handful of beautiful songs that are bubbling over with hope and happiness. And music that gives you hope, whether mainstream or obscure, is worth listening to.


    And speaking of obscure, I have no idea what the album title means, but it's fun to say.


    Kit yourself up for the forthcoming MX tour and get spotted with Coldplaying's new range of merchandise! [click on the items for the full shop]


    cpingshopdesigns1.png cpingshopdesigns2.png cpingshopdesigns3.png cpingshopdesigns4.png cpingshopdesigns5.png


    The new range of Coldplaying merchanise (unofficial of course to the official shop) has hit our stores, with our biggest range of goods so far. Prices are as low as they can be for a Cafepress shop so more people will be able to afford them. We don't take any profits for the sale of the merchandise as a result. Take a browse in one of the online stores nearest to you: UK | US | Canada | Australia | European (shipping is worldwide, but you can choose what currency to pay in) - simply alter the country dropdown menu at the top of the shop page. [thanks to TracieMorgan and zzz]


    More photos of Coldplay on the TODAY Show at Rockefeller Plaza {21st October 2011):






















    All photos courtesy of MrsMartin333 via Facebook (click for more!)


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