Album Review: Coldplay goes mainstream with Mylo Xyloto to less success


Coldplay's latest album, Mylo Xyloto (pronounced my-loe zy-leh-toe), is Coldplay at its most energetic and experimental.  

Unfortunately, not even Coldplay knows what "Mylo Xyloto" means. Frontman Chris Martin said he was looking for a term that had no hits on Google. Thus, the gibberish term "Mylo Xyloto" was born (and now has over 100 million hits on Google).  

In many ways, this playful title is representative of the album's content. From the adrenaline-filled and blisteringly-fast opening track "Hurts Like Heaven," to the soft-spoken and folksy "Us Against the World," MX is the definition of capricious.

While I was initially shocked by how "mainstream" and "poppy" many of the new tracks sounded, after several listens I found myself appreciating – but not loving – the more mainstream direction Coldplay has taken.  

For instance, when I first heard Rihanna's vocals on "Princess of China," I saw it as an act of heresy. "Princess of China," however, shines much brighter within the context of the rest of the album, though it's still not the strongest track.  

MX was designed to be experienced start to finish – a practice that has all but disappeared from the music industry. With 30-second atmospheric interludes between many of the tracks, it is necessary to listen to the album in its entirety for it to achieve the desired effect. "Paradise," "Charlie Brown" and "Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall," however, are tracks strong enough to stand on their own.

While MX is in many ways a departure from the band's old sound, the members of Coldplay retain their love for breakup songs. "Up In Flames" and "Don't Let It Break Your Heart" should be a comfort and an inspiration for listeners hoping to make their way out of bed and into the gym or local church in search of a new partner.

For veteran Coldplay fans that fell hard for piano-driven hits like "The Scientist" and "Clocks" from Coldplay's magnum opus, A Rush of Blood to the Head, the mainstream, electronic vibes of MX may be off-putting. My advice to those veteran fans is to treat MX as an album coming from an entirely new band. Coldplay has changed so drastically since the members first released Parachutes in 2000 that it is unfair to compare their work today to the Coldplay of the past.  

Having said that, there are instances in MX where Coldplay's past does peek out. From the twinkling piano line at the end of "Up With The Birds" to the extremely catchy guitar riff in "Charlie Brown," there's just enough of the old Coldplay formula to please the fans that have been with them from the start.