Coldplay – Mylo Xyloto
While a new Coldplay album might not be the stock-price bothering major event it used to be, and even though the release of their fifth album has been overshadowed by a certain Madchester bands reunion, – the release of Mylo Xyloto is still something of an important moment for one of the biggest and most popular bands of the past 10 years.
We’re not quite sure when and where it happened, but sometime between 2002’s A Rush Of Blood To The Head and 2005’s X&Y, the image of Coldplay as a mainstream, populist rock band seemed to blur slightly. By the time the three years had passed until they released Viva La Vida… their position as a relevant rock band had all but crumbled (yes we know they sold albums by the bucket-load but no-one really cared about them!). Perhaps their audience just grew up and moved on to other things. Or maybe, in the current ultra-consumerist iTunes and Spotify dominated musical landscape; people just became bored with a band trotting out the same old tired songs. Whatever the reason, Coldplay are now in the position all big bands and artists find themselves in at one time or another – gamely battling for relevance and fighting for survival in an industry that has moved well beyond them. Many who have been in this position have come out the better for it – Primal Scream, for instance, now boast an eclectic back catalogue ranging from the early 90’s classics all the way up to the bludgeoning electro of XTRMNTR thanks to their ability to diversify and appeal to a new audience.
Unfortunately Coldplay’s shameless tactic of ‘reinventing’ themselves as some kind of ‘cool’ pop band is likely to prolong their period of irrelevance. Instead of being a daring and inventive album fit to relaunch their career now they are approaching elder statesmen age, Mylo Xyloto comes across as a desperate attempt to just get on radio playlists and maybe, just maybe, be invited to perform on The X Factor. They’ve even roped in Rihanna to help out on the risible ‘Princess Of China’. The fact that she’s the only interesting thing on the album tells you everything about the diminishing powers of Chris Martin and co.
Elsewhere, ‘Hurts Like Heaven’ sounds like a sub-standard Passion Pit song, ‘Charlie Brown’ has guitarist Jonny Buckland pursuing his usual ‘Look I’m as good as Jon Squire’ schtick, ‘Us Against The World’ is the same old acoustic ballad that pops up on every Coldplay album and ‘Up In Flames’ is…. well there’s not much to say about a song that has Martin singing ‘Up in flaaaaames’ for what seems like at least 20 minutes, except to say even the listener becomes embarrassed after a while.
The common theme on Mylo Xyloto is one of complete unoriginality. Even the ‘concept’ for this so-called concept album has been done to death, and done a lot better. In fact, even My Chemical Romance did a better job of the old ‘futuristic, dystopian world’ concept!
Predictably, the highlights of the album come from the singles and taster tracks. ‘Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall’ and ‘Major Minus’ make for a decent middle section of the album. The rest though, goes from boring to embarrassing and back again. No doubt, like all of their albums, it will sell by the bucket load – but will anyone care about it in 5 years? We think not…
What do you think of Mylo Xyloto and our review of it? Join in the discussion in the comments below…