Album review: Coldplay, Mylo Xyloto

Posted: October 27, 2011 in Odds and Sods

In many ways, Coldplay has taken the mantle from U2 as purveyors of over-the-top pop piousness, even sounding like U2 with the jangly guitars and soaring choruses.
Their last album, Viva La Vida, was my favorite in their canon, as they pushed the boundaries of their sound to include worldly Far Eastern flourishes and pristine production values.
Their fifth and latest album, Mylo Xyloto, is a bit of a disappointment in comparison to the last disc. It again arrives in a glossy pop package, but for the most part the songs aren’t quite as memorable and in some cases, the production is too overcooked.
Case in point is the band’s foray into electro-dance beats, the left-field duet with Rihanna “Princess of China.” I like some of Rihanna’s work, but her contribution here isn’t all that memorable, mainly because the song is one of the worst on the set. It’s a definite stab at a hit, but feels out of place with the rest of the album.
There are plenty of great moments, including the opening track “Hurts Like Heaven,” the driving first single “Every Teardrop is a Waterfall, and the guitar-heavy “Major Minus.”
There are a few nice acoustic moments in “Us Against the World” and “UFO,” but there are also a few other forgettable tunes.
Second single “Paradise” doesn’t do much for me, seems to be Coldplay by numbers. “Don’t Let it Break Your Heart” could have been awesome, but it suffers from overproduction as the vocals are buried a bit too much in the mix. “Up in Flames” is a piano and drums ballad but doesn’t have much of a hook and “Up with the Birds” is an odd closer, with singer Chris Martin crooning over a Brian May sample for the first two minutes before the track takes off and then ends just as it was getting good.
Overall, the album ends up uneven and a bit of a letdown from past discs.

Sod rating: ***

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