By Marc Lovatt
Slowly but surely, /Coldplay/ have attempted to become the master
of throwing everything at the wall and seeing what sticks, but this
time around only aspects of their latest album stuck fast, whilst some
tracks missed the wall all together.
Upon release of /Coldplay?s/ fifth and most recent album /Mylo
Xyloto/, released worldwide on October 24 2011, lead singer Chris
Martin described the album as, a dystopian love story rock opera.
Being a die hard /Coldplay/ fan I would love to agree with Martin, but
even I must agree with the critics for once.
At times the album illustrates the pure music perfection some artists
spend their lives searching for, but on the other hand some tracks
fail to impress, sounding more like the sonic equivalent of tea made
with a used teabag. It?s just not the same /Coldplay/ the world knew
in albums such as /A Rush of Blood to the Head/ and X & Y.
Coldplay’s semi-experimental approach to arena anthems has made them
one of the most commercially successful rock bands of this millennium.
And if 2008’s /Viva La Vida/ or /Death and All His Friends/ did not
convince the world of Coldplay’s interest in genre-bending, then /Mylo
Xyloto /shouts it to the rooftops. But this genre-bending has resulted
in the situation I have painted. Yes, /Coldplay/ have experimented in
/Mylo Xyloto /in an attempt to stay with ?the times?. This is an
admirable quality that the band possesses, an ingrained wish to
evolve, to explore other avenues, but as /Mylo Xyloto /illustrates
they still have some way to go before they can sound truly comfortable
in the new dance-pop era.
The first type of song on /Mylo Xyloto /is the dance-pop anthem. Many
of these on this album feel over produced, and in some cases the
techniques used are in conflict with the essence and intention of the
album. An example, would be the intro to /Charlie Brown/, during which
Chris Martin?s vocals are sped up to create the sound of what would
be likened to a singing hamster, which in my opinion comes across as
comical to say the least.
Disappointingly, even the current single, /Paradise/, falls short for
the same reason. It does indeed have the most exciting arrangement on
the album, including the most memorable chorus on the album, but it
seems that this directly leads Martin to take shortcuts with the
lyrics. In songs such as Paradise it seems that Martin is withholding
his best efforts, rather choosing to stick with comfortable clich??s:
?when she was just a girl, she expected the world but it flew away
from her reach, so she ran away in her sleep?.
/Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall /also fails to convince the audience of
its pop ambitions, as my belief is that it strives to replicate/ Black
Eyed Peas I Gotta Feeling/, however it lacks the powerful chorus to
give it the same staying power. The song therefore relies on guitarist
Jonny Buckland?s over-complicated, jarring guitar riff, which in
my opinion is the biggest fault with /Mylo Xyloto/: if a band wants to
take the dance-pop route, they need to have a dance-pop chorus.
Two exceptions are /Hurts Like Heaven /and /Princess of China/. In the
former, the band manages to blend its alternative rock roots(what they
are known for) with their new dance-pop ambitions. The result is a
pitch-perfect pop gem, with lightening striking in the form of a guest
vocal provided by, Rihanna. Rihanna lends the band her pop
credentials and charismatic vocals, making the song both believable
Currently, their sound too faithfully reflects the transition period
they are in, and Mylo Xyloto is fraught with growing pains. /Coldplay/
certainly understands the theory behind the dance-pop anthem, but if
they truly want to fit in, if they want to bridge the divide between
old fans and new, they will have to execute it more consistently.