Friday, October 21, 2011

Mylo Xyloto

It's no Rush of Blood to the Head if that's what you're hoping against hope.
What it is, is a departure of musical styles, inspiration, genre and album art from when they exploded onto the music scene in 2000 with Parachutes.

Their previous album Viva la Vida was named after a painting celebrating the July Revolution. The title was poetic and resonated strongly with the overall theme. But Mylo Xyloto is indeed a strange name for a pet gerbil let alone your magnum opus. Chris Martin wants it pronounced /ˈmaɪloʊ ˈzaɪlətoʊ/ and when Stephen Colbert quizzed him on its origin on his October 20,2011 edition of The Colbert Report, a clearly amused Martin pointed heavenwards and said it to be derived from the randomness of the Universe.

Without batting an eyelid, Colbert remarked: "Chris, are you high?"
To which Martin responded cheekily, "I'm 17% high." 

This is a concept album, meaning that all the songs and the artwork is inspired by a central theme: in this case it's the White Rose intelligentsia movement against Nazism in Munich. But come on, at the end of the day, you need a eye-catching album art for the sleeve. What we get is a motley of loud, abrasive colors and graffiti with the album's name written on top in a large, intimidating capitol font. 

This album sees Coldplay moving into a completely new genre: electro-pop. The lyrics are quite generic and seek to infuse a playful positivism with each listen. The trademark "Whoa-oh!"'s get thrown in and the songs look like they're handcrafted for maximum anthem potential in a crowded stadium or arena where the crowd can clap and "Whoa-oh!" with the band at live concerts. Paradise seems like a good example of this. 
"Para-para-paradise. Oh-oh-oh-a-oh-oh!!!!" 

Every Teardrop is a Waterfall is equally peppy and Martin stretches out the words for full sing a long effect. Princess of China features a roped in cameo from Rihanna and while usually Rihanna's sultry and suggestive voice adds a touch of Radio Hit magic, their voices on the same track didn't quite jive. Add to the fact, that centrist fans are already irked by the departure in musical style must be bemused over roping in a mainstream pop diva. But Coldplay didn't sell out; they simply wanted a female singer to sing the parts of the female "character" in the song's story. Remember when I said that the album is a concept work? The story is a "Romeo-and-Juliet"-esque tale of two lovers who throw caution and societal reproaches to the wind and dare to find each other against the odds. Awwwww.....

But there are some excellent songs that exhibit Martin's beautiful voice, namely Up in Flames and Up with the Birds. I only hoped that their album would have more songs like these than pop-heavy ones.

Final thoughts: Coldplay as a band have evolved from their beginnings in 2000 and in 10 years they have bravely and successfully explored different areas of instrumentation and style. While this has kept some fans happy and attracted new followers for their courage to explore new horizons, it has disillusioned other fans who feel that the band has moved too far away from its roots; that which inspired the classics Yellow, Clocks and The Scientist. Or perhaps Coldplay has the confidence to experiment because of its unwavering fan-base.
Reflecting on the lyrics of Major Minus-
"It's just us against the world 
 And we just gotta turn up to be heard"

1 comment:

swathy sethumadhavan said...

I was waiting for someone else to notice how synth pop coldplay has become.

Great review!