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Monday, December 5, 2011

"Mylo Xyloto", Coldplay sells out

Mylo Xyloto- Coldplay

Disappointing is a very weak word to define my feelings after having listened the latest album from Chris Martin and his fellows. To me, despite all their over-exposition and a growing tendency to deserve some of the hate they receive, "Parachutes", the excellent "A Rush of Blood to the Head" and the majority of "X&Y" and "Viva la Vida" proved, that behind all the controversial paraphernalia there was a very solid good band with some brilliant music. That is, until "Mylo Xyloto".

From the album opener, "Hurts Like Heaven", an ok song thanks to its engaging rhythm, you can feel there's something here that's not quite right. Indeed, you are hearing the announcement of what's coming next. Even in this tune, along with "Charlie Brown" and "Major Minus", to me the best and probably only remarkable songs of "Mylo Xyloto" the failures of the record are evident. I point out three.

First, the lack of finished songs. Some of them work fine just in parts, others have exciting guitar sections, like the end of "Major Minus" or the riff that presides "Every Teardrop is Waterfall" and there are occasional brave movements too, but they are simply not coming together within the songs. Seems the tunes have been mounted as puzzle, where pieces "have" to be put right after the other just for the sake of finishing the tune. Even worse, some interesting and likeable moments are merged with embarrassing sections. I'm thinking on the in-famous europop rip-off  in "Teardrop", or the regrettable "All the boys/All the girls" part in "Charlie Brown", to name just two.

Another example are the ballads. "Us Against the World" and "U.F.O.", are damn predictable, effortless and lame. In a word, fillers. "Up in Flames" tries to shake things a bit with its gospel mood, that recalls "Parachutes" or the more intimate moments of "X&Y", but it doesn't really move from comfort zone. And finally, "Up with the Birds" starts as weak as the initial two slow numbers, but it is mercifully rescued by some actual emotion and the speeding up of the tempo, and before Martin's appears to ruin it again, the music fades out, so here you have the fourth decent song of the lot. And that's all "Mylo Xyloto" has to offer.

Second, and to me, particularly HUGE: the lyrics are pathetic, just trite. And if that's not enough, Martin's lack of songwriting abilities makes him abuse of the "Oh-oh-ohss". Literally, they are annoyingly present in every song of the album, making clear its a resource/trick to fill the gaps on the lyrics. The only exceptions are of course, the three little music passages/trifles that I guess justifies Eno's work and credit.

And third, being "Mylo Xyloto" a mixed bag of ideas that doesn't fit together, there's the feeling everything has been pumped by a luxurious production  to secure/continue Coldplay's reign on the charts. "Paradise", aside from a beautiful guitar line towards the end, is an awful song with horrible lyrics, easily among the worst of the record. So its selection as single only serves as an adjustment to radio-formula. Immediate remixes and the advertisement use of the tune only proves that fact. The other fine example is, of course next single's "Princess of China", the publicised collaboration with Rihanna. I wouldn't waste my time on discussing what are the reasons behind such collaboration (the lines between alternative and mainstream are of course thin, and the ubiquitous Barbados' singer has a pretty voice) or about how bad the tune is. But I have, because what puzzles me is that Coldplay didn't invite Rihanna to sing on one of the band's tunes. Instead, they created a Rihanna-alike song to include it on their record. In my opinion, that has a name. That's selling out to the market. They are of course free to decide to do that, but if that's the path the want to follow, to me that means farewell Coldplay.

SCORE: 3/10

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