For the past several weeks, I have tried to get myself to the point where I could tell all of you that the new album by Coldplay, Mylo Xyloto, is a must for your Christmas stocking this year. Sadly, I have to report that I am not at that point and likely never will be. The London Lads’ 5th release is mediocre at best.
Certainly, Mylo Xyloto has some Parachutes-like moments but they don’t arrive until the middle of the album. “Us Against The World” is the first such example, a nice track to be sure, that has Chris Martin’s voice looming large in the mix with that familiar, dreamy echo. But then it’s right back to the keyboard driven pomp pop that one would expect from the likes of the latest American Idol contestant (“Every Teardrop is a Waterfall,” the first single). Indeed, this is what we sit through on the first four tracks of the disc. Perhaps it’s because I yearn for a return to the simpler time of Parachutes, their first full length release, and the mood that went along with it that was captured so beautifully over a decade ago. In many ways, that album ushered in the Era Of Dream Pop, unleashing such wonderful bands as Keane, Snow Patrol, Star Sailor, and the Delays into the world.
Thankfully, the track after Teardrop is the one that saves the album from being a real stinker. “Major Minus” is vintage Coldplay and one of their best tracks of all time. Martin’s “Ooo-ooo” ing along with a catchy acoustic guitar, terribly sick drum beat, and Edge-like electric guitar from Jonny Buckland make this song simply amazing.
“U.F.O.” also finds some Parachutes magic as does “Up In Flames” but this is largely due to Martin’s voice which most definitely does not disappoint. Of course, this has always been the case on all their records. He derides himself constantly, saying that he is a “4th rate Bono.” Nothing could be further from the truth. His singing brings a layer of emotion that speaks directly to points in the human condition (especially love) that Bono has never seemed to capture in his career.
The album’s closer, “Up With The Birds,” has the line, “It’s so hard to just walk away” which I found to be terribly appropriate. Coldplay are one of my favorite groups and it’s like pulling teeth to write this post but my inner Cusack in High Fidelity simply has to be honest. Download “Major Minus” for sure…”Us Against The World”, “U.F.O.” and “Up In Flames” if you must fill it out a little to get more of a taste but really that’s it.
Here’s the track, “Major Minus.”