Coldplay - Mylo Xyloto

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Coldplay - Mylo Xyloto

Post by Mr007 on Sun 30 Oct 2011 - 9:36


The most high profile release of the year is here! Coldplay, the “biggest selling band in the world” have been busy for the last two weeks writing and recording another tempest of throbbing and pulsing noise. No matter how much I could try to ignore it, I’m going to have to listen to all the songs sooner or later.

I have a personal grudge against Coldplay, yet also a kind of admiration. A lot of my family comes from Exeter in Devon, which is the home city of Chris Martin, the watery–eyed vegan frontman of the band. For some reason, everyone in Exeter seems to absolutely love Coldplay. Everyone goes around humming “Yellow”. My cousin always seems to be playing “Shiver” in her car. Why? We here in Manchester wouldn’t be caught dead listening to Oasis. Why?

But at the same time, I admire the fact that a band with such an annoying frontman, useless lead guitarist and inaudible bassist who write such vague and nonsensical odes to whiny, feeble love affairs and inarticulate political malaise have found a way to somehow become the world’s best-selling band. How could they?
For your amusement, I shall write this article in the same style as Mary Portas’ shop reviews.

“Mylo Xyloto”

Good for: Some interesting melodies, very good drumming.

Bad for: Maddeningly annoying vocals comprising of “who–oh-oh-oh” in pretty much every line, emotionally corrosive falsetto, super saturated production, random weird electronic distortions of guitars, incompetent guitar work and hazy background fuzzing.

The Windows: What does this album look like to me? Let’s start with the weird and unpronounceable title “Mylo Xyloto”. What does it mean? Allow Chris Martin to explain: “It doesn’t have any meaning”. Thanks a lot. It sounds like the title for a dubious Japanese fantasy movie with all the sea monsters and dragons and tentacle p0rn and pointless quests with villainous ugly fat men with evil masks.

The album art features chaotic splodges of paint scraped over a graffiti–covered wall. Aw bless them; they’re trying to be cool.

Glancing through the track listing, I noted with some alarm that the song “Princess of China” featured Rihanna. For goodness sake, this is supposed to be a rock band! It was okay when they let Jay-Z rap along to “Lost!” because he is a genuine musician (and a lot better than any of them), but Rihanna is famous only for her sex appeal (not that there’s anything wrong with that…). This confirms, in the words of Neil McCormick, that “Coldplay are a pop group in rock clothing”. It was obviously only a ploy to appeal to as many people as possible. It greatly annoyed me. The song sucked, too. It never really seemed to go anywhere, and Rihanna spent most of the time going “ahhhh, ohhhh, noooo”.

Shopability: What did it sound like? (I’ve got to talk about this somewhere). I should note that this album was produced by Brian Eno, famed for his awful work with U2, his electro-pop / “experimental” solo work that we all were forced to pretend to like, and his militant atheism. His production of the Coldplay sound has buried it deep within layers of saturation, hazy mechanically induced tuning and goodness knows what else. The thing about U2 is that every song sounds pretty much identical. Now Eno has put his oar in, I think it has had the same effect on Coldplay. And the lyrics? “It’s us against the wo-hu-hurld”, he moans somewhere in the chorus of the first song. I’m sorry, Chris, but Coldplay are now deeply rooted in the establishment, and the world loves you and supports your activities. They could have at least had some decent music for the song, but instead we have an organ wobbling away slowly in the background and guitars that sound like pitched farting. Once again, the words to the songs frustrate me. They seem to rhyme purely for the sake of rhyming, and don’t really follow a particular order. And, oh please, his falsetto is back. “Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall” strikes me in particular for its unbearable line: “it was a wah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ter fall” which for some reason makes cool website designs automatically clench my fists. Thom Yorke got a bit annoying at times, but Martin makes him sound like James Earl. I shall also rudely observe that Johnny Buckland is a really bad guitarist. The awful mistake in “Viva la Vida” was letting him play a five note guitar solo to “Violet Hill” that went on for ages. In “Mylo Xyloto”, he’s even less impressive. After a while, it gets really boring and I think that about half of the blame rests with Johnny Buckland. And Guy Berryman? Well, he is Scottish, and furthermore he grew up near Kirkcaldy, which is Gordon Brown’s constituency. And I have to strain my ears to find any worthwhile addition he makes support live any Coldplay song. He’s not bad, as such, just a background figure who doesn’t make much of a contribution. He ardently refuses to build a harmony around the music, like a good bassist should, but just churns out the notes that everyone else is playing. And yet he has a personal fortune of about £25,000,000. You could almost buy a house in France for that amount.

Was I being served? Did the album provide me with something I could relate to? In spite of everything I’ve said, Will Champion is a superb drummer. He really knows how to keep a song moving. The best part of “Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall” is easily the drum solo at the end. It is quite refreshing in its own way. He really made me sit up in 2007 with “Viva la Vida” which was described by Chris Martin as a “bell odyssey”. If you’re into drums, I would really recommend this album.

I really like Will Champion. He is the only really talented member of the band, he looks like a New Zealand full–back, and has some terrifying facial hair and expressions, but he is actually a very sensitive man who wrote and performed the adorable little piano song “Postcards From Far Away”, and his dad is some highly respected professor somewhere. He probably deserves a better band.

Verdict: Well, Apart from the top notch drumming, the album doesn’t really do the trick. It is clearly a great improvement from the awful “X & Y”, but a step backwards from the not-bad-at-all “Viva la Vida”, and relies too much on the Brian Eno induced foggy haze of electronic sound that tidies over their inadequacies. Can’t make a chord sound interesting? Why not use a computer to make it throb for a bit and then it might sound cool? If you've got more money than sense, go out and buy it.


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Registration date : 2011-02-19

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