I never went to college. I never drank an appletini and I have no idea what happens on Grey’s Anatomy. Those could be the reasons I just don’t understand the hyperbole around Coldplay. They’re agreeable and inoffensive, kind of like music you’d pump into a hip dentist office. I fully understand that job of most music critics is to find new and interesting ways to dissect the most purchased yet unoriginal band in recent memory. I wish I could say that Coldplay’s latest studio release Mylo Xyloto will change those reactions but, well, it’s not going to. Once again singer Chris Martin and the rest of the band offer up lots of production and little in the way of variation from what they’ve done before.
The popular argument would be that Coldplay do one thing and they do it well, so why fix what ain’t broke. Okay, fair enough, but why buy five CDs of the same thing? Coldplay attempt to shake things up with the album’s opener “Hurts Like Heaven” an infectious pop ditty that sets up the vibe of the entire record. Mylo Xyloto is light, easily digestible, and really boring. I felt bad at first for having such a visceral dislike of the album; it felt like I was kicking the Easter bunny. Still, I’ve heard the ramblings of too many Media Yuppies using the words “brilliant” and “amazing” when describing Coldplay to allow this musical Matzah to go unpunished. Seriously, Chris Martin rhymes rain with pain (Up With Birds) and I’m supposed to bask in their incredible rock glory?
Mylo Xyloto attempts to be a look at the trials and tribulations of love, the ups and downs of relationships in the modern world. “Paradise” explodes into itself with epic keyboards that sound like the theme music for a tour through Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Shop. Martin jumps in and starts singing about a girl who thought the she had the world but it wasn’t within her reach so she “ran away in her sleep”. The greeting card platitudes continue into “Charlie Brown”, another epic keyboard production that brings in an acoustic guitar to really shake things up. Martin bellows about somebody who is a “scarecrow of dreams” and then tries to connect it to a “rose in the concrete”.
Lyrically and musically Mylo Xyloto are very similar. Both are the Emperor’s New Clothes, lots of sweeping gestures, lots of huge production but nothing at really happening. The music is an amalgam of acoustic guitars, electronic beats, keyboards and pianos. With so much going on it’s incredible how little the songs differ from one another. Chris Martin’s lyrics are a mess of pleasant words that don’t mean anything outside of the sparkle. On “Every Tear Drop Is A Waterfall” we get gems like “I’d rather be a comma than a full stop” or “Baby I’m on my knees. Baby I’m in the gap between the two trapeze”. At first these lines might seem deep but really, they’re just pretty ideas strung together with a lack of any depth.
Not everything here is a complete waste. “Princess Of China” takes an over biased speaker approach to the keyboards and lets Chris Martin float in a British ethereal idea of traditional Chinese music. “Up In Flames” is a slower jam for Coldplay, one that takes some cues from jazz. Granted it’s Kenny G style Jazz but hey, you take what you can get. Overall Mylo Xyloto is another uneventful entry in the catalog of an uneventful band. There are those who will love it, who will sit around their relaxed cool apartments after watching Top Chef and discuss how deep and wonderful the album is. The rest of us will scratch our heads and once again try to work out the Rubik’s Cube of Coldplay adulation.
CRAVEONLINE RATING 3/10