18 May 2014

MUSIC: Mylo Xyloto

I know that many people cannot stand Coldplay. I don't wholly understand it, but I know it. These four blokes, however, are my one true musical passion. Sure, I like other artists and songs, but I don't think many can touch this British four-piece. On Monday 19 May, their sixth studio album, Ghost Stories is released to the world. I hope you don't mind me indulging a passion of mine (it is my site, after all!) as I look back at their first five albums in the build-up to this release, giving a (very!) brief overview of each track. And if you do, you can either express your displeasure in the comments (seriously, there's only ever been one - and that was me!) or alternatively you probably won't be reading anyway.

Moving on...

1. Mylo Xyloto [5/10]
It's a bit hard to review instrumental pieces this short that don't work that well when played in isolation. There's some nice percussion and xylophone on this, but it's nothing staggering.

2. Hurts Like Heaven [10/10]
This is simply phenomenal. I finally understood what people meant by 'soaring guitars' on this, a fast-paced slammer of a track. Even the lyrics are half-decent, and I firmly believe this is one of their best ever songs.

3. Paradise [3.5/10]
Honestly, this is garbage. I liked it on first listen, but grew decreasingly fond on subsequent airings. The only decent bit is the bass line. Sorry Guy, I know this was your baby, but it's terrible. The video's brilliant though.

4. Charlie Brown [7.5/10]
An enjoyable track that feels like it's trying to emulate Hurts Like Heaven, but with (even) more lead guitar. The lack of chorus damages it, and some of the lyrics are a bit questionable. Pleasant enough.

5. Us Against the World [9.5/10]
Coldplay songwriting at its best. The union of Champion and Martin's voices is achingly perfect and it speaks volumes to me. This is the track that made people call for an acoustic album, and it's not hard to see why. The live version is even more hair-raisingly spectacular.

6. MMIX [5/10]
Again, this is neither good or bad as not a lot happens. It's not especially boring, but builds up to the next track well. I love the title too, I would've much preferred it as the album title.

7. Every Teardrop is a Waterfall [8.5/10]
An upbeat romp of a tune, this was an instant hit with me, particularly the end section where everyone goes wild. The video's spectacularly good, moreso than that of Paradise in my opinion, and it perfectly reflects the mood of this era.

8. Major Minus [5.5/10]
This has a bit too much of the GPASUYF vibe about it for me. It scores marks for strong lyrics and the beautiful guitar Chris plays on this (I mean how it looks). Skippable.

 9. UFO [8/10]
An obvious sequel to Parachutes, this doesn't fare as well, but is still a good track. It completes the overall mood of the album, and earns its place much more than some others.

10. Princess of China [8/10]
I don't understand the hate for this. Rihanna works well in the song, and it's not just a gimmick having her on as collaborations usually are these days. I like the thumping, militaristic nature of the song and the hook is addictive.

11. Up in Flames [6.5/10]
The last track written for MX, you can tell without knowing from the lyrics and simple structure. While it wouldn't fit on Ghost Stories, it would be more at home there than amongst the optimistic barnstormers.

12. A Hopeful Transmission [6/10]
Once more, average. It builds up nicely and earns a point for its brilliant title.

13. Don't Let it Break Your Heart [9/10]
ETIAW's sister track is an instant success and it stirs joy in me from the outset. I love the words Martin serenades us with, and this feels like the lead single of an album that never was.

14. Up with the Birds [9/10]
Although this is very powerful as it is, it does feel a tad confused. With similar references and analogies used in Fly On, it seems the later track is more akin to what they were trying to achieve here. The second half is undoubtedly superior, and sings of hope and enduring love to me - or the longing for it anyway.


Top Three Tracks:
Hurts Like Heaven, Us Against the World, Don't Let it Break Your Heart

Paradise, Major Minus

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