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Coldplay: Mylo Xyloto
Since their hit song ‘Fix You’, Coldplay has been climbing up the charts with inspiring music that makes its listener just want to go out and do something, or curl up under a blanket and watch the rain.
Following their 2008 best-selling album Viva La Vida, the British band had to do something that exceeded all expectations. Indeed, the two singles released prior to their new album Mylo Xyloto were promising. ‘Every Teardrop is a Waterfall’ was exactly what Coldplay fans expected and yearned for; clever lyrics that held great motivating messages backed by top-notch instruments and presented in a creative video.
However, one can’t confidently say that this applied to the rest of the album. In a theme of a love story between Mylo and Xyloto told through the songs, ‘Hurts like Heaven’ starts with the most upbeat tempo on the album, after the brief musical introduction of ‘Mylo Xyloto’. Then it steps back to the band’s familiar form of violin intros and Chris Martin’s high-pitched ‘oh’s in the background with ‘Paradise’, a song that leans a bit towards pop tunes.
But nothing says pop in Mylo Xyloto as much as the collaboration with Rihanna on ‘Princess of China’. The song doesn’t really take a certain shape; it’s more of a mix between Rihanna’s na-na-nas and Coldplay’s rock music, yet it was more pop than should be expected and the two styles don’t exactly fit.
On the other hand, a couple of tracks succeeded in keeping the original Coldplay feel to them. One of those is ‘U F O’ featuring Chris Martin’s subtle vocals on a background of guitar and violins. ‘Charlie Brown’ is another anthem-like melody that crescendos halfway through the track, shifting the mood completely.
Mylo Xyloto fairly succeeds in meeting fans’ high expectations. Many of the album’s songs are reminiscent of Coldplay’s earliest hits. They’ve obviously raised the bar with every album so far, and they could have named their album A New Coldplay Album and it would still be successful, but switching to pop probably won’t please a lot of fans.
Album opener ‘San Angeles’ will get feet moving and booties shaking, but the rest of the album is decidedly more post-rock oriented. The influences of Pink Floyd only really make a grand appearance on psychedelic tune ‘Lunar Drift’, with its spooky synths and echoing bass line.
‘The Eliminator’ takes the listener back to the eighties again, as the repetitive electronic beat that is used sounds a lot like the 8-bit sounds that were the backdrop for many early eighties video games. Imagine the aforementioned desert wasteland turning 8-bit coloured.
The eighties also dominate in the strummed intro to ‘Martin Rev’, evoking memories of Survivor’s ‘Eye of the Tiger’. You’d almost think the guys of Maserati had wished they were making music a few decades ago.
Perennial chart-toppers and masterminds behind hit singles like Moves like Jagger, Payphone and One More Night, Maroon 5, are back after a two year hiatus – and expectations are high.
Maps, which was released earlier this years as a single, opens the bands fifth studio album, V, with an upbeat vibe and Levine’s and quite clearly auto-tuned, yet amiable all the same, vocals. The song, just like most of the other songs on the album, is, in classic Maroon 5 fashion; it’s extremely catchy and will almost inevitabely turn into a long-ter, guilty pleasure.
The following track, 'Animals', is somewhat inconspicuous but for Levine’s peculiur howling – literally like an animal – towards the end. Things taka a romantic turn with 'It Was Always You', though the mixture of fast and slow beats and the fact that it largely manages to stay away from clichéd sentiments and cheesy lyrics make it one of the album’s standout tracks.
V then momentarily calms down with the soulful 'Unkiss Me' and then speeds up again with 70’s-inpired chorus of 'Sugar'. Hands-in-the-air, festival-appropriate ballad, 'Leaving California', follows and puts Levine’s high-pitched vocals on full display.
It wouldn’t be a Maroon 5 album without a song about a cheating significant other and 'In Your Pocket' satisfies what has almost become the band’s trademark subject of choice.
From there on, the album takes a turn for the worse, down the boring bubble-gum-pop lane. With themes like demanding a lover’s forgiveness if he ever does her wrong, crooning about getting back to a lover soon and urging a girl to leave other guys and find her way to him in 'Feelings'.
The album, thankfully, ends on a more musically mature note with a touching duet with Gwen Stefani. Piano notes dominate the beat of ‘My Heart is Open’ as Levine and Stefani’s vocals complement each other perfectly.
Ultimately, V is quite indistinguishable from the band’s fourth release, Overexposed. It’s an album that pushes the band further away from the intangible essence that won them so many fans back in 2002 with the release of debut album, Songs About Jane, towards the oblivion of the teen-spirited music they have produce as of late.