Coldplay’s comeback to the music scene is their umpteenth challenge to reinvent themselves after the worldwide success of Viva la Vida Or Death And All Of His Friends in 2008.
The album opens with the short M.X. As it happens in a spectacular haute-cuisine restaurant, Coldplay wants to make sure that every single listener begins the journey from the same point: 43 seconds of mood-setting magic.
Hurts Like Heaven is the kick-start of the album, an up-tempo song reminiscent of Arcade Fire’s Keep The Car Running and Bruce Springsteen’s Dancing In The Dark. Although the structure of the song is not distant from their previous works, the production is the farthest that Coldplay has ever been: a waterfall of synthesised sounds and the voice predominantly on vocoder.
The passage to Paradise is marked by abrupt, opulent strings which open the most ambitious track of the whole record. Written to climb worldwide charts, the English rockers confirmed themselves to be capable of creating something great as well as accessible.
However, it is track number four Charlie Brown which is the highlight of the album: introduced by some childish, electronic sounds (it might remind you of the adults’ voices in Snoopy), it showcases a massive, unforgettable solo, a set of intriguing lyrics – “I took the car downtown where the lost boys meet // I took the car downtown and took what they offered me // We’ll run wild, we’ll be glowing in the dark” – and a mellow outro on the piano.
Next on the record is Us Against the World, a ballad laying on an epic organ and acoustic guitars: a Fix You without its rock momentum.
The album takes a breath with M.M.I.X., a quick instrumental to release the tension.
Every Teardrop is a Waterfall is the perfect good-feel moment, the anthem of this new Coldplay-era; pop lyrics and catchy melodies perfectly fit within this concept album.
Conversely Major Minus is the roughest and rockest moment, loud guitars and vocals materialise into this dry piece.
From here on there is always an alternation between up-tempo and slow tracks:UFO is a very simple acoustic song, all guitar and voice, that gets more sophisticated in the chorus. A bass-like string synth help guarantee cohesion in the track list.
It follows Princess of China, the most rumoured track of the album: one long verse, one chorus, an extensive instrumental and a prolonged final. A very unusual structure for the first Coldplay song featuring a lead vocal not belonging to the band: young R&B icon Rihanna.
Up In Flames demonstrates how the group is capable of making a plain song sound monumental. Clearly inspired by Neil Young’s falsetto of Philadelphia, it is disarmingly touching.
A Hopeful Transmission is the last break before the final rush: Don’t Let It Break Your Heart, a vibrant hymn to joy with a subtle flavour of melancholy.
Up With The Birds commences as a sad goodbye to this kaleidoscopic journey through the world of Mylo Xyloto. However, there is a turning point right in the middle of the song: Up With The Birds actually becomes a happy farewell.
This album is Coldplay’s most pop and widest work to date, it is a 44-minute adventure in the world of music: immersed in a waterfall of sounds and emotions, you just need to close your eyes and let yourself go.
Watch the video of Mylo Xyloto’s lead single Paradise