120 of 136 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Mylo Xyloto (Audio CD)
... this album is going to have a lot of teething problems.
Firstly, as has been the way with most of Coldplay's work: The album is very much unlike their previous stuff. Don't get me wrong, the album shares many parallels with all of their previous material. However, it's different enough that fans coming here expecting a remake of [Coldplay Album Name] WILL be disappointed. Admittedly, I too had my reservations when the singles were released. But it just takes a bit of getting used to - the quality is still there, it's just a different flavour.
Secondly, the album lacks a full, out-and-out single. I'm not saying the songs are weak (far from it) - but to me, the album lacks a 'frontman' of a song. There isn't really a single song that you can use to show off to a new listener (In the way that all the previous albums had key, outstanding tracks which helped keep you listening long enough for the quality of the underrated songs to come through) Alas, there is still no contender for the global play-on-loop-50-times hit that is 'Viva la Vida'. It's a shame, because nearly all of the songs are excellent
Thirdly, as has been mentioned by others: The mixing is very heavily done and will punish high and low quality speakers alike. On the first number of listens for many songs, it feels like you're met with a solid wall of noise where the vocals sound almost muffled. As a person who's a sucker for melodies, I was fine with this after a few listens - but those are more about good lyrics might find this very off-putting (at least until they can discern what's actually being said!)
As you may have gathered then: The album needs some getting used to. It's initial feel is very bright, bold and colourful - but can also feel a bit 'brash' and 'in-your-face' at times. The good news is that it rewards patience and the overall quality of the songs are very, very high. (I can't really find any 'weak' songs on this one)
To the track listing:
1. Mylo Xyloto - A 40-second (slightly Christmassy) instrumental lead-up which perfectly introduces...
2. Hurts Like Heaven - A brilliantly Upbeat and toe-tapping intro. A tad cheesy / pop-esque, but a brilliant start to the album
3. Paradise - This is an odd one - on the first few listens, it's wishy-washy and flat. I hated it. But give it time and you're singing along to the highly infectious "Para-Para-Paradise". A very strong track
4. Charlie Brown - This one's my favourite and should particularly appeal to X&Y / Viva Fans. A delightful blend of strength and emotion. Classic Coldplay
5. Us Against the World - A nudge to their older styles. It's gentle, acoustic and very pleasant
6. M.M.I.X. - Another interlude. Not to be underestimated though, it's a perfect lead-up to what is perhaps the best-known song of this album:
7. Every Teardrop... blah blah - Overall a solid and a thoroughly enjoyable track (Still good after 100+ listens) the second half feels a bit messy with a lot of different instruments mixed in though
8. Major Minus - A dark, powerful yet quirky piece. Quite infectious as the "got one eye on the road and one on you" quickly sticks
9. U.F.O. - A bit underwhelming after some of the bigger tracks of the album, but is a lovely little acoustic piece
10. Princess of China - Coldplay and Rihanna!? I had nightmares about this one. But to their credit, they've done this one well. It's sharp, loaded with synth and Rihanna makes a superb contribution (It's ok, it's not like Lost+, you can come out from behind the sofa now)
11. Up In Flames - Personally my favourite ballad of the album. Haunting yet very beautiful
12. A Hopeful Transmission - Another 30 second interlude. Nothing special though
13. Don't Let It Break Your Heart - My least favourite. To this day I still have no idea what Chris is singing. It sounds pleasant and upbeat, but lacks the usual Coldplay edge
14. Up With The Birds - The finale to the album carries hints of 'Amsterdam' and 'Death & All His Friends'. It's nicely done but the crescendo feels more underwhelming than it could have been.
Overall, a brilliant piece of work by Coldplay that keeps their style whilst pushing the boat into new territory - just needs some breaking in
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Showing 1-10 of 12 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 27 Oct 2011 13:13:19 BDT
Mr. L. P. Bremridge says:
Brilliant review. Thankyou!!
Posted on 30 Oct 2011 08:34:12 GMT
T. Swennenhuis says:
First of all, good review.
Just a heads up to people: I have loved all of the previous albums (and b-sides, rarities!) Coldplay did, and I love "wall of sound" songs. But this is no shoegaze. I can't get into this album, it just all sounds way too overproduced. I get that it's a new flavour and I think you've done a good job of explaining it to people, but I do think it's fair to voice the main complaint I've heard people say. Some of the melodies you might expect aren't there, I'm fine with that, but a lot of songs have dropped real instruments for the sake of sounding smooth and "dance-y". There's barely any songs with real drum sounds in there, it's almost all club pounding. To end on a positive note, Charlie Brown and Don't Let It Break Your Heart are my favourites, eventhough the former sounds like a leftover from the VLV sessions.
In short, I think Coldplay nailed the "experimental" sound with Viva La Vida, loads of variety and enough melodies. This album just sounds overproduced, like the lead singles suggest. In the end, of course people are going to have a different take on it, but it's fair to point out the main argument they have against it: the production.
Posted on 30 Oct 2011 17:22:53 GMT
O. R. Stevenson says:
Totally agree with you and Swennenhuis mate. First listen I panned this in my head, thought it was awful and far too dance-y. There's a lot of interesting sounds in here though, Charlie Brown, Us Against The World and Major Minus are definite standouts to me. Unfortunately I think Princess Of China is bloody awful, easily the worst on the album and definitely suffers most from 'overproduction'. I honestly liked Lost+ for what it was, so I'm surprised you used it as comparison, that was a classic Coldplay-style song with some modernity added in. This is overproduced, ear-crowding, Rihanna-filled, bassy tosh, it's not far off stuff you'd hear in a club at all. And not in the even slightly possibly good way.
But yeah, despite that, I like this album :). And Viva La Vida and Parachutes are my joint favourites just so you know where I stand haha.
Posted on 1 Nov 2011 19:47:03 GMT
Last edited by the author on 1 Nov 2011 19:51:57 GMT
I haven't bought the album yet, but the album tracks I've heard LIVE seem catchy enough and stay in your head during the day. I was put off though by the reviews stating the production sound quality is poor on the CD. I thought the last album had a really crisp sound, whereas X&Y sounded awful. Which does Mylo sound like, Viva or X&Y? and WHY do albums vary in their sound quality. The albums I've bought this year have all sounded 'normal', why should this one be any different?
I don't want to spend £8 on an album that has poor sound. I might as well wait until it appears on spotify and hear it for nothing.
In reply to an earlier post on 1 Nov 2011 22:40:04 GMT
Patrick Løye says:
Thanks for the comments everyone, they're really appreciated! Nice to see I'm not the only one's who's shopped around for the B-sides
@CrazyStreak - Not to put you off, but I'd honestly group this album more in X&Y's sound than Viva's. It's not so much a different recording: It's more as T. Sweenehuis put it: The (over) production. The people at the mixing desk had an utter field day and added a ton of effects, reverbs and sounds to the album. In some cases, it works nicely, but other times it feels like there's just too much going on. Find the songs you've heard live on YouTube and see what you think
@T. Sweenehuis - You put what I wanted to say more eloquently than I could. 100% agree with you there. The production makes it hard to latch onto good melodies as they're pretty much swamped by the other sounds (I mean I love the intro to 'Every Teardrop...' but it gets lost in the added sound). And funny you said Charlie Brown sounds like a VLV work... might explain why it's my favourite!
@O. R. Stevenson - Viva La Vida was my top favourite :) I appreciated the concept of Lost+ (and it was excellent live) but I think I was just expecting more than Jay-Z rapping over the solo (Maybe they were playing safe). As for PoC - I agree it's a hard one to get into as the production blasts it quite a bit, but it was the chorus that won me over
Posted on 12 Nov 2011 21:45:27 GMT
Mr. Stuart Walton says:
Great review and I agree it is a real grower
Posted on 20 Nov 2011 22:19:17 GMT
Tanya Singh says:
I love coldplay but I do agree with the majority of the points you made for this, their new album.
Except, how can you dislike Paradise? I think it is an absolutely amazing song!
Keep it up with the good reviews :)
In reply to an earlier post on 20 Nov 2011 23:52:30 GMT
Patrick Løye says:
Thankyou Tanya :)
As for Paradise, I love it too! It was only the first few listens that I was like "whaaaaaaaaaaat!?"
Posted on 29 Apr 2012 16:00:19 BDT
Last edited by the author on 29 Apr 2012 16:01:49 BDT
Mr. D. Chowdhury says:
Totally agree with 'Paradise'. I too thought this underwhelming on first listen, but now...? It's one of my favourites on this album. Infectious, powerful. For me Coldplay peaked with Rush of Blood but this is a fine addition.
Posted on 23 Jan 2013 14:47:35 GMT
Numinous Ugo says:
You should get out more mate!