Rating/Stars: 4 / 5
Released: 24th October 2011
Producers: Markus Dravs, Daniel Green, Rik Simpson, Brian Eno
Genre: Electro-Pop-Rock, Urban-Pop-Rock, Acoustic Rock
The album starts with the playful instrumental, ‘Mylo Xyloto’, which, like most of the album is a heavy mix of bright, acoustic and electronic tones and textures. It segues into ‘Hurts like Heaven’, a fast tempo, electro-acoustic number that is as catchy as they come. The Radiohead inspired guitar lick and keyboard effects that appear toward the latter half of the song are simply gorgeous. The album stays true with, ‘Paradise’, a brilliant mix of piano, percussion and strings, with a chorus ready-made for any stadium-much to the chagrin of many I presume. The lyrics begin to touch more explicitly on the conceptual nature of the album. The album tells a fictional love story between, Mylo and Xyloto in an oppressive, dystopian environment.
With respect to merging electronics with the band’s simple acoustic style, ‘Charlie Brown’ proves that the hurdles the band had in ‘X&Y’ and to a lesser extent, ‘Viva La Vida’ have been overcome. While good, those previous releases suffered from a few lacklustre, over ambitious ideas which meant that certain songs were less catchy and void of the intimacy found in Chris Martin’s songwriting. The intimate, singer-songwriter approach is Chris’ strongpoint and comes through in the stripped down songs as well as on some of the bigger numbers on this album.
The album does not waver but stays strong with great tracks like, ‘Major Minus’, and ‘Princess of China’, a duet with Rihanna that shows how the band has evolved enough to delve into more soulful, Hip Hop, R&B elements. The falsetto gem, ‘Up in Flames’ keeps those elements soundly in check too.
‘Mylo Xyloto’ is the sound of a successful modern crossover act. The band’s foray into more ‘poppy’ territory means that the album suffers from not having any real emotional impact. Like many modern pop album it stays on the surface and does not challenge the listener’s expectations enough. Despite this it remains a good record that has some beautiful moments, which is a rare thing in today’s modern music scene.
1. “Mylo Xyloto” 0:42
2. “Hurts Like Heaven” 4:02
3. “Paradise” 4:38
4. “Charlie Brown” 4:45
5. “Us Against the World” 4:00
6. “M.M.I.X.” 0:48
7. “Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall” 4:01
8. “Major Minus” 3:30
9. “U.F.O.” 2:18
10. “Princess of China” (featuring Rihanna) 3:58
11. “Up in Flames” 3:13
12. “A Hopeful Transmission” 0:33
13. “Don’t Let It Break Your Heart” 3:54
14. “Up with the Birds”