Coldplay: Mylo Xyloto

Mylo Xyloto.

Coldplay’s fifth studio album (or sixth, if you count Prospekt’s March as an album, which I do) came out two weeks ago, but due to Amazon being a bunch of raving maroons, I didn’t have it until about five days ago, making Mylo Xyloto the first Coldplay album since Parachutes that I didn’t have on day one.

Over the summer, Coldplay released the first single from MX — “Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall.”  I was indifferent to the song, frankly.  I liked the B-sides that came with it more; “Major Minus” was more like what I wanted, and “Moving to Mars” was sublimely lovely.  I might even go so far as to say that “Moving to Mars” is one of the ten best things the band’s recorded.

Ironically, “Moving to Mars” made me feel far better about Mylo Xyloto than “Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall” did; if the band felt like they could leave a track like “Moving to Mars” off the album, then Mylo Xyloto must be something special indeed.

Then Coldplay had to take away any goodwill I was beginning to feel by releasing the video for “Paradise.”  Something about the video was just… off-putting.

I suppose I should state for the record that I generally don’t “get” videos.  I’m used to experiencing music as music.  Adding a visual component as a framework for understanding music or imparting the meaning of music doesn’t make sense to me.

Suffice it to say, I had a low opinion of “Paradise” because of the video.  Thus, when the album finally arrived, it was with some trepidation that I put Mylo Xyloto in the CD player, and I listened to it without much enthusiasm.

And I didn’t like it.

I didn’t get it.

I understand, from reading about the album, that it’s some sort of dystopian rock opera, about two lovers — Mylo and Xyloto — living in an oppressive totalitarian future.

Okay, sure. :)

I gave the album a few more plays, and with each successive play, I liked it a little bit more.  This isn’t unusual; I didn’t like Elbow’s The Seldom Seen Kid the first three or four times that I listened to it; it took hearing “The Loneliness of a Tower Crane Driver” just so to unlock the album for me.

Now I love Mylo Xyloto.  The album’s a grower.  I love the sound of the album.  “Paradise” now makes me happy when I hear it, “Charlie Brown” (which has nothing at all to do with Charles Schulz, as far as I can tell) is amazing, and then that leads into the gentle and lovely ballad “Us Against the World.”  Even “Every Teardrop is a Waterfall,” which I was indifferent to, resonates with me.  The second half of the album doesn’t stand out to me in quite the same way, it’s not quite as memorable, though “U.F.O.” is a moving love song and the track that features Rihanna, “Princess of China,” is solidly enjoyable.  And the final track, “Up With the Birds,” is strangely haunting.

Mylo Xyloto marks a return to the form of X&Y after the art-house pretentions of Viva La Vida.  It may not reach the heights of A Rush of Blood to the Head and I may rank it fifth out of Coldplay’s six albums (counting Prospekt’s), but it’s still a very good album and a damn fine piece of work.

I quite like Mylo Xyloto, even if its rock opera-esque storyline has totally passed me by. :h2g2: