Spun: Coldplay

By Eric Mathison

It has now been over a decade since Coldplay released their first album, Parachutes. For their fifth album, the band builds on the Brian Eno-infused sounds of Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends (2008).

With Mylo Xyloto, we are treated to the standard Coldplay themes — Chris Martin’s soaring melodies and falsetto, along with optimistic lyrics — but this album jumps around too much to act as a single unit. The songs move from European nightclub hits to soft acoustic ballads. The highs are a bit too high and the lows a bit too low. After listening to the album a number of times, I’m still unconvinced that there was much effort put into the track order — unlike Viva la Vida, it fails to take the listener on a journey.

That doesn’t mean that Coldplay haven’t put together some great songs. “Charlie Brown” wins points for being in an unconventional time signature. “Us Against the World” shows Martin’s voice at his best: exploring his whole range by hitting low notes, then rising to a powerful crescendo. Eno’s recognizable sound is present throughout but thankfully not overbearing.

Mylo Xyloto is still worth a listen despite its flaws, but it’s far from Coldplay’s finest work.

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