Is it me, or is it one week you hear a song all over the radio from a previously unknown band and then, just as you’re beginning to not say, “Who’s that?” every time someone mentions the group’s name, you never hear a track from them again? In a culture where musical artists come and go all the time only to fall off Billboard’s Hot 100 just as quickly as they appeared, it is a testament to a group’s creativity when they consistently create hit after hit for years. Yes, in today’s scene such talents may seem few and far between, but one band that has heated up the global music stage for nearly two decades is none other than British rock foursome Coldplay.
Lead vocalist Chris Martin’s unmistakable falsetto has defined the group’s modern rock vibe for 18 years and five studio albums, with number 6 due out this May . First achieving worldwide fame with the release of their 2000 debut album “Parachutes” and subsequent releases of “A Rush of Blood to the Head” in 2002 and the 2005 world-wide best selling album, “X&Y“, the four mates’ have continue to soar as one of the most popular bands around. The 2008 release of “Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends” earned them the Grammy Award for Best Rock Album of the Year (just one of seven that they’ve won) and the band’s most recent album released in 2011, “Mylo Xyloto“, rings true to the group’s defining sound with a modern twist.
Despite winning 7 Grammys, 8 Brit awards and a host of other international awards, this group doesn’t dare coast along, riding on the coattails of past albums’ successes. They continue to improve and this latest album shows musical ambition and innovation. Compared to Coldplay’s earlier albums, “Mylo Xyloto” is the group’s most diverse album yet. The album takes Martin’s one-of-a-kind voice, lead guitarist Jonny Buckland’s enviable guitar riffs, Guy Berryman’s solid bass playing and drummer Will Champion’s multi-instrument repertoire, and makes every gesture even richer. The result of this textured musical endeavor is a Coldplay listening experience like no other, yet one that longtime groupies and newer listeners alike can’t help but enjoy.
Mylo Xyloto Concert at the Hollywood Bowl in May 2012
Considered a concept album, the included songs follow the narrative of the protagonists, Mylo and Xyloto, who live in an oppressive and dystopia society, but after meeting through a gang, they fall in love. If anyone is concerned about the fate of these star-crossed lovers whose story was inspired by the anti-Nazi White Rose Movement and old school American Graffiti, have no fear. Frontman Chris Martin tell us that the album is based “on a love story with a happy ending.” Thank goodness! #truelove
“Mylo Xyloto” features an explosion of colorful and upbeat tracks, with the thoughtful inclusion of expertly placed acoustic-driven songs such as “U.F.O.” that hearken back to unforgettable Coldplay ballads like “Fix You“. New and old listeners alike will enjoy the soaring choruses and stronger electronic sound, especially found in the track, “Paradise”.
“Paradise” is surely cornerstone track on the album. The song is delightfully catchy and exemplifies all the “Mylo Xyloto” strives to be. It features organs, strings and an echoing chorus that all but requires you to sing along. The defining rock vibes, like the sounds booming guitar and drums, found in Coldplay’s earlier works are appreciably present and are paired with modern techno compositions from producer Brian Eno.
Two other features that up the album’s ante: playfully energetic tracks, such as “Hurts Like Heaven,” and a collaboration with one of today’s pop queens, Rihanna, in the song “Princess of China“.
The lively elements that shine across the entire album help Coldplay maintain its title as one of the most popular rock bands around. The electrified choruses, upbeat tempos and A-list collaborations that line this album prove to listeners that these four Brits are creative as ever and their work only continues to improve. If the innovation heard on “Mylo Xyloto” is any indication of what Chris, Jonny, Guy and Will have in store for the release of their sixth studio album, “Ghost Stories“, listeners will be in for a treat.