Mylo Xyloto: Colyplay's Latest Offering
I’ve never really liked Coldplay all that much. But when I first listened to Mylo Xyloto, Coldplay’s latest album, I was pleasantly surprised—Coldplay, it seems, has finally stepped out from U2’s shadow. The music has fun guitar melodies, percussion which always carries the intensity of the song, and a talented bassist who follows and completes the mood of every piece. Lead singer Chris Martin can be heard directing this entire venture with his unique voice of boyish charm.
The album is technically excellent, with the effects on the vocals—from the subtle to the obvious—tasteful and strong without being electronically overdone. Mylo Xyloto feels like a further explanation of what made Coldplay popular, while still extending to the band the freedom to try new things. From the intense Arcade Fire feeling of “Hurts Like Heaven” to the heaving dubstep of “Paradise,” to the ambient soundscape unleashed by “Charlie Brown,” Mylo Xyloto has taken from the surrounding world of music and incorporated these sounds into the feel-good, happy-go-lucky pop vibes that constitutes Coldplay’s unique tone.
Which leads us to the album’s producer, Brian Eno. Through the process of “Enossification,” a term coined to describe Brian Eno’s leadership as a mentor and collaborator with the other members of the band, Eno has managed to unleash Coldplay all over again. Failing to give him credit for his brilliant guiding hand in each one of the songs, whether slight or thorough, would be a serious misrepresentation of the album’s successes.
In a Pitchfork interview, Chris Martin explains Brian Eno’s influence: “He worked with everyone in the band one-on-one,” a process which certainly goes beyond what producers typically do. Eno’s influence and individual work with his bandmates has certainly helped Coldplay mature musically in this album and diverge from the path of more mainstream popular music.
Mylo is the direct product of that growth; this is the album about doing everything that they wanted to do. This album was about exploring themselves as artists, as musicians, as listeners, and as creators.
I think the graffiti album cover, one vastly different than all of their previous covers, is also part of the theme of trying out new things, and of the band’s self-awareness of their new direction. And the album title, Mylo Xyloto, means absolutely nothing. The band has admitted this themselves in multiple interviews—it has no real significance to any of the members outside of its being a cool sounding name they’ve wanted to use for a while.
The album itself was quite enjoyable, but sometimes it felt like they were so busy trying to incorporate new styles that the music itself suffered. Every track is laid out beautifully, but there is a tension between the vibes of individual songs which doesn’t present itself in earlier albums. I’ll chalk it up to this being an album of exploration, and look forward to their next album to see what all of this development has truly amounted to.