By Michael Traversa
Coldplay have done it again. After the massive success achieved with Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends, the album that catapulted them into the greatest bands realm it wasn’t easy to keep the momentum. Mission accomplished thanks to the band’s credo of always setting new goals, believing in a full concept record instead of scattered singles (which seems to be the way of choice in the iTunes era) and testing the new material in a neverending tour, an extension of the latest one.
Our review comes after the album has been in rotation for a few months as we believe in giving the music several listening before forming an opinion. Call it slow music (a la slow food) if you wish. We like Coldplay also because they firmly believe the order of the tracklist matters. The position of a song within the album can completely change what you’re trying to say and the way you want to say it. It changes the mood, the flow and ultimately can differentiate a good work from a great work.
Starting with the short intro of Mylo Xyloto, which gives the title to the record, the boys get right into it with the energetic Hurts like heaven. The choice of constantly switching the beat from mid tempo to ballads and fast ones turns the experience into a flawless listening. The current single, the dreamy Paradise is already a staple in Coldplay’s body of work and on the album is followed by the ready for arena anthem Charlie Brown.
By the time the thumping beat of Every teardrop is a waterfall, courtesy of unsung hero Will Champion, hits the ears we are captivated.
The work reaches its peak in the collaboration with Rihanna (everything she touches these days is gold) which could have easily missed the mark. Instead Princess of China perfectly marries the voice of Chris Martin and one of the barbadian artist for what could be interpreted as a follow up to monster hit Viva la Vida (“I could have been a princess, you’d be a king. Could have had a castle and worn a ring”) while being an exotic metaphor of a relationship gone wrong. Cue the delicate Up in flames and you got a perfect bridge between past and future of the band.
Coldplay matured a great ability to tell stories (here the concept tale of two rebellious kids in a futuristic environment), ability to give characters life and to permeate the lyrics with instant quotes, “I struggle with the feeling that my life isn’t mine”, “Life goes on, it gets so heavy”, “I’d rather be a comma than a full stop”, and with words that chase each other into the songs. The presence of genial producer Brian Eno behind the scenes can only enhance the band’s sound and bring them to their full potential.