You can’t hate Coldplay. Trying to think of a diss is like trying to get “Clocks” unstuck from your head. You just end up humming “Viva la Vida”. Chris Martin’s guileless voice and their shameless ambition are sticking points for a lot of bedroom critics (and big city gatekeepers), but those are the same qualities that make Coldplay, Coldplay. At this point, like it or lump it.
Their new album, “Mylo Xyloto”, is positioned as a game-changer. Booming bass drops, R&B stylings, glitter-ball synths, and big pop choruses announce their arrival on the dance-floor. A few excellent acoustic numbers balance the record and refresh you for the next anthem.
Notice I never said the word “rock” in all that. Coldplay doesn’t fit in the context of modern rock radio and the indie scene throwbacks. They never did.
Where U2 successfully transcended their post-punk rock roots into global pop fame with Achtung Baby, Coldplay graduated from art school right into the hurly-burly of the Hot 100. So, let’s call it pop and ditch the rock baggage. The intricate and effusive arrangements are pretension-free. They beg you to drop your sneer and dance. The least you can do is apply some glow-paint and shimmy.
Meanwhile, the whole thing sits on a lush bed of Brian Eno’s best electronic stardust. Numerous electronic interludes and ambient synth washes feel right and natural. Somebody’s been listening to M83. Or the the way around. Both groups are riding the wave of weaving electronic textures and instruments into pop arrangements.
Give “Mylo Xyloto” a try. Coldplay reconciles the world-hugging pop ambitions of Viva La Vida with the precise, piano-grounded melodies that made them famous. For me, that’s just what I’ve been waiting for.
Highlights include “Paradise”, pocket symphonies “U.F.O” and “Us Against the World” as well as late-album kicker “Don’t Let It Break Your Heart”.