Coldplay is probably the best act to do a “First Impressions” review on. Seems like every album of theirs I’ve had lukewarm reactions to at first, than months later end up loving. Their most recently released 5th album “Mylo Xyloto” (released officially tomorrow October 25th, but I got my pre-order copy a little earlier), is both familiar territory for the Brit-Rockers but also offers something a little new. Exactly what is new is hard to put my finger on after just two listens, but I’ll try to figure it out somewhere before this review is over.
With each album Coldplay definitely gives a new sound, while “A Rush of Blood to the Head” was a lot more hard-edged than their debut “Parachutes”, “X&Y” was more electronic influenced and “Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends” offered beautiful orchestration over their typical sound. The group has a clearly defined sound within all of those albums though, and they don’t lose that on “Mylo”. This current set feels reminiscent of their past efforts, but there’s something a little more contemporary here. Almost a little more Top 40 without going too far to try to fit in with the Pop Radio sound, but still enough for fans of that kind of music not to be totally turned off. There’s nothing on here that’s so over-the-top-Pop that they have to worry about the “sell-out” remarks, with the best example of “Princess of China”, featuring Top 40 Queen Rihanna, which manages to be more rocked out and in tune with their style as opposed to catering specifically to hers.
Overall, the album is a really pleasant and fun listen. They go from the peppy-ness of first single “Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall” to heartfelt acoustic track “Us Against the World” to the more melancholy electro-rock of “Paradise”. The only problem, at this point, is I’m not clear what the message is with the album. I’m just assuming (from the lyrics I could clearly make out) it’s mainly about the real world breaking people’s spirits and deterring them from their dreams. Giving the impression that maybe the group had a hard time figuring out what to do next because real life fogged up their creative minds, “Hurts Like Heaven” “Paradise” and “U.F.O.” deal with these problems nicely. However I probably need to digest the lyrical content a bit more before I make these kinds of assumptions.
Honestly though, I like the album so far. It’s really well-rounded and it fits into Coldplay’s discography nicely, and because of that this will probably be another album I don’t really get into until months later once I appreciate the full beauty of it. “Viva La Vida” is legitimately one of the Top Albums of 2008, yet i didn’t fully realize it until almost a year later. “Mylo Xyloto” may have the same effect, but it also may be one of those albums that doesn’t have those different layers after repeated listens. We’ll have to just wait and fully absorb what we have and make my final assessment in the future.
4 of 5
Best: Up In Flames, U.F.O., Every Teardrop is a Waterfall