Coldplay's 'Mylo Xyloto': What the Critics Are Saying

7:56 AM PST 10/19/2011 by THR staff
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The conceptual album hits stores on Oct. 24, with singles released on iTunes every day leading up to it.

Coldplay's conceptual album Mylo Xyloto officially hits stores on Oct. 24, but iTunes has been releasing a song a day to build up anticipation. Their first single, "Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall," was released Sept. 12.

So what are the critics saying?

"You can accuse Coldplay of being many things — mawkish, maudlin, bland, boring, grandiose, geeky, preachy, polished, M.O.R., A.O.R., E.L.O. — and more often than not, their (countless) critics do just that. You cannot, however, accuse them of being subtle. Not ever," writes James Montgomery on MTV.com.

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"This is precision-honed Coldplay, which seems like an odd thing to say about a vaguely conceptual album that spans 14 tracks and features more electronic wallop than a dozen Creamfields, more skyward guitars than a million planetarium shows and more vocal chants than a season at Old Trafford," he adds.

In the National Post, Bernard Perusse writes, "To confront a new work by Coldplay — a concept album, no less — is to confront your feelings about supersized rock."

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"Have you had enough of wordless “whoa-ee-oh” hooks that seem to be written especially for big stadium moments? Sick of insert-handclap-section-here bridges that appear to be there only so 20,000 people can join in later? If so, you might well have a problem with songs like this album’s Paradise or Princess of China, the latter a duet featuring Chris Martin and the dreaded Rihanna vocalizing together," he adds.

"But Mylo Xyloto can easily be appreciated without any of that. It works just as well as a solid collection of album tracks, albeit a collection that will go multi-platinum and get fists pumping in arenas everywhere. Just don’t let that put you off," he goes on.

Josh Eells writes in Rolling Stone, "Aided again by Brian Eno, Coldplay are still dabbling in the kind of cool-weird artiness they truly went for on 2008's Viva La Vida. But where that album sometimes seemed like a self-conscious attempt to diversify their sound, with a world-music vibe and U2-style sound effects, this time Coldplay have integrated the "Enoxification" (as they call it) into their own down-the-middle core: Check out the cascading choral vocals that augment Martin's soaring refrain on "Paradise." Prominent elements prop up the sonic cathedrals: Jonny Buckland's guitar, which is riffier and more muscular than ever, and Euro-house synths that wouldn't sound out of place at a nightclub in Ibiza."

"Oddly enough, the best moments are darker ones. "Princess of China" is a ballad about loss and regret, co-starring Rihanna. It's a partnership that probably came together over champagne brunch at Jay-Z's, but its synth-fuzz groove is offhandedly seductive. It's followed by "Up in Flames," a minimalist slow jam. Martin sings nakedly about how breakups can feel like the end of the world, or maybe it's about the actual end of the world. Either way, as end-times lullabies go, it's pretty sweet," he adds.
 

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