How does one appraoch a new offering from one of the world's largest musical acts? Surely their are lofty expectations, as well as a magnified sense of what said new offering should be in regards to its impact on the modern musical landscape. Coldplay are no strangers to egregious expecations and hyper-srutiny, as they dominated the alternative rock seen last decade, finding fame from all across the globe. Their mellow alt-rock stylings found them lying in the hearts of the mainstream dwellers as well as the more jaded musical listeners. Since their debut they've been picking up steam, piquing with their 2008 release, Viva la Vida, an album praised for it's no holds barred sense of creativity and musical exploration. Well, the Coldplay of 2008 is nothing like the Coldplay of present, which on itself is nothing like the Coldplay whom the world fell in love with. No, this is a different entity entirely, which has its shares of pros, as well as cons.
Kanye West once said that Coldplay will have a larger impact on music than The Beatles. While many should and do take issue with this, it's easy now to see a correlation. However, with Mylo Xyloto we seem to see the band doing the exact opposite of the legendary Brit-pop act. Instead of rising to fame with simplistic pop-rock tunes which later become more complex and creative, Coldplay seem to be doing the opposite. Mylo Xyloto is bigger sounding and much bolder than anything they've done, but it's a stark transition from the excellent direction they were heading on Viva la Vida.
Despite the jarring change in sound, the bigger beats and poppier melodies are surprisingly nice here. It's still Coldplay, with the solid alt-rock foundation being present, but the new bells and whistles for the most part are actually welcome. Songs like "Every Teardrop is a Waterfall" and "Hurts Like Heaven" find the band exploring the brighter side of their sound, whilst retaining the things that have made them such a sucess. Yet a couple of straggling songs really put a damper on the overall package. "Paradise" and "Princess of China" are two such selections. They embody the most vapid and insipid aspects of Mylo Xyloto. They are bland, uninspired pieces that showcase Coldplay playing it criminally safe. "Princess of China" is much more guilty than the rest. Featuring Rhianna, it feels as if Coldplay is completely out of their element. The flow and beat of the songs feels strange in comparaisson to the rest of the record, and the guest singer just doesn't mesh well with any facet of the tune. Luckily moments like these are somewhat few and far between, only managing to be minor faults sparsly located in a sea of aimibale tunes.
Coldplay certainly like to surprise. Mylo Xyloto is different, but very enjoyable. While it may not be the strongest output the band has released, it's sure to be at least mildly remembered as a fine, solid outing. It's tailor made for Grammy adoration, and perhaps that's why Coldplay feel as if they played it way too safe. This isn't the adventurous band who crafted one of 2008's most exciting records, but a band that seems to be taking it all in stride, even if it costs them their musical credibility.