Music Review: Coldplay Mylo Xyloto
Oh, Gwyneth, how blessed you are. Imagine having Chris Martin sing you the catchy-catchy radio tune "Paradise" as you laid your head to sleep, its lyrics soothing even the sorest of gym-strained muscles and relaxing Hollywood-weary worry lines as visions of sugar plums dance in your head.
"When she was just a girl, she expected the world," sings Martin, "But it flew away from her reach, and the bullets catch her teeth; Life goes on, it gets so heavy; The wheel breaks the butterfly, every tear a waterfall; In the night, the stormy night, she'll close her eyes... and dreams of para-para-paradise."
You can almost see Martin and Paltrow burrowing into each other as they escape the high-pressure world of their public life; take solace as they contemplate his parents' divorce; think about the world they want their kids, Apple and Moses, to grow up in... one that threatens to go "Up in Flames" as London recovers from its rioting, and as the rest of the world experiences turbulent growing pains.
"Through chaos as it swirls," he sings, "It's us against the world."
While the cover art is a cacophony of crazy graffiti colour, it's a melancholy little world reflected through the stained glass of Mylo Xyloto. Martin sympathises, through the album's gentle synthesizing, with working class anxiety; painting a picture of the world he sees:
"I stole a key, Took a car downtown where the lost boys meet... All the boys, all the girls, all the mess that occurs....". It's a similar message in "M.M.I.X" where a "wreckage of a universe falls past".
There's personal pain, too, as Rihanna joins Martin in singing a pop-rock power-ballad of hurt in "Princess of China", the brightness of a relationship fading as it falls apart: "I could've been a princess, you'd be a king," she sings, "Could've had a castle on a ring, but no, you let me go." Bleak, yes, but the ultimate break-up song for those who want to wallow.
Lest we all start getting depressed, this aural dystopia is laden with the occasional hopeful message: as the pacey, escapist "Every Tear Drop is a Waterfall" gains momentum, we learn Coldplay wants to be a comma, not a full-stop; the gap between two trapezes; will not stand by to watch "another generation drop"; and will "raise the flag". A white one?
"The day our albums come out I want to kill myself. Really, I feel suicidal," Martin told The Daily Star. "I start to panic and think: 'What if people don't fall in love with this album? What if this is the one our biggest fans don't like?'"
The band's British compatriot – and sister in middle-class musical angst – Dido refused to go down with the ship years ago; and here we are again – what has changed? Why the long faces?
The fifth studio album from the band, Mylo Xyloto has already made it to the top of the UK album charts, placing above Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, Michael Buble's Christmas and Kelly Clarkson's Stronger. Despite is lack in merriment, with its high radio rotation you can be sure Coldplay's newbie will be filling a few stockings this Christmas.
Girl With a Satchel