Coldplay are a four-piece alternative rock band which formed in 1996. The band are signed to multiple record labels and have currently got five studio albums and a collection of awards to be proud of, including Best British Group, Best International Group, Band of the Year (2005), Record of the Year (2004), Best International Rock Artist and lots more! Coldplay was formed by Chris Martin and Jonny Buckland, who first met during their orientation week at London University in September '96. For the next year, the two planned how to go about creating a band, and then formed a group called Pectoralz. Guy Berryman, Coldplay's bassist, a friend of Chris and Jonny's, joined the group in 1997 and the band started performing gigs at small, local clubs in and around Camden. At this point the band were going by the name 'Starfish'.
The band's fourth member, Will Champion then joined the band, making it complete, and the band finally settled on the name Coldplay, which was suggested to them by a local student. Coldplay released 500 copies of their first EP, "Safety". Most of the copies were given to friends, family and record companies, with only 50 copies left available to be sold to members of the public. In the December of '99, not long after the release of their first EP, Coldplay signed to the independent label Fierce Panda, and then soon after released a three-track EP entitled brothers and sisters. Once the band members had graduated from University in early 1999, Coldplay was signed to Parlophone for a five-album contract. They then made their first experience at Glastonbury and made their third EP, titled The Blue Room. The EP produced one single which was played on Radio One and 5,000 copies of the EP were made available to the public.
To date, the band have five studio albums - Parachutes (2000), A Rush of Blood to the Head (2002), X&Y (2005) Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends (2008) and Mylo Xyloto (2011) - impressive! Coldplay, in my opinion, is the type of band that people will love or hate. In fact, I remember getting called names at school such as goth and freak because I liked their music. I think people get the impression that the band are 'soppy'. This in a way is correct, Coldplay songs are the type that wear their hearts on the sleeves with no shame.. at times they can be very emotional (both the vocals and lyrics), and not at all manly, so I can see why some people aren't keen. As someone who enjoys true, relatable and 'indie' type music though, I love their style, and they aren't all doom and gloom - each of their albums has a generous helping of rock, pop and amazing guitar riffs! If I had to compare Coldplay to another band i'd compare them either to U2 or a soppy version of Oasis. I own all of Coldplay's albums and love each and every song on each and every album. The only thing that puts me off of Coldplay is that their music tends to be ridiculously overplayed (to the point where you're almost singing it in your sleep!) but apart from that I can't really fault this band. Chris Martin's style is imaginative, eccentric and unique, and the band really do produce some groundbreaking music.
The Band Members
- Chris Martin - Lead Vocalist
- Jonny Buckland - Lead Guitarist
- Guy Berryman - Bassist
- Will Champion - Drummer
I am in love with this album! Every single song is amazing. I literally fall in love with each track every time I listen to it.. how do they do that?! You'd think that they'd be all out of ideas for new songs after the amount of time they've been around, and they never fail to amaze me with flawless new material. As soon as I heard that Coldplay were bringing out a new album I was so excited. The singles released prior to the full album release really got me hyped up and excited for it. My love for Coldplay hasn't faded in the (what seems like a) ridiculous amount of time that i've been a fan of theirs. Mylo Xyloto is Coldplays latest studio album, and it was very recently released worldwide in October 2011. It's their fifth album (and I also have the other four, which are all amazing!) and debuted at number 1 here in the UK, which I think is amazing considering that Coldplay aren't a band that is brand new/hugely hyped up, and they definetly deserved their spot at number 1. The album sold an impressive 208,000 copies in its first week, showing that despite how long Coldplay have been around, we aren't quite bored of them yet!
Mylo Xyloto is so much different to their previous work, yet I still think they've nailed it. They have kept their unique sound and flawless, meaningful vocals, but have managed to keep their sound modern and slightly updated. Each song is unique and sounds 'brand new' if that makes sense; no gimmicks or lyrics that are there to bulk the song out - each track sounds as if it's bein written from the heart - the two 'characters' in the songs feel so real - palpable, even, with the person listening bein transported into the character's own little world of heartbreak as each deals with their own issues. The album is a concept album, and feels/sounds almost like a novel, sucking the listener in and keeping them hooked. Well, I was definetly hooked, anyway! We hear how they meet each other, create a bond and and fall in love (Charlie Brown), tragically break up (Up In Flames), each feel dispair and regret (Princess of China) and then eventually gain the willpower, courage and strength to move forward, and get on with each of their lives (Up With The Birds).
The characters that I mentioned above are called Xyloto and Mylo, who are protestors living in an "oppressive, dystopian urban environment" (taken from Wiki), this basically means that they are living in an area of poverty, and Chris Martin has previously mentioned that the album was influenced by the recession and the White Rose, which was a non-violent, intellectual resistance group in Nazi Germany. Xyloto and Mylo meet eachother through a gang called The Lost Boys and fall for each other. Lyrically, Chris Martin has previously mentioned that the album was partly influenced by "The Wire" (TV series) and old school American graffiti. To be honest, the first few times that I listened to this album, the actual meaning of the narrative completely went over my head, but saying that, I was completely oblivious of the whole Xyloto and Mylo concept as I have only just gathered that part of the album, and it does all make sense now!
Laying there listening to Mylo Xyloto is like watching a mental story book, with each song playing out in my head. Does that make sense?! It's really hard to describe, but the emotions and 'storylines' are easy to understand, as well as relatable and realistic, rather than being far fetched and meaningless. Unlike some people's perceptions of Coldplay, they do not make depressing music. This album in particular is full of inspirational lyrics, uplifting vocals, and tales of love, excitement and hope. Yes, there's a bit of dispair, frustration and heart ache thrown in, but when push comes to shove the more positive elemants of a majority of the songs shines through. In some tracks, it feels like the song is speaking to you, urging you to be happy, be content and be as free as the characters are once the album is over. Some of the songs have that bizzare deja vu sort of sound/feel to them, when each word completely matches the excact thing that you're currently thinking about/worrying about/feeling.. where it completely matches with the way you're feeling in that exact moment in time. This is a rare occurance for me, to hear something that speaks so well to me. I usually listen to indie or pop songs and to be honest most sounds around now-a-days are so samey and unoriginal, and this is where Coldplay are different.
The artwork for this album is amazing. Stunning, in fact. It really stood out on the shelf, rather than merging in with the other CD's, and caught my attention straight away. This is such a different style to the usual Coldplay album art work, it's much more vibrant and 'playful', with bright colours and stunning visuals. I won't go into a huge amount of detail on what the album looks like, because as you can see I have included a picture.
Price and Availability
Despite being a reasonably recent album, Mylo Xyloto is widely available. The album can be purchased from Amazon, Sainsburys, Asda, and various websites. Prices vary depending on where you buy it from. I bought my digital copy of the album from iTunes and paid £7.99. Considering how fresh this album is I thought this was a very reasonable price, and I was happy to pay this. The album contains fourteen tracks which are all full length and of good quality. The album is available in both physical form (CD's, vinyl) and digital format.
Track 1 Mylo Xyloto
This is an amazing opening track and it kicks the album off with a bang. This is simply an 'intro' which has samples from each of the other songs, giving us a glimpse of the album. Considering it is only 42 seconds it really gets me hyped up for the album and leaves a good impact. It is full of flawless guitar riffs, soaring vocals and it paints a really magical picture in my head when I listen to it on full blast. It is the type of feel-good song that is uplifting and refreshing, and it explodes into the next brilliant track, Hurts Like Heaven, with such force that I stayed in my 'feel good' type of mood throughout the entire song, even though it's quite a strange song, but i'll go on to that in a second. Overall the intro track is amazing. I never though that an album intro could be better than The XX album's intro, but I think this just about beats it!
Track 2 Hurts Like Heaven
This is another brilliant song. It's quite cheesy at first, nothing too out of the ordinary, but the blank-slate kind of lyrics have that ability to fit in with whatever my mindset is and whatever i'm feeling if that makes any sense at all! There's some piano in this song which adds a harmony-like sound to it which I love as this is the good old kind of Coldplay music i'm used to. The lyrics in this song are a little strange, they sound kind of displaced at times however I like them - the title of my review is actually the lyrics from this song as I find it a relevant line. The chorus is spoken quite softly but the powerful lyrics give food for thought, reminding me of a certain time in my life. It's a catchy song and I like the vocals as Chris shows off his singing abilities nicely without too much background noise/overpowering instrumentals.
Track 3 Paradise
This is definetly going to be the most well known song on the album so far as it is so hugely overplayed on the radio at the minute. It's an extremely catchy song and to be honest it is the most mainstream sounding song, although Coldplay have their usual twists, turns and gorgeous vocals in here. Chris Martin stated in an interview that he was a fan of Rihanna's umbrella song and used a similar instrumental beat on this song, although I can't see the familiarity at all, this song is ten times better. Out of all their previous singles it is probably the one that is most 'less original' and less indie/depressing, as although it is quite a slow song with meaningful lyrics the instrumentals (piano, guitar) keep it alive and flowing, and Chris belts the chorus out with such force and emotion it is hard not to like, and the backing vocals are good too, adding a really oasis type of sound to it (might just be me who thinks this though!) It's a bit repetitive (para, para, paradise is the most annoying), but overall it's a good song with some meaningful and somewhat inspirational lyrics. It is about a girl wanting escape from her life which I imagine is either deprived or sheltered. The video for this song reflects this, with a member of the band in an elephant suit escaping from a zoo (adorable!) I especially like the line - "In the night, the stormy night she closed her eyes" I don't know why, it is just sung really nicely.
Track 4 Charlie Brown
The beginning of this song is amazing. It builds up into a fast paced guitar riff with a gorgeous rythm and Chris begins singing, this is the song in which the album's characters meet. The song is really good and I especially love the instrumentals as they are so much more upbeat and fast paced to the usual Coldplay instrumentals. Chris' range of skills are shown off on this song with both high and low vocals. It is a very feel good song which is catchy and easy to dance to. My favourite line is "We'll run riot, we'll be glowing in the dark." It's such a magical feeling song.. like it brings back memories and it feels so fresh and it reflects what it's about amazingly well. I love the lines when Chris simply sings "Ohh, ohh" because it's so relaxing in contrast with the other songs. This is probably my favourite song on the album, and I love the piano at the end too which adds a whole naivity to the characters' relationships. There's a bit of indie, rock and pop mixed up in here and it's amazing. The only thing about this song is that the Charlie Brown title confuses me as there's no reference to him but nevermind! If someone knows what that's all about then feel free to let me know :-)
Track 5 Us Against The World
This starts out nice and slow with a piano and guitar and then Chris' soft vocals kick in. It's a little slow paced but this goes with the lyrics/meaning of the song. It is a very heart-felt song, you know? It just reminds me of alot of situations I have been in (break ups, insecurities, confusion, regret), and it's a lovely song to relax to and it's a song that I can stick on and have a good cry to when I need to get sadness out of my system, lol. The lyrics are lovely. Very original and heartfelt, as if they're based on a member of the band's own experiences. My favourite line is "If we could float away." The whole song fits in with the theme of the album well. I do like this song but if you don't like songs that are very slow paced this probably isn't one you will enjoy.
Track 6 MMIX
This is simply 48 seconds of a boring 'noise' - not instrumentals, just a noise. Not much to say really. It has a slight futuristic and optimistic sound but apart from that I can't really think of much else to say about it - sorry!!
Track 7 Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall
This song is amazingly catchy! It starts out sounding like a cheap techno song but it really builds up into an amazing song, it's so much different to the usual Coldplay song - more fast paced, and almost a 'dance' type song. The instrumenals and lyrics are great, and it is the kind of song that makes me feel ten times better, I love just putting it on my iPod and jogging with it full blast as it has that kind of 'inspirational' kind of sound to it and I love the powerful (vocally) chorus and guitar riffs.
Track 8 Major Minus
This song is yet another brilliant song, with elements of folk, pop, rock and punk which are mixed with dance beats and amazing vocals. It starts off sounding very acoustic, then it transforms and Chris booms out his vocals during the chorus. It reminds me alot of Kasabian with the "Oohh ohhh", and the loud drums are amazing! Chris' vocals sound even more amazing during the end half of this song - really high pitched, then they dye down and then explode again. I like how the vocals sound faded out at some points with the sound of the drum initiating the booming vocals and fast paced, almost erratic electric guitar.
Track 9 UFO
This starts out sounding quite depressing with a slow piano. It's definetly one of the album's weaker songs as it takes a while to get going although if you enjoy piano instrumentals then this won't be an issue and it does sound pretty beautiful/magical at points. It just doesn't have much 'meaning' to it, and seems to kind of go on and on, making it an effort to listen to rather than an enjoyable listen. This is the song that I listen to when i'm tired and can't get to sleep - it's relaxing and sends me into dream land really quickly!
Track 10 Princess of China
This is another good song and it features Rihanna, whos vocals go extremely well with Chris' - each has one verse and they take it in turns if that makes sense. The beginning builds up nicely, with strong lyrics and vocals, the instrumentals get a little heavy at points which kind of drown out a bit of the emotion but apart from that it's good. I like Rihanna's voice in this as it seems much softer and highter than her usual work which at times is a bit agressive sounding, but in this she has a more vulnerable sound to her voice. The song has a good meaning behind it which is basically about a couple breaking up. The song has an organ in the background which sounds pretty good!
Track 11 Up in Flames
This is probably the most depressing song on the album which annoys me a bit as it is rather.. samey. It mainly consists of Chris singing "it is over" with the drums (or I think it's the drums) in the background, with the electric guitar solo kicking in nearer the end of the song. Even the chorus is quite samey, although I like the variation (high and low, optimistic and depressed) in Chris' voice. As far as I can tell it is acoustic, featuring only Chris' voice, the piano, drums and the guitar, so it is pretty simplistic.
Track 12 A Hopeful Transmission
From beginning to end, this song kept me hooked. It is just amazing. It reminds me alot of U2 with very rock sounding vocals and a gorgeously fast paced guitar riff and lovely lyrics about falling in love/break ups. Each line is pretty hard hitting and I found myself nodding along in agreement for a majority of the song!
Track 13 Don't Let It Break Your Heart
This song actually merges in with track 12. It's a lovely song :)
Track 14 Up With The Birds
This is the last track on the album and it ends the album well. It wraps things up nicely and has a very fairytail kind of sound to it with the organ and piano making a magical sounding background noise. It makes it feel like the whole story about the characters has ended on a happy and optimistic note and it makes me want to listen to the album all over again, to be honest! Amazing.
If you ever see me on the train, seemingly in my own little world nodding along and singing under my breath, then it's because i'm listening to Mylo Xyloto. I highly reccomend this album, and it'll remain a favourite album of mine for a considerable amount of time.