After 15 years and five albums, Coldplay has finally produced something truly brilliant. "Mylo Xyloto," released Oct. 24, is nothing short of genius. The instrumentation is rich; Coldplay's heavy classical and Japanese influences are masterfully worked into their adult alternative style; and the continuity is immediately evident.
Coldplay has made an album, something rare in today's industry. While past releases have appeared to be compilations of b-sides to promote a massive single ("Speed of Sound," "Viva la Vida," etc.), "Mylo" is spectacular from start to finish.
The title track is the first of "Mylo's" three short orchestral introductions, evenly scattered throughout. "Hurts Like Heaven," the album's first true song, features the masterful work of lead guitarist Jonny Buckland. The true genius lies in the next track. "Paradise" is, quite possibly, the single best piece of music Coldplay has ever composed. Lead singer Chris Martin artfully weaves in and out dominant, moving lyrics and a subtle falsetto (which he has crafted to be an instrument in itself). The prevalent orchestration could not be better crafted or any more forceful. When placed over the juxtaposing electronic backdrop of the chorus, the result is a divine synthesis. "Paradise" will be a defining track in Coldplay's prolific career.
"Us Against the World" is Martin's "Blackbird," a work of acoustic gold. When "Every Teardrop is a Waterfall" was released in June, it appeared as though Coldplay had risen to a new level of unoriginality. However, as part of "Mylo," it fits. As part of something bigger, "Every Teardrop" is transformed from a weak single to key component (an obvious sign of a great album). Martin's Japanese influences have never been better utilized. This song also was poignantly featured at Apple's celebration of Steve Jobs' life last month.
"Mylo's" solitary downfall will most likely become its most successful single. "Princess of China" is a poorly executed electronic mess. Nevertheless, it will be a chart-topping poorly executed electronic mess because of the guest artist: Rihanna. "Princess of China" sounds much more like Rihanna's work than Coldplay's. Regardless, it does not matter how repetitive or unintelligible most of the track is; it features (arguably) the biggest band in the world and a multiplatinum pop star. From a musical perspective, "Princess of China" is lacking. From a marketing perspective, brilliant.
"Up with the Birds" ends "Mylo." "Even though all my armour might rust in the rain, a simple plot; but I know one day, good things are coming our way." These final words of a masterpiece are a perfect summation of Coldplay's career. The mediocrity of "Parachutes" and "A Rush of Blood to the Head" will be forgotten, but the immaculate work that is "Mylo Xyloto" will forever define them. Coldplay has broken the mold of "that band that imitates U2." It was 15 years in the making. Coldplay has developed a distinct sound; one which will prove to be a pervasive influence in the future of alternative rock.
Alex Eaton is a senior at Clarence High School.