Coldplay by this point were no longer at their musical peak. Although the previous album Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends, released in 2008, had a lengthy and interesting title for an album and was itself a good listen, this album comes across as a bizarre piece of work in comparison and was the group’s first album to be seen as a little bit of a letdown on paper. Despite that, it is an ambitious concept album and a so-called Rock Opera that looks back to Rush’s own 2112 album, itself which was a masterpiece of conceptual brilliance. Indeed, the title of the album itself is about the two main characters of this concept album, Mylo and Xyloto, who fight for artistry and sound in the fictional world of Silencia. Understandably, the band wanted to move on from some of the grandiose electronics of the previous album and had recorded two albums together at the same time, one an acoustic album and the other an electric guitar-based album. Therefore, this album was combined out of the best of the two recorded projects. All in all, this should be a fascinating listen. Let’s hear it.

Mylo Xyloto begins the album with some otherworldly sounds and instrumentation that is very pretty and picturesque. This is very short, mind you, less than a minute of it. It leads into the next track segueing into it.

Hurts Like Heaven launches into a digital ballad with some cut-up and autotuned vocals from Chris Martin. This is quite poor for Coldplay on that one, and it sounds like the postmodern marketing ploy got into them. The rest of the song is energetic, soothing and wonderful though. A very pretty and picturesque piece of music, this has a variety of sounds and textures that are completely different to anything that Coldplay have done before. Regardless, it is good but sounds like Coldplay has completely sold out their musical mission of old. There is a strange and heavy guitar solo here, amongst a multitude of acoustic guitars and sound effects. A good song without being a great one, but nonetheless, Coldplay are still ongoing in their sensitive new-age guy style of music. There is a lengthy outro with some crisp guitars played to the fade out. Not too bad, considering all things.

Paradise is the most popular song from this album. It has some curious digital sounds, to begin with, and sounds quite exciting and cheerful as a result. Soon enough, a gorgeous string section enters and digital beats gets this going. This is an extraordinarily upbeat and pretty tune to hear and Chris Martin sings nicely here. This tune is a wonderful, beautiful and unique listening experience musically. It has some fine lyricism that paints a pretty picture of the music at hand. Regardless, this is a fantastic listening experience. Chris Martin and co are in full euphoria mode, and this is a great song to listen to on repeat. In the second half are keyboards galore and string sections that sound really pretty and sweet. A really unique and popular song that will make you smile. A wonderful postmodern anthem, there are some mellow guitar parts to match this awesome tune towards the end. Great song, complete with the main melody being hummed right at the end. Brilliant.

Charlie Brown begins with some digitally modified sounds that are bizarre, along with some gorgeously clean guitar parts. Soon enough, this song launches into an acoustic-based ballad, however, smothered by electronic instrumentation. This follows into a strange song that is part of the overall concept album here. Nonetheless, this works quite well and this isn’t as bad as some critics made this album out to be. A fairly catchy piece of music that works nicely, this is quite a superb and interesting musical listen. There is a return to the strange melodies from the start of the tune towards the end before this tune gets going again nicely. A solid effort from Coldplay, despite the daggy title of the song. It ends with a lengthy outro with some gorgeous piano playing that is beautiful and melodic. Nice work guys.

Us Against The World begins with a pretty guitar part and accompanying sound effects. This is very intricate, electronic and psychedelic. Chris Martin sings in his plain and rather ordinary delivery here, but perhaps perfectly articulating the plot at hand. This is a somewhat more focused, with some strummed acoustic guitars and sparse instrumentation to match this tune. It is also a good progression of the plot, album and sound template of Coldplay. It is a plea to a lover in the storyline and in real life, as well. A very beautiful listening experience, the emotions do run deeply in this song. A pretty and lovely listen, Coldplay are the more gentle emotional musical makers. It ends with just vocals and guitars concluding this song. Sweet.

M.M.I.X. is a musical interlude that goes on for less than a minute. It sounds rather eerie, and has some digital robotic sounds in the background. Definitely odd, and part of the greater album experience at hand.

Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall leads on from the previous tune, and has a spacey keyboard melody, to begin with. It launches into a great piece of music and musicality that sounds catchy, awesome and melodic, with strummed acoustic guitars to match. There are some excellently synchronised sounds here, including numerous guitars. This is a great and happy listen about discovering the delights of music itself, and Chris Martin and Coldplay are in full flight here on this tune. This is a truly happy and joyful listening experience that has lasted very well. In the second half are some pounding drums, driving melodies and Chris Martin singing euphorically. Great effort by these guys. A pleasant tune, it ends with a lone drum part. Excellent work.

Major Minus is the villain of the album. Some unusual sounding acoustic guitar parts are here, followed by Chris Martin singing as the villain. Surprisingly, this is super catchy and different. It is a musical equivalent of George Orwell’s 1984 villain Big Brother, set to music. This is still very musical, and it works in that sense as well. It is a threat to the heroes of the story, and the music is catchy enough to enjoy here. Of course, all stories have their negative elements in their plotlines, and this is no different in that respect. Short and bitter, Coldplay were still branching out musically on this album. Which is good, although this does sound a lot like U2. It’s good regardless, and very catchy.

U.F.O. is an acoustic-led piece that has Chris Martin singing into a mixture of vocal effects, whilst still being audible. This is a simple and decent piece of music that is only two minutes long. Soon enough, some string sections enter on the right-hand channel and this piece gets moving. A soft and gentle tune, this is a genuinely good listen. More Coldplay songs should be stripped bare production wise, just like this one. An excellent piece. There is a quick finish, followed by some electric guitar harmonics.

Princess Of China does feature Rihanna. It begins with some cyber keyboard melodies and launches into an absolute piece of garbage. Unfortunately, quality was not considered in this song and it sounds really awful. It is nice to see that Coldplay and Rihanna tried something different in collaboration with each other, but again, this is awful. The track should legitimately not be on this album, and it is proof of the fact that this song was ill-thought-out. Rihanna sings better than Chris Martin, but all the same, this is not the Coldplay of Parachutes or A Rush Of Blood To The Head quality. Instead, it is a joke. Garbage and forgettable, this drags the album down quite a lot. Just skip this one and you’ll be okay. Atrocious.

Up In Flames begins with some slow, electronically modified drum beats. This goes on whilst piano and vocals enter. Chris Martin sings very nicely on this song, and although this is a concept album part, he sings from the heart here. The chorus has an unusual melody but still sounds good enough for what it is. A really excellent listening experience that sounds back to form from the previous song that ruined things, Chris Martin makes his presence as a plain singing vocalist done quite nicely on this tune. The instrumentation builds up in a good wall of sound towards the end before this tune concludes well.

A Hopeful Transmission is only thirty seconds long. It is an interlude, which is different. A nice and short little jingle that leads into the next song.

Don’t Let It Break Your Heart begins with a mesh up of piano and sounds, easing into a good piece of sonic wonder. This track, unfortunately, sounds a lot like musical filler, especially as it is towards the end of the album. It is heavily drenched in sound effects, which weakens the sound here a lot. This is the sort of mainstream rubbish that plagues the Pop charts of the postmodern world. In any case, this is okay, but it doesn’t sound anywhere near as consistent as it could be. A mediocre song that doesn’t sound all that good, this is a disappointment musically. A mix-up of poor quality sounds and laziness musically, this could have been seriously rethought. There are some spacey keyboards and kick drum Pink Floyd Dark Side Of The Moon style beats. Seriously, how original. It ends with Chris Martin saying, “Don’t let it break your heart,” with a load of editing and some sounds to segue into the last track on this album.

Up With The Birds is a simple piano ballad about the musicality of a simple natural creature that evokes musical sounds and beauty. We reach the end of this unusual concept album which ends on a fairly good musical piece and a positive note. Chris Martin’s voice sounds rather ordinary on this song, but all the same, this is a pretty and futuristic sounding tune. Some multitracked guitars then enter in the second half, proving that indeed, music is the saviour of humankind. A decent conclusion to a strange concept, it is a happy ending to an album with a varying level of musical quality about it. Chris Martin sounds joyful here. This ends with some pretty piano and stops here.

This isn’t the best Coldplay album out of their career, and the concept of the album isn’t even entirely original (Rush possibly should sue Coldplay for lack of originality of this concept album). However, despite that, this album is a great sonic journey that showcases what a postmodern group can achieve musically if their minds are put to it. Most of the music is quite good, but Princess Of China could have been junked, in particular, and some other tracks should have been edited. Otherwise, this is a good listening experience that, although patchy, could showcase a more constructive side of Coldplay.

Interesting and energetic.