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The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

Coldplay bewilders with ambiguous lyrics

Courtesy of Parlophone Records (UK). ()
Courtesy of Parlophone Records (UK). ()

Kanye West once said, “In 30 years, when Coldplay are old men, people will look back and say, ‘These guys were more talented than The Beatles.'”

A few years ago, I could’ve seen where he was coming from.

Then I listened to “Mylo Xyloto,” their newest album.

The band’s fifth full-length continues in the new direction that they took with 2008’s “Viva La Vida,” away from the piano-oriented soft rock that made them popular and towards arena rock that will make them more popular.

However, Chris Martin scales back for this release. There is nothing on the album like the hit “Viva La Vida,” in which Martin sang about a revolution over a dramatic, reverent string melody.

Instead, most of the songs are guitar-and-piano based with an electronic coat of paint. The songs are bright, and the melodies are all smiles.

Martin and company definitely know what audiences like. This album is packed with big music that will sound awesome live, such as thundering drums, sing-along moments and soaring “whoa-oh-oh!” background vocals.

The whole album feels like a lighter version of “The Resistance” by Muse. It’s Muse for people who find Muse too heavy.

Similarly to Muse, the lyrics are grandiose and delivered with great weight. Expect to hear a lot of references to the heavens and flying.

Contrarily, I wasn’t a big fan of the lyrics. The chorus to “Us Against The World” features Martin singing the phrase, “Through chaos as it swirls, it’s just us against the world,” several times over acoustic guitar as if it’s meaningful and important.

That phrase sounds great, but it doesn’t have much meaning. A lot of the lyrics seem to have been chosen for their sound over any real conveyance. Granted, this should be expected from an album with the deeply meaningful name, “Mylo Xyloto.” In an interview with UK publication “The Sun,” Chris Martin gave an ambiguous explanation of the title: “Even the lads admit the title doesn’t mean anything. At the moment it seems a bit ridiculous and I accept that. Something about it feels quite fresh. The title doesn’t have any other meaning.”

This is also where West’s comparison of Coldplay to The Beatles falls flat. Lennon and McCartney wrote songs that were not only musically solid, but (for the most part) had meaningful lyrics as well.

Meanwhile, Coldplay drops pearls of wisdom such as, “Hear those crocodiles ticking around the world,” in the song “Major Minus,” itself a meaningless title. I think the line is something about impending doom, but it’s still stupid.

The producers also pushed the vocals to the front of the mix, stressing that they are important and must be heard.

As a personal disclaimer, my lack of connection to the lyrics may come from the fact that I’ve never been in love. These lyrics seem to idealize love, and you can tell whoever wrote them is happy in their relationship.

Bottom line: “Mylo Xyloto” is music written for a live performance, not so much as an album. The music and lyrics SOUND good and the songs are enjoyable to listen to, yet they offer little meaning to me.

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About the Contributor
John Kesler
John Kesler, Opinion editor
Opinion editor, spring 2012. Staff member, fall 2011.

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Coldplay bewilders with ambiguous lyrics