- Best Rock Performance for "Charlie Brown"
- Best Rock Album
- Producer of the Year, Non-Classical - Markus Dravs
Ugh, I'm giving in and doing Coldplay, a band which I have not really enjoyed in about 10 years, and that was more-so the String Quartet's take on their songs. However, even given all that, I swear I'll go into this with an open mind. They have put out some great, or at least catchy, songs over the years, and there must be a reason for their popularity.
Afterall, this album did chart at number one in thirty countries. There's got to be something there. It's their fifth album, and there's a strong fan base for the music. I thought it was funny, reading a quote from lead singer Chris Martin, that he thinks the band shouldn't go past the ages of 33. No worries, he later rephrased it, saying they should work on these things like they're their last, because they might be. I used a lot of forms of they in that one sentence. Sincerely hoping I just did that all right.
This is a concept album, and follows a story throughout. The title itself holds no meaning, but the story is of two people who live in a harsh world. They meet and fall in love. And goodness, I am a sucker for a happy ending.
Follow along through the Spotify listen link I'll go ahead and paste in right... here.
"Mylo Xyloto" is the title and starting track, and I have to admit, it's almost like being welcomed into a show. This is an overture of sorts, with interesting Italian-esq bells and strings, building into something much more.
Then we launch right into "Hurts Like Heaven" immediately. Nice little job there. There's only two chords going on, which might make it sound simple, but there's clearly lots more going on. I love the concept of just that lyric 'hurts like heaven.' Something very cosmic and beautiful about that idea. There's extreme energy and movement in the song, setting up for what may actually be a fantastic ride. I'm in love musically, as that guitar is thrilling in its little appearances. Here's a video from the performances for David Letterman (if you remember, we watched some from the Foo Fighters and Adele before) of the first two tracks.
I had a friend say to me recently that she's obsessed with the song "Paradise," and I couldn't for the life of me figure out why. I personally don't like the melodies on this much at all. The falling notes at the end of each line is just not appealing. Meanwhile though, while the song isn't great for me, I have to say - the majesty of having so much sound come out of my speakers is really wonderful. The power is something else.
"Charlie Brown" starts in a much weirder place, but it switches, or maybe builds, out to a really cool rhythm that I swear I've heard before. I don't know how appealing the rest of the song it, but that little beat is awesome. The original plan for the band was to make two albums - one stripped down and one more electronic. Instead, it wound up being a combination. Now that I'm giving it a little thought, yeah, that sounds about right. I was just about to end this paragraph, but the piano came in and changed my thoughts on the song completely. Fascinating highs and lows in mood throughout the song, and then to end here is just... hmm.
Very soft guitar lead in for "Us Against The World." Here's the stripped down element to the album, I suppose. It's actually kind of.. well, sad, once you get into listening to the lyrics. The stories are on the hard times that have happened, then the build is asking to start again together. Love in a harsh world - go figure. Taking the dive together is probably so much less scary than going it alone. Anywhos, the guitar is beautiful here, and the elements that layer once the singing subsides for a minute are perfect. It's a mellow Coldplay song that won't put you to sleep. "Through chaos as it swirls, it's us against the world."
...and into the beauty (I even have to admit this) of "Every Teardrop is a Waterfall." I can't place if it's the pace of the lyrics, or the keys along with it, or the excitement in your heart as the song gets going, but they hit something very right with this song. It's much different Coldplay, if that's what you're hoping for. It's a dance song without being obnoxious or completely computer produced. And most of all, it breathes and speaks loud to a world that needs to hear something like this. Something musically is just perfect here. Everything's big in our own worlds.
"U.F.O." is gentle, and more the Coldplay you're probably used to hearing, complete with strings backing and the attempt (and I do mean attempt) at some falsetto. It's a rather short number, so many someone realized somewhere through it that this wasn't the point of the new sound and they stopped.
Rihanna is the one guest artist on the album, joining in for "Princess of China." At the start, she's just providing the female ad libs, but she does come in for a verse. They performed this year at the Grammys together (after my favorite song of hers in a while - "We Found Love"). The songs got a heck of an autotune to it. It's not totally prevalent, just when notes are being held out. Otherwise, the singing's not bad, even with the music that sounds like an electrical current.
"A Hopeful Transmission" really had me fooled - I thought it was the beginning of a Spotify commercial, when in fact it was one of the instrumental interludes tuning up and leading into the next track.
The next track being "Don't Let It Break Your Heart," which is always solid advice. About anything. Seriously. As much as I loved the music at the start of this album, and as pretty as it remains, it's getting to be a lot of the same thing throughout these tracks, so the impact is being lost. Again though, it moves and gets your body into the grove of pretty decent music on the whole.
"Up With The Birds" is our final song, and it starts off rather slow, but stops and shifts into the pace that was most appealing about the album as a whole. The guitar strumming on this entire album has been downright delightful, just as something that really keeps everything together and going. The drums have and continue to add in just enough kick to maintain a slight rock description to be appropriate. "I know one day good things are comin' our way." It's a good song to end out on.
Added to My Playlist:
- "Hurts Like Heaven"
- "Us Against The World"
- "Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall"
Overall, it was an album that started off strong and exciting, and went a little off-kilter to the boring side as it went on. That doesn't make it bad, but that does make it typical. Don't get me excited for different sounds when you're not going to really bring it. However, it does provide an opportunity to pick favorites and dislikes based on lyrics, especially when the music sounds so similar. Yes, there are two types of songs here, so they maintained the original commitment. But it's still Coldplay, and it's still not the best music in the world. Especially not with lack of that string quartet.