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Mylo Xyloto /ˈml ˈzlət/ is the fifth studio album by British rock band Coldplay, released in late October 2011. The band worked closely with producer Brian Eno following their successful collaboration on Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends, the band's previous album.

Mylo Xyloto
Studio album by
Released19 October 2011 (2011-10-19)
RecordedNovember 2008 – September 2011
StudioThe Bakery and The Beehive (London, England)
Coldplay chronology
iTunes Festival: London 2011
Mylo Xyloto
Live in Madrid
Coldplay studio album chronology
Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends
Mylo Xyloto
Ghost Stories
Reversible artwork
Coldplay - Mylo Xyloto.JPG
Singles from Mylo Xyloto
  1. "Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall"
    Released: 3 June 2011
  2. "Paradise"
    Released: 12 September 2011
  3. "Charlie Brown"
    Released: 23 January 2012
  4. "Princess of China"
    Released: 14 February 2012
  5. "Up with the Birds" / "U.F.O."
    Released: 21 April 2012
  6. "Hurts Like Heaven"
    Released: 27 July 2012
  7. "Up in Flames"
    Released: 16 November 2012

Mylo Xyloto is a concept album and a thematic rock opera.[4] The album tells the story of a war against sound and colour by a supremacist government, set in the world of Silencia, an Orwellian society. Silencia has been overtaken by a government led by Major Minus, who controls the population through media and propaganda. His aim is to take sound and colour off the streets in hope to draw away "feeders", creatures that use such energy to hunt its prey. The album follows Mylo, a "silencer", a soldier in an army tasked to hunt and track down "sparkers", people who harness light and energy and use it to create sparks, comparable to graffiti in real life. He encounters Xyloto, the sparker most wanted by Major Minus. Through Xyloto, Mylo discovers his sparker abilities and his affiliation with the Car Kids, a major sparker faction founded by Mylo's parents, Aiko and Lela.[citation needed] Drummer Will Champion has noted that the album is a story of the characters "falling in love and trying to escape together", with a general theme of "love conquering all".[citation needed]

Mylo Xyloto received mixed to positive reviews from music critics, with some finding it to be overproduced and others praising the album's uplifting tone and new electronic sound. "Paradise" and "Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall" received a total of three Grammy Award nominations in 2012, while the album and "Charlie Brown" received two further Grammy nominations in 2013. Internationally, Mylo Xyloto charted at number one in 34 countries.[5] In the United Kingdom, Mylo Xyloto became Coldplay's fifth album to debut at number one, selling 208,000 units in its first week, and setting a one-week digital sales record with 83,000 copies sold.[6] Mylo Xyloto broke an iTunes record for digital downloads sales by selling over 500,000 digital copies in a week.[7] (Adele's 25 album topped this record in 2015.) Mylo Xyloto became Coldplay's third album to debut at number one on the US Billboard 200, selling 447,000 units in its first week of sales. It was the UK's best-selling rock album of 2011, selling 908,000 copies.[8] As of 2013, it has sold over 8 million copies worldwide.[9]



In November 2008, in an interview with All Headline News, Coldplay lead singer Chris Martin stated that "...I don't think bands should keep going past [the age of] 33",[10] but later rephrased this to say that what he meant was that they must proceed "as if it's our last, because that's the only way to proceed" in December 2008, adding that he thought the band would never split.[11] Bass guitarist Guy Berryman, who earlier wrote that the band will "just have to start work and see how it shapes up",[12] reported that the band would return to the studio:

We've already got lists of song ideas. We never stop writing. We go into the studio with all the best laid plans then what we end up with is not what we intended. It's just exciting to wonder what will come out the speakers in a year's time. We have very exciting things lined up. It's time to take our music down different directions and really explore other avenues.[13]

In one interview, Martin predicted the style of the incoming album as being less dominated by fanfare, and featuring a more "stripped-down" sound.[14]


In November 2008, Coldplay established a recording HQ at a disused bakery in Primrose Hill, North London, where they recorded a big part of Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends.[15] Part of Mylo Xyloto was also recorded on the same place, however this time they used a new studio, near the original, called The Beehive. While a few overdubs and a lot of comping were recorded at The Bakery, a lot of live recording and live takes were done on the new studio.[16] The Beehive was described by Rik Simpson, one of the producers, as a "large room". One of the band's roadies blogged about the studio, describing it as having a "gorgeous reverb".[17] Still about the studio he said:

Everywhere you go there's light streaming in. Even on a relatively gloomy British afternoon, it's noticeably bright inside. I can only imagine that this will be reflected in the new material.

Style and conceptEdit

Mylo Xyloto is a concept album, according to Martin, "based on a love story with a happy ending." Two protagonists living in an oppressive, dystopian, urban environment, meet one another through a gang and fall in love. Lyrically, the album is inspired by "old school American graffiti" and "the White Rose Movement." Martin also said that the album was influenced by HBO TV series The Wire.[14]

Subway car in New York City. The 1970s graffiti of the city inspired the album.

Coldplay had stated on several occasions, long before the release, that they wanted the album to be "more acoustic" and "more intimate" than its predecessor, 2008's Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends. The band later said they got to a point where they were trying to make two records, a stripped-down album, that started to be recorded first, along with an electric one that was already being called Mylo Xyloto by the band. However they later decided to combine both albums. Drummer Will Champion explained that the band realized they couldn't focus on more than one thing at once, and songs like "Paradise" couldn't be played in an acoustic style.[18] Martin pointed another song as a reason too:

We have a song called Charlie Brown, which was the centrepiece of this other record we started first. We were playing the riff on an accordion and Guy came in one morning and said, 'I'm afraid I have to put my foot down. I don't want to speak out of turn, but I will not allow this song to be played on an accordion – that has to go in with the Mylo bunch'. So then we thought — let's just make one album.

In the end some songs composed for the acoustic album such as "Us Against the World" and "U.F.O" maintained the "stripped" approach, while others such as "Charlie Brown" changed into a new form. Songs from both records ended up on the final album, world beat elements from the predecessor Viva La Vida are present but the overall production of it became electronic influenced. The electro rock sound can be heard through the whole album, beginning with opening song "Hurts Like Heaven" which has synthesised sounds and vocals predominantly on vocoder.[19] The next track, "Paradise", also shows the band stepping outside of their comfort zone and going into the new electronic territory.[20] Additionally, this song has an R&B beat style, which is also featured on "Princess Of China". This track opens with an anxious blend of synths and guitars and then goes into an R&B type beat. The album has three short instrumentals which are included as noodling experimental electronic interjections on the record.


The typeface created for the album's artwork

The album's artworks were revealed on 12 August 2011,[21] inspired on graffiti the band worked again with longtime collaborators Tappin Gofton and, this time, also with British street artist, Paris. The band had already started to research and work with graffiti on their home studios, The Bakery and The Beehive, when designer Misty Buckley introduced Paris to them, as they were looking for a graffiti artist to teach them the techniques to do it. Although initially he was supposed to be just a "teacher", Paris stayed on the project until the end, producing part of the final work along with the band.[22]

Coldplay wanted it to be an explosion of vivid colours as a counterpoint to the subdued colour palette of Viva La Vida, and at the same time there were lots of lyrics and codes they wished to add. Researches and development into street art started six months before the work had begun.[23] Then a graffiti wall was painted by the band itself and Paris, formed by nine parts.[24] Tappin Gofton wanted the whole evolution of the wall, so at the end of every day loads of super detailed photos would be taken from it.[22] In the end a picture including three parts of the wall was featured on the front cover, while the whole wall is featured on the center of the CD's booklet.

The final versions of the covers have a picture of the wall, half of the CD's were packed with the booklet flipped, showing the silver initials "M X" via a die-cut sheet placed over the photo on the front, while the other half was packed with the full picture and the full name of the album written over it.[25] Both covers use an original typeface created for this work; the new font is used in most of the album's graphic promotion.


Martin hinted at the album's title prior to release, saying "it will probably begin with an M."[26] During interviews the band has already given many different reasons and meanings to the album's name. In some they stated that it had no meaning and that they had the title in mind for at least two years before deciding upon it.[27] But Martin also said it was reference to the album's characters, the boy (Mylo) and the girl (Xyloto) respectively.[4] Another meaning suggested by the frontman was that the name was supposed to be a graffiti tag for the band, relating "xylophone" to the word "xyloto".[28] Much of the art was done by Paris 1974.[22]

Release and promotionEdit

The Mylo Xyloto Tour was noted for its large scale display of pyrotechnics, laser lighting and Xylobands. (Pictured: Coldplay performing at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on July 6, 2012)

The album was set to be released in December 2010 as a "decade-ender", but was postponed to 2011 since the album was far from finished as Coldplay concluded their Viva la Vida Tour. Chris Martin and Jonny Buckland mentioned that the album would be released in the latter year.[citation needed]

The iTunes Store let users hear one new song from the album every day the week before until the album was released.[29]

The album was released on 24 October 2011 on CD and on vinyl. A special edition of the album that includes the CD, digital copy and LP disc along with copies of the band's studio notes, stencils, a poster, a pop up book and stickers was made available on 19 December 2011.[30]


On 31 May, Coldplay announced that their new song "Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall" would be released on 3 June at 12 pm BST via download.[31] The single contains elements of "I Go to Rio" written by Peter Allen and Adrienne Anderson.[32] On 21 June 2011, Coldplay's website announced that the band would release an iTunes exclusive digital EP containing the songs "Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall", "Major Minus", and "Moving to Mars" on 26 June.[33]

The album's second single, "Paradise", was released on 12 September 2011.[34] That same day, Chris Martin announced that Rihanna would be featured on "Princess of China". "Paradise" has so far reached #15 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and has reached the top 10 in 15 charts around the world. On 1 January 2012, it became the year's first number-one single in the UK and Coldplay's second chart-topper in their native country.[27] The song was also the best-selling rock single of 2011 in the United Kingdom, selling 410,000 copies.[8]

"Charlie Brown" was later confirmed to be the third single from the album, and the group performed the song on 23 January 2012 on the British TV series The X Factor. On that date, it was solicited to US Triple A radio, and was solicited to US adult contemporary radio the following day. The single received a release date of 3 February in most other territories except for the United Kingdom, where the single was released 12 March 2012.[35]

"Princess of China", a collaboration with singer Rihanna, was solicited to US mainstream radio on 14 February 2012 as the album's fourth single.[36][37] A digital release followed on 13 April in the United States and on 4 June in the United Kingdom.

"Up with the Birds" was released as a limited edition 7" vinyl single for Record Store Day on 21 April 2012, backed by "U.F.O." as its B-side.[38] The single, the album's fifth overall, was limited to 500 copies in the UK[39] and 1,000 copies in the US.[40]

"Hurts Like Heaven" was released as the album's sixth overall single on 27 July 2012, and was later solicited to US Triple A radio on 6 August.[41]

"Up in Flames" was released for radio airplay in Italy on 16 November 2012.[42]


The promotion for Mylo Xyloto began in June with the release of the first single and the beginning of a series of performances on some of the most important festivals around the world,[43] including Glastonbury,[44] Lollapalooza,[45] Fuji Rock Festival and Rock In Rio.[46] The first time the band played live some songs from the album for a big audience was on Rock Im Park festival in Nuremberg, Germany, playing six new songs. Manager Dave Holmes said that the reason to play new songs on the festivals was to "invite people to the party" also on this he said: "...let the music do the talking, play new songs and get people talking about the fact you're playing new music."[47]

After the "festival tour", Coldplay began the proper Mylo Xyloto Tour in October 2011 with a series of rehearsal concerts in Europe, as well as a special concert in Johannesburg, South Africa, footage of which was used in the music video for "Paradise". A full-production show began in December 2011 in the United Kingdom. For this first leg, on the end of the 2011, the stage design incorporated graffiti made by the band and the band's artist Paris, it also had a catwalk linking the main stage to a smaller stage with an "X" shape. The tour continued into 2012 with shows in Europe,[48][49] North America[50] and Australia.[51]


On 10 July 2012 the Coldplay website announced a six-part Mylo Xyloto comic, with the first issue to be released at that week's San Diego Comic-Con International.[52] Published by Bongo Comics, the story followed the tale of Mylo, a "silencer", who, in the words of co-writer Mark Osbourne, is a part of a "war against sound and colour". Together with Osbourne, Dylan Haggerty writes the comic (starting in the second issue) with art by Alejandro Fuentes.[53]

Critical receptionEdit

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
AllMusic     [55]
The A.V. ClubB[56]
The Daily Telegraph     [57]
Entertainment WeeklyC+[58]
The Guardian     [59]
Q     [62]
Rolling Stone     [63]

Mylo Xyloto received generally mixed to positive reviews from critics, receiving a score of 65 out of 100 from review aggregator Metacritic based on 39 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews."[54] In a five-star review, Simon Goddard of Q wrote that Mylo Xyloto "will, at the bare minimum, safely sustain their imperial position for a long time to come", singling out Martin and Buckland's musical contributions and Eno and Dravs' production for praise.[62] Mikael Wood of Spin wrote that like Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends, Mylo Xyloto "draws from an expansive palette that makes Coldplay's first three albums sound even quainter" and that "where Viva La Vida showcased Coldplay's sense of adventure, this [album] feels more eager to please".[64] Citing the album the band's most ambitious effort, Josh Eels of Rolling Stone noted that "the choruses are bigger, the textures grander, the optimism more optimistic" and described it as a "bear-hug record for a bear-market world".[63] The Daily Telegraph's Neil McCormick called the record "irresistible", noting its "adventurous" mood and "luxuriously colourful" sound.[57] Ian Cohen of Pitchfork wrote that the album sees the band "successfully continuing to explore the tension of wanting to be one of the best bands in the world and having to settle for being one of the biggest."[61]

In a mixed review, Alexis Petridis of The Guardian judged Mylo Xyloto's storyline as incoherent and expressed skepticism toward the album's purported pop influences, feeling that much of the album "just sounds like standard-issue Coldplay, replete with echoing guitars, woah-oh choruses and vocals that signify high drama by slipping into falsetto", apart from electronic music flourishes that "genuinely [add] a bit of freshness to a formulaic sound".[59] In a review for Entertainment Weekly, Melissa Maerz interpreted the album as an attempt by the group to sound less like themselves in order to reconcile their commercial success with the supposed stigma of being "as hated as a band can be".[58] Randall Roberts of the Los Angeles Times was critical of Martin's lyrics, stating that "every touch of lyrical bitterness is followed by enough sugar to mask the taste, which might be good in the short term but isn't a recipe for long-term health."[65]

AllMusic editor Stephen Thomas Erlewine wrote that Mylo Xyloto "has a leg up other Coldplay records for this simple reason: they're no longer attempting to mimic U2's portentous piety. They've embraced their schoolboy selves and are simply singing songs of love and good cheer, albeit on a grand scale that somehow seems smaller due to the group's insuppressible niceness."[55] Melodic magazine's critic Johan Wippsson cited "Paradise" and "Charlie Brown" as examples of the band sounding "really on their 'own'", compared to past efforts where the band has "taken ideas from others and sometimes a little too clearly".[66] Q ranked the album as the 5th best of 2011.[67]

Commercial performanceEdit

Coldplay playing in Toronto, September 2011

In the United Kingdom, the album sold over 122,000 copies in its first three days of sale according to the Official Charts Company. It debuted at number one on the UK Albums Chart with first-week sales of over 208,000 copies, giving the band their fifth number-one album and the second-biggest first-week sales of 2011 behind Lady Gaga's Born This Way.[68] Coldplay is the third group to debut at number one with their first five albums, behind The Beatles (11) and Oasis (7).[69] The downloads accounted for 83,000 units to become the first album to sell more than 80,000 digital copies in one week, a record previously held by Take That's Progress (79,800 units).[70] In its second week on the chart, the album fell to number two selling 67,132 copies.[71] It was the best-selling rock album in the United Kingdom, selling 908,000 copies.[8] The album's second single, "Paradise", was also the best-selling rock single in the UK, selling 410,000 copies.[8]

Mylo Xyloto debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 in the United States, with first-week sales of 447,000 copies.[72] In Canada, the album debuted at number one on the Canadian Albums Chart, selling 65,000 copies in its first week.[73] The album debuted at number one in Australia on the issue dated 31 October 2011.[74] In its second week on the chart, the album was certified platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) for shipments of 70,000 copies.[75] In Denmark, the album debuted at number two with first-week sales of 7,807 copies.[76] The album was certified platinum by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) for shipments of 20,000 copies in its first week.[8] As of April 2014, the album has sold 1,581,000 copies in the United States.[77]

Track listingEdit

All tracks written by Guy Berryman, Jonny Buckland, Will Champion, and Chris Martin. Additional composition by Brian Eno.

Mylo Xyloto[78][79]
1."Mylo Xyloto"0:43
2."Hurts Like Heaven"4:02
4."Charlie Brown"4:45
5."Us Against the World"3:59
7."Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall"4:00
8."Major Minus"3:30
10."Princess of China" (with Rihanna)3:59
11."Up in Flames"3:13
12."A Hopeful Transmission"0:33
13."Don't Let It Break Your Heart"3:54
14."Up with the Birds"3:45
Japanese bonus tracks
15."Charlie Brown" (Live from Glastonbury 2011)4:48
16."Life Is for Living" (Live from Glastonbury 2011)2:30
17."Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall" (Live from Glastonbury 2011)4:38

Sample credits[79]


  • Chris Martin – lead vocals, keyboards, acoustic guitar, piano
  • Guy Berryman – bass guitar, keyboards, piano (track 2), backing vocals
  • Jonny Buckland – electric guitar, keyboards, backing vocals
  • Will Champion – drums, percussion, piano (track 5), backing vocals

Additional personnel

  • Dave Holmes – management
  • Markus Dravs – producer, recording
  • Daniel Green – producer, mixer, recording
  • Rik Simpson – producer, mixer, recording
  • Brian Eno – keyboards and additional composition
  • Rihanna – guest vocals on "Princess of China"
  • Juanita Stein – backing vocals on "Up with the Birds"
  • Andrew Thurston – cowbell on "Up with the Birds"
  • Spike Stent – mixer
  • Michael Brauer – mixer
  • Davide Rossi – strings
  • Jon Hopkins – light and magic, keyboards
  • Rosie Danvers – additional cello
  • Luis Jardim – in time percussion
  • Robin Baynton – recording
  • Marcos Tovar - recording
  • Ted Jensen – mastering
  • Bob Ludwig – mastering
  • Coldplay, Paris – artwork
  • Tappin Gofton – design, art direction
  • Andy Rugg – recording and mix assistance
  • Matt McGinn – recording and mix assistance
  • Matt Miller – recording and mix assistance
  • Christian Green – recording and mix assistance
  • Olga Fitzroy – recording and mix assistance
  • Ryan Gilligan – recording and mix assistance
  • Matt Green – recording and mix assistance
  • Pierre Eiras – recording and mix assistance
  • David Emery – recording and mix assistance
  • Ian Sylvester – recording and mix assistance
  • Noah Goldstein – recording and mix assistance
  • Ian Shea – recording and mix assistance
  • Andrew Denny – recording and mix assistance
  • Deepu Panjwani – recording and mix assistance
  • Nobuyuki Murakami – recording and mix assistance
  • Hidefumi Ohbuchi – recording and mix assistance
  • Tim Crompton – recording and mix assistance

Charts and certificationsEdit

Release historyEdit

Region Date Label Format
Japan[140] 19 October 2011 EMI Music Japan
Australia[141] 21 October 2011 Parlophone
Worldwide[142][143] 24 October 2011 Parlophone
  • CD
  • digital download (UK only)
  • LP
Poland[144] EMI Music Poland
  • CD
  • LP
Italy[145] EMI Music Italy Download
25 October 2011[146] CD
North America[143] Capitol Records
  • CD
  • download
  • LP
Brazil[147] 28 October 2011 EMI CD
Chile[148] 31 October 2011
Colombia[149][150] 9 November 2011
  • EMI Music Colombia
  • Parlophone


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