Major Minus the Mirror
Mayank Srivastava dissects the fifth studio album by British rock band Coldplay
Art is often the mirror to society but it is also a hammer through which we shape society as Bertolt Brecht has said. It’s easy to reminisce over easier times when you are confined within four walls. One of my favourite past times in these grim days is opening my old laptop and searching through my “Music Library” which is basically a list of songs I “borrowed” off the inter-net way back when streaming wasn’t a big thing. One of the more famous bands during that time was ‘Coldplay’ who were putting out good music with bits and pieces of somewhat of a concept album within their discography. Obviously, one of their more known works “Mylo Xylo-to” should ring a bell. That album with the songs ‘Paradise’, ‘Princess of China’ and ‘Charlie Brown’? Yes, the one that gives you a hard time pronouncing its name so you basically stopped recommending it to people. Fun fact, the album mirrors with its own story and I like to think it’s one of those evergreen pieces of art that will hold strong today, tomorrow and forevermore.
It talks about a war set in a bleak and dull world against sound and co-lours by a supremacist government. An Orwellian society called Silencia is ruled over by a dictator, Major Minus, who controls the population through media and propaganda.
Major Minus’ main aim is to take away sound and colour from the streets to drive the ‘feeders’ who prey using energy from the same. Like every fictional universe, this one has it’s own rebels who are called “Sparkers” people who create lights and sparks comparable to graffiti in our world. Mylo, a ‘silencer’ is tasked to hunt down these sparkers, and one day fate brought him face to Xyloto, the most wanted sparker. This is a turning point in the story. Mylo learns about his sparker abilities and his parents who created “the Car Kids”, a major sparker faction. All this fed into a 6-part comic book series by the same name.
On the third track ‘Paradise’, which is one that most of us are familiar with, the lyric “when she was just a girl, she expected the world” talks about how when Xyloto was a little girl she expected freedom and all she got was restrictions on her and her inherent spark. “Life goes on, it gets so heavy; the wheel breaks the butterfly” talks about how as she grew up, life was not as it was in the fairy tales and literally quite the opposite. ‘Charlie Brown’ is a coming of age track that describes how Mylo steals car keys to go to a party wherehe meets Xyloto and they fall in love and he discovers his sparker abilities as by the lyrics “we’ll be glowing in the dark”. In ‘Us Against the World’, as the title implies, it is them against everyone in the world as Major Mi-nus runs rampant. “Every Teardrop is a
Waterfall” prophesies how Mylo is the chosen one but he is torn as he is a ‘silencer’. The instrumental interlude ‘M.M.I.X.’ instils a fear of silence in the listeners and how ‘Major Minor’ shows us the that everyone is being watched and Orwell’s classic ‘2+2=5’ by the lines “They got one eye watching you; And one eye on what you do; So be careful ‘cause nothing they say is true”. ‘Up in Flames’, ‘A Hopeful Transmission’, ‘Don’t Let it Break Your Heart’ and ‘Up with the Birds’ comprise the last and, in my opinion, the most interesting part of the album, making up how the story unfolds and ends.