October 27, 2011

Song Review: Coldplay's "Hurts Like Heaven"

The case for and against Coldplay usually incites intense feelings of praise or vitriol upon the arrival of each new release, and the latest effort, Mylo Xyloto is no less polarizing. At this stage in their career, Chris Martin and company have comfortably secured their spot among the biggest bands in the world -- complete with accusations of plagiarism, collaborations with hip-hop and pop all-stars and of course, a Hollywood marriage -- making it all that much easier to write off their integrity as serious artists. That's really a shame to do, though, considering a track like "Hurts Like Heaven" matches the UK quartet's strongest work in a long list of reputable hits. More so than to their credit, though, should be given to producer Brian Eno. The former Roxy Music member's work behind U2 and Talking Heads' biggest releases have made him the kind of genius you want to be working with if you're Coldplay. On "Hurts Like Heaven," he purifies the band's brand of Brit pop-rock into a flutter of slick, colorful sound that matches Mylo Xyloto's graffitied album art by making each synthetic note pop and sparkle underneath winding reverb, crisp acoustic guitar chords, syncopating at the 1:25 mark into Martin's nervous assertion (Tip: Listening to the song through high-definition audio definitely maximizes the aural experience.) Even though the melody and songwriting here is right on par with what's come to be expected from Coldplay, the fact that it's one of the year's most perfectly produced songs is why "Hurts Like Heaven" feels so good.

Coldplay - "Hurts Like Heaven"

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