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Picks and Pans Main: Music

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Coldplay

Mylo Xyloto |

ALT-ROCK

On their fifth album, Coldplay busts a move, discovering in their second decade that they can groove. (Hey, it wasn’t enough for them to rule arenas, they want to rule dance floors too!) Although they pumped driving rhythms into 2005’s underappreciated X&Y, there’s a new swagger to the beats on Mylo Xyloto. The thumping drums that end “Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall” find Will Champion flexing more muscle, while the funky bass on “Major Minus” might make you think that Flea has replaced Guy Berryman. “Paradise,” the soaring current single, boasts such a hip-hop boom that you halfway expect Jay-Z to drop a verse on it. Rihanna actually does turn up on the synth-infused “Princess of China,” making a moody match for Chris Martin. Elsewhere, “Hurts Like Heaven” has a blissful bounce that finds ’80s-pop nirvana. Still-along this (vaguely) conceptual journey about two lost souls-there are classic Coldplay ballads such as “Us Against the World,” helping to ensure that global domination will continue.

Kelly Clarkson

Stronger

POP

If you’re an ex of Kelly Clarkson’s, it’s a good bet you’re going to turn up in one of her songs. Her fifth album features more kissoff songs in the venting vein of her signature hit, “Since U Been Gone.” It starts with the first single, “Mr. Know It All,” on which Clarkson works up some raspy-voiced anger. Then it gets better with the defiant title track (“You know the bed feels warmer sleeping here alone”) and “You Love Me,” which examines the mind games that lovers can play. Best, though, is the rock-edged “Einstein,” with Clarkson spitting, “I may not be Einstein, but I know dumb + dumb = you.” Ouch. While this kind of feistiness is nothing new for Clarkson, she shows her softer side on the country-tinged ballad “Breaking Your Own Heart.” Sometimes there’s strength in vulnerability too.