Mylo Xyloto is a concept album and a thematic rock opera. The album tells the story of a war against sound and colour by a supremeist government, set in the world of Silencia, an Orwellian society. Silencia has been taken over by a supremacist 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", who is one of 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 comes across Xyloto, a sparker who is the 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. 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".
Internationally, Mylo Xyloto charted at number one in 34 countries. 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. Mylo Xyloto broke an iTunes record for digital downloads sales by selling over 500,000 digital copies in a week. The album became the group's third to debut at number one on the US Billboard 200, selling 447,000 units in the first week. It was the UK's best-selling rock album of 2011, selling 908,000 copies. As of 2013, it has sold over 8 million copies worldwide.
Mylo Xyloto received mixed-to-positive reviews from music critics, with a score of 65/100 on Metacritic. While some found it to be overproduced, others praised its 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 nominations in 2013."