Viva La Vida by Coldplay
Viva The Music
To say there has been a lot of anticipation for Coldplay’s fourth album,
Viva La Vida, is an understatement. Having enlisted legendary leftfield
producer Brian Eno, borrowed their album title from a painting by
renowned Mexican artist Frida Kahlo and made tantalising remarks about
sonic reinvention, the world has been curious (to say the least) to hear
what the ‘new’ Coldplay might sound like. Viva La Vida definitely makes
some departures from the band’s usual formula, which happens to be one
of the most commercially successful rock-pop blueprints of recent years.
The plangent chords, emotive melodies, stadium-rock rhythms and
universal lyrical concerns remain, but Martin and co. have gone out on
several limbs here, incorporating instrumental tracks (Life In Technicolour),
using subtle North African and Latin elements (Yes, Strawberry Swing),
and overhauling previously strict verse-chorus-verse structures in favour of
slightly more avant arrangements. The old Coldplay still shine through (see
tracks like Violet Hill and the title song) but even their classic sound feels
more muscular and confident. The band’s new flourishes, cosmetic and
self-conscious as they may be, are enough to make Viva La Vida a
welcome break from the old routine --Danny McKenna People en Español
Cuando Coldplay anunció con bombo y platillo que su cuarto disco, ba jo el
ambicioso título de Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends, vendría
acompañado de la producción de Brian Eno, dos escenarios se convertían
en posibilidad: o se trataba de su peor álbum o la obra maestra de su
carrera. Afortunadamente, la producción de Eno no lleva a la banda
británica a imitar a U2 por ningún momento, y en cambio, el grupo liderado
por Chris Martin presenta el mejor disco en su trayectoria, ofreciendo un
sonido distinto, en el que por fin se alejan del pianito hartante de sus
primeros tres álbumes y suenan como lo que siempre prometieron ser:
una de las mejores bandas del mundo. Life In Technicolor, Viva la Vida, y
sobre todo el tema Lost!, representan a Coldplay en su momento cumbre.
--Ernesto Sánchez (People en Español )
...but I guess I am now. This album is FANTASTIC.
When I got this album, I got it for my brother. I didnt plan on listening to it
much, just because Coldplay drives me nuts. To me (and I know youre
probably thinking Im crazy) its just the same chord repe ated over and over
and over again.
However, this album was lush. Yes, its repetitious. But its repetitious in a
delightful way. As soon as I played, Life in Technicolor, my ears perked up
because there was so much joy in the song! And its not just the pi ano
playing; as the song continues, more instruments come in from the
different synthetic sounds to the different guitars. Lovely! I know there are
a lot of people who dont like this first song because it doesnt have lyrics,
but its beautiful. And I love i t that the song doesnt have many lyrics
because it symbolizes, to me, that life can make one speechless and that
sometimes the best thing to do is just ride the music.
The next songs are much darker. You go into the Cemeteries of London,
which is haunting, and then Lost!, which is interesting. Joy -> Death ->
Confusion. And then theres 42. At first I didnt like this song, because the
piano is playing the same chord over and over again, but then it went into
a completely different direction with many layers of different sounds. Better
yet, it completely connected Cemeteries of London and Lost! together with
the lyrics, You thought you might be a ghost/You didnt get to heaven but
you made it close. Oh yes, thats right... connecting death with confusion
and putting a snarky look on it? I love it. So in a way, it makes fun of the
first couple of songs, but it does it in such a lovely, playful way that it
demonstrates how rich life is.
Then it moves to the songs that deal with external conflict instead of
internal conflict. Lovers In Japan is a lovely song, complete with a bouncy
piano and oriental-sounding synthetic noises. Reign of Love, as other
reviewers have hinted at, is slow and kind of boring. However, unlike a lot
of reviewers here, I actually like the addition because, even though it is
slow and boring, it offers more insight on the next couple of songs. So
while Lovers In Japan is about being swept away into a world that he isnt
quite certain of, Reign of Love expresses regret about being swept away.
So yes, I wish it were a little catchier, but it totally makes sense within
context of the album.
Then theres Yes. This song goes back to the initial theme of loneliness,
but it presents it in a story. Hes become dissatisfied with the love he has
and that love has turned on him to make him even lonelier than before.
However, what makes Yes an even more fantastic song is the end. Now, I
realize that there were a few people who didnt care for it (to their credit, it
is kind of repetitious), but I love it. Its a bit hard to understand the lyrics, at
least for me, but its talking about sleep and rest and such. And its also
talking about being crucified. Eep! Talk about a gory image in relatively
mild song with guitars jamming and other various layers. So why ar e they
bringing forth this image?
Enter: Vida la Vida.
And you can see how I love this album. It really all ties together, so if you
want to purchase it (which hopefully you will) you have to get the complete
album. It really is lovely together.
Anyway, Viva la Vida is an interesting song because it brings forth the
image of a fallen leader. But instead of being an allusion to Christ, as
crucify would imply, it reminds me more of Lawrence of Arabia, where
Lawrence tries to gain godlike power and is eventually destroyed by it. So
really, this song is about the destruction of a man as he tries to become a
God. (Me? Over-read this? Never!) Remember Reign of Love, where he
wishes he had a chance to speak with the Reign of Love before he was
swept away in his own little world? Well, Viva la Vida hints that he tries to
become the Reign of Love as it were, and he fails utterly. Did I mention
that this a really catchy song? It kept on getting in my head, which meant I
had to listen to the whole album. Woe!
After that is Violet Hill. The song is a bit hard for Coldplay with it driving
percussion pulse, electric guitars, and the piano (of course), along with
other synthetic layers, but thats fine with me. This song connects with the
story too. After being destroyed and mocked from the people that once
knew him, he sits with his love on a snowy hill and pleads with her to show
him that she loves him, if she really does. So once more, we go back to the
whole love aspect. And it provokes a question: what is love, really ? The
song makes it clear that there is no love for him here, even though he sits
with his lover. So where exactly can he find love?
Enter: Strawberry Swing.
This is a lovely, nostalgic song where he remembers a loved memory from
the past, not with the rushed Lovers In Japan feel, but rather a slow
memory where he could think. A very peaceful song. It reminds me of
playing in the woods as a little girl.
I think Coldplay later added Lost? because my version ends with Death
and All His Friends. But in a way, I like this ending because it really sums it
up. You go from joy to confusion and as the plot thickens, the different
definitions of love he sees mislead him one after another. Finally, after
slowing down and thinking about everything that has happened, he reverts
to joy and declares:
No I dont wanna battle
From beginning to end
I dont wanna cycle
I dont wanna follow
Death and all his friends
Complete with themes from Life in Technicolor, this says what Life in
Technicolor could only express in music about the joy of life. Now, he is
not lost and will not become just a ghost because he has made an active
decision not to follow death. Why should he? He is full of life instead.
Viva la vida!
Brilliant album. Get it. You wont be disappointed.
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