Album Review - Coldplay - Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends

Coldplay - Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends

First of all, I must say I disagree with Coldplay’s third album, “X & Y”´s tagging as a bad album. Its true, “Speed of Sound” is kinda clockish, but as a whole, the album is enjoyable. I completely liked its first half, but I’ve got to admit the second part was kind of dull, with the only memorable moment being the aforementioned “Speed of Sound” and “The Hardest Part”.
Three years have passed and Coldplay strikes again. The starting news were quite good, Brian Eno will produce the album.
Finally, by the end of May, we were able to hear a new song, “Violet Hill” premiered to be downloaded for free on Coldplay’s website. Afterwards they released a simplistic video of some landscapes and the band on well, a violet hill. After the video and before the release, came the leak, and that’s basically how it has gotten to my ears.
Just by pushing play you can start experiencing Coldplay’s new experimentation. “Life in Technicolor” has sounds here and there, and lacks completely of lyrics, something hadn’t heard before on this Brits.
“Cemeteries of London” is also a good track, which I would propose as a single, and “Lost!” also brings something very strangely heard on Coldplay, a guitar solo.
“42” kinda says “We are still Coldplay!!!” and would fit appropriately on their 2003 album, “A Rush of Blood to the Head”.
“Love in
Japan” is probably the most upbeat Coldplay song ever, but still with the melancholic chant of Chris Martin’s voice. This is one reminds in some way of The Smiths. Its hidden track is called “Reign of Love” and is a slower ballad with an interesting use of tubular bells towards the end.
“Yes” is not a bad song, but lacks of any outstanding feature, on its other side, its hidden track “Chinese Sleep Chant” makes me think of what this band would sound if Thom Yorke joined them.
Next on the tracklist is the first half title-track “Viva La Vida”, which manages to be a midpoint between the Pre-Eno and the Eno Coldplay in order to create the album’s best song. This is mainly due to a great violin arrangement and some chorus chants towards the end.
The catchy “Violet Hill” is followed by “Strawberry Swing”, and the second half title-track “Death and all his Friends”, the latter two containing few or none memorable points. Finally, another hidden track, “The Escapist” takes us back to the beginning of the album. This last song contains the same music as “Life in Technicolor”, but featuring lyrics.
I must add that so far, this is my favorite 2008 album, a spot that had been left blank by the likes of R.E.M., Los Campesinos! or Vampire Weekend.
Overall, Coldplay’s allegiance with Brian Eno has proven to be one of the best things these guys ever could have done. Coldplay enlarges its market, at times sounding like U2, REM, Radiohead and even The Smiths. They have broken barriers created by them. Now they are experimenting with new rhythms, moods, beats, instrumentation and voice use.
For Coldplay fans like me, this album will improve our musical image of the band and even though this is no “Joshua Tree” or “Low”, the Eno fans will also be pleased. However, if you don’t like these four, you might need one more push in order to like them.


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