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An album by Coldplay

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Viva la vida, baby

  • Sep 1, 2008
  • by
Every so often a band comes along that breaks new ground and spreads life messages with unfaltering confidence and high artistic vision, and, once making it big, never sacrifices its artistic integrity. The first of these was the Beatles in the 1960s. U2 rose up in the 1980s. In the 1990s, Radiohead rose and was set to become the next of these bands. But when their fourth album, 2000's "Kid A," broke too much ground for mainstream listeners to handle, those listeners twirled around to face Coldplay, a fresh-out-of-college English band that had just released their debut, "Parachutes." Since then, music fans have been heralding Coldplay as the next big thing, the band that could rise up and lead the music world like Radiohead and U2 have been doing.

But they've been like that brilliant student who never quite applies his or herself to the schoolwork, the student who is trying to do his or her best but just can't. Their debut was good, their sophomore effort, "A Rush of Blood to the Head," was excellent (ranking on "Rolling Stone"'s list of the 500 greatest albums in history), and their third album, 2005's "X&Y," was very good, though not a whole lot more than the band trying to sound like U2 (lead Chris Martin's biggest influence). The band needed a teacher. For their fourth album, they hired Brian Eno as producer - the most brilliant move they could ever have made. Eno produced the most brilliant and groundbreaking albums of David Bowie, Talking Heads, Peter Gabriel, and, yes, U2. He's just what the band needed.

So now we have Coldplay's fourth album, "Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends." As promised, it's the beginning of a new era for the band. Whether that era is one to be cheered or ignored is up in the air. While some will appreciate the band's more complex, refined, and much more inspired style, evident on songs like the ethereal "Cemeteries of London" or the soul-grabbing title anthem, "Viva La Vida," others will lament the fact that, on those same songs, Martin sounds like he's dying not to make Coldplay go down in history via originality but to go down in history via playing U2's similar-looking cousin. The fact of the matter is that Martin looks nothing like Bono - he's not even Irish. That's where Eno comes in. If Martin has asked him to dress them like Bono, Eno has smiled and said, "Alright, I'll do it," and done it just enough to convince Martin that it's been done. In fact, though, Eno has added some stylistic flare to separate Coldplay from their idols.

Those less-tolerant listeners may find "Viva La Vida" a cold listen, though the quality of Eno's warm production is undeniable. But for those who are willing to try to understand Martin's U2-bound aspirations, there's a lot to "Viva La Vida," particularly in beautiful pieces like the instrumental opener, "Life in Technicolor," the sensational and rock-sturdy "Lost!" (the group's own "Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For"), the forementioned title track, or the mind-bending psychedelic "Chinese Sleep Chant." Coldplay still isn't in the same league as Radiohead or U2 -- they're too afraid of upsetting anyone -- and, heck, they may never be in that league, but regardless, "Viva La Vida" is an excellent album. More importantly, it's a softly-cooed lover's whisper of wonderful things to come.

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More Viva La Vida reviews
review by . September 02, 2008
Coldplay moves away from their usual radio-friendly soaring anthems, but still score big with their fourth studio album, which is filled with rich instrumental passages, as in the very first track "Life in Technicolor".     The second track "Cemeteries of London" reminds me of soundtrack music from those old spaghetti westerns, but with deep and introspective lyrics:     "God is in the houses and God is in my head... and all the cemeteries in London...   I …
review by . September 27, 2008
Pros: To put it short, Coldplay is one of the most innovative groups in music now...     Cons: None (read review)     The Bottom Line: I love Coldplay, and this album is every reason why.  Chris Martin's musical genius is apparent in each and every brilliantly crafted song.       During the past couple of years, Coldplay has gone from being just a blip on my musical radar, to my favorite band (well, third after John Mayer …
review by . June 19, 2008
posted in Music Matters
Coldplay is creating some of the best music around, and this album enhances their form. I found every song here to be solid, no filler, and this album is full of hits... the orchestral viva la vida is energetic and fits in with the melodic and somewhat melancholic range of tunes on the album. If you like the previous Coldplay albums this one should satisfy you. Not much more needs to be said!
review by . June 17, 2008
posted in Music Matters
Coldplay's music comes off like it's another sequel soundtrack of Arthur C. Clarke's `2001: A Space Odyssey'. Mesmerizing, the echo effect of Jonny Buckland's guitar is second-cousin twice removed from U2's The Edge with lead singer Chris Martin's voice sounding like a homely, but likable, version of Bono. Far be it from me to complain or make a claim of plagiarism--more like natural alchemists: they remain sustaining with their songs, much like The Cure did in their …
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Tom Benton ()
Ranked #351
Aspiring high school English teacher with dreams of filmmaking and a strong taste for music.
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Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends is the fourth studio album by English alternative rock band Coldplay, released in June 2008. Coldplay released four singles from the record: "Violet Hill" and "Viva la Vida" in May 2008 and "Lost!" and "Lovers in Japan" in November 2008. "Viva la Vida" is the band's first song to reach number one in the United States and the United Kingdom.

The album was released to critical and commercial success. It won Best Rock Album at the 2009 Grammy Awards.

# Title Length 1. "Life in Technicolor" (Berryman/Buckland/Champion/Martin/Hopkins) 2:29 2. "Cemeteries of London"   3:21 3. "Lost!"   3:55 4. "42"   3:57 5. "Lovers in Japan/Reign of Love"   6:51 6. "Yes" (includes hidden song "Chinese Sleep Chant") 7:06 7. "Viva la Vida"   4:01 8. "Violet Hill"   3:42 9. "Strawberry Swing"   4:09 10. "Death and All His Friends" (includes hidden song "The Escapist": Berryman/Buckland/Champion/Martin/Hopkins) 6:18 Bonus tracks # Title Length 11. "Lost?"   3:40 12. "Lovers in Japan (Acoustic Version)"   3:49
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Label: Capitol Records
Release Date: June 17, 2008
Artist: Coldplay

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