Coldplay - Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends

by admin on December 20, 2008 · 3 comments

in Pop Recordings

by Anthony Kershaw

Record Label: EMI UK
Release Date: 2008
Album Length:45:54

Coldplay’s latest album stretches the creativity of this uber mainstream band. Long thought of as U2 light, the guys up the ante and capture the essence of war, death, Christianity and politics. Sounds gloomy, but there is an uplifting mood throughout the CD.

It begins innocuously enough, with dulcimers and synths riffing through Life in Technicolor. The hand of brilliant producer Brian Eno is here, there and everywhere. Can you say ‘world music’? ‘Cemeteries of London‘ begins the lead vocals. The bottom line guys need to send a royalty to Henry the Eighth for a pretty good rip of Greensleeves. Actually, it is your basic, laconic English ballad. Lost has a stadium feel to it and 42 brings down the lights a little with some beautifully sung phrases, highlighting lead singer Chris Martin’s famous falsetto. It was nice to hear a pop song with various tempos and styles rather then the generic, bridgeless nonsense that passes for popular music these days.

Lovers in Japan has a nice orchestration with pulsating ostinato. The solid melodies keep on coming. ‘Tonight maybe we’re going to run, Dreaming of the Osaka sun, Oh, oh, Dreaming of when the morning comes’. Keats, no, but the pleasantries of the melodies match the lightness of the lyrics.

Violet Hill is attaca from the album’s namesake. It has hit writ all over it. Big, bold, brassy. But it is Viva la Vida that, for me, steals the show. Sure, it has a little of U2 in it, but I find it a rare jewel. A popular song with worthy lyrics, a superb orchestration and musical vision, executed to a very high standard. Martin’s singing is superb here, but it is percussionist Will Champion that steals the show. Driving the great string riff with pounding bass drum followed by timpani roulades and ringing the Liberty Bell, almost! And, saints be praised, a great bridge. I hear Jerusalem bells are ringing, Roman Cavalry choirs are singing, Be my mirror my sword and shield. My missionaries in a foreign field. Bloody fantastic! Keats would be proud.

Purchase the CD with confidence at our affiliate, Amazon

Purchase the LP with confidence at our affiliate, Amazon

{ 1 trackback }

Ghost Stories — Coldplay — Audiophilia
05.27.14 at 8:01 am

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Nicky Jameson 01.01.09 at 8:30 pm

Thanks for this review. I’ve been a Coldplay fan since Parachutes and I am loving the evolution of these talented lads. Viva La Vida or Death And All His Friends still gives me goosebumps when I listen to it it’s by far their most adventuresome… and I must have listened to it more than 200 times ;) I also saw them live for the first time in Toronto last July… it brought the album to life. I already liked the album, however seeing them live was an unforgettable experience and it made me listen to Viva La Vida with different ears. Chris Martin was wild, so much energy and Will Champion on drums amazing to watch.

admin 01.01.09 at 8:42 pm

You’re welcome, Nicky.

Chris’s singing is very good on the album but it is the very talented Mr. Champion that really got my attention.

Leave a Comment

You can use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>