Coldplay – “Viva La Vida”
It’s not often that an album is as stellar as the stars in the sky, and yet so accessible. This is the case with “Viva La Vida,” the fourth album from the humble London rock band Coldplay, who have achieved something extraordinarily thoughtful and yet exuberant across these 10 tracks.
Don’t let the odd album art (Eugene Delacroix’s painting of the mighty Lady Liberty) fool you, this album is anything but archaic or boring. With the help of producer Brian Eno, the father of ambient music and a fantastic contributor, Coldplay has reached a new level of rock ’n’ roll that can even make our parents listen.
“Life in Technicolor” is the hopeful opening tune, more ambient at first before the guitar riffs come to sweep you away. Continuing with “Cemeteries of London,” lead singer Chris Martin sings of ghosts, wanderers, and God in London with evocative lyrics, like “There are ghost towns in the ocean.”
But fear not, Coldplay aficionados! These somewhat-ethereal songs do have their rock ’n’ roll moments. “Lost!” will have you clapping and feeling lively. The upbeat piano makes “Lovers in Japan/Reign of Love” a thoroughly enjoyable tune.
Most impressively, “Yes” brings in symphonic violins to help get Martin’s lonely and lovelorn business across without being overly depressing or sarcastic: “If you’d only, if you’d only say yes. Whether you will is anybody’s guess.” But the song presses on just when you think it’s over, shifting to an energetic punk-rock ballad complete with Martin reaching those one-of-a-kind high notes that croon with agonizing wistfulness.
Though it’s certainly not the standard Coldplay rock many of us have come to anticipate, “Viva La Vida” does bring something refreshing and enriching to the ears. This one easily outdoes “X&Y,” but ultimately lacks the energy in “A Rush of Blood to the Head.”
Don’t be afraid to delve into this album and find out for yourself if these tunes suit your, ahem, life.