Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Old Coldplay Review- Viva La Vida

I wrote this review in 2.5 seconds this summer after Coldplay's album Viva La Vida was released. I figure I'll post it now. It's pretty rough, but, you know.

Coldplay acquired a fifth member for their fourth album. His name is Brian Eno, he was just the push in the right direction that Chris Martin and Co. needed after 2005’s lackluster X&Y. Eno’s signature larger-than-life sound that has been present on so many U2 albums is more than apparent on Viva La Vida, and it suits Coldplay wonderfully. Enlisting Eno to helm Vida was a more logical move than you’d expect from a man who named his firstborn “Apple.” And not only was it logical move, it was one that saved Coldplay from forever being branded one of the most bland groups making music today.

Kicking off with the layered instrumental, “Life in Technicolor,” it’s clear that Coldplay has adopted a new sound. As with the title of that first track, it’s as though Coldplay has been in black-and-white Kansas, but on this album they are finally stepping into a full-color Oz, fully equipped with a heart, a brain, and an extra dose of courage. The ominously titled “Cemeteries of London,” with its dark, ghost-town referencing lyrics, thumping bass and syncopated handclaps could provide the soundtrack to a John Wayne western. On “Lost!” Coldplay reverts to their more traditional song-structure while employing surprising instrumentals, like an organ, tambourine and, yes, more hand claps. Pretentiously titled “42” spends its first minute-and-a-half as a creepy ballad before guitarist Jonny Buckland launches into Radiohead-esque guitar jabs. “42” ends up being the most surprising track on the album, climaxing in an almost optimistic chorus, where Martin sings, “You thought you might be a ghost/ You didn’t get to heaven but you made it close.”

Perhaps the best track on the album is “Lovers in Japan,” a driving tune with a jumpy piano-line and a lush soundscape provided by Buckland, bassist Guy Berryman, and drummer Will Champion. On “Yes,” on of the more radio-friendly tracks, Martin accesses his lower vocal register and the group makes good use of a string section, as signaled by the wailing opening chords. The ubiquitous hit “Viva La Vida” and second single “Violet Hill” are great examples that Eno has been stirring Coldplay’s pot. “Violet Hill” is accompanied by strong lyrics and hard-hitting percussion and guitar lines. “Viva La Vida” is epic and cinematic, once again utilizing the string section.

1 comment:

bloody awful poetry said...

Lovers In Japan happens to be my favourite track off the album. I've had it on repeat for weeks now!
Love the band's new sound, they may be a tad too pretentious, what with double-barrledd song titles and all, but anything's better than the sludge that was X&Y.

And for a review written in 2.5 seconds, this is pretty nice stuff.