BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: Coldplay: Viva la Vida or Death And All Her Friends (EMI)

 |   |  1 min read

Coldplay: Yes
BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: Coldplay: Viva la Vida or Death And All Her Friends (EMI)

One advantage of not listening to commercial radio is that you don't start going off songs or bands through over-familiarity. Which might explain why I quite like this new album by a band which seems to annoy most right-thinking people and serious music writers.
But I hear so little of them -- I rarely play the albums I have -- that this one sounds intelligent and like a band prepared to take a few chances.
Of course it could well be the presence of Brian Eno who here adds "sonic landscapes" in the same manner as he did on Paul Simon's 2006 Surprise album.
That texture (and there is no other way of describing it) means that Coldplay are drawn or pushed into areas they might not have otherwise considered -- much as Eno did for U2 on The Unforgettable Fire. This gives some songs a grandeur, but without the pomposity which attends most of U2's output.
There are also disconcerting strings, tense rhythms, some North African sounds and yes, sonic landscapes. They also stretch out on material like the dramatic Yes.
Of course at heart is still Chris Martin (a man who seems to annoy "serious" music writers as much as Moby) and even though his piano balladry remains intact, and therefore opening up this one to familiar criticisms, it now comes within a rather more interesting context.
Maybe knowing Eno is involved means I hear echoes of U2 (and Velvet Underground oddly enough) and you could argue they are really only catching up with the game. But as far as a Coldplay album goes, I've been listening to this a lot more than any of its predecessors.
Clearly I am not a "serious" music writer.

Share It

Your Comments

Angela - Dec 15, 2008

Despite people saying this is not their best work it is the first one I have paid attention to - I 've played it over and over and still like it a lot - so there. It has encouraged me to borrow a few of their other albums too.

global village idiot - Dec 21, 2008

Here Come The Warm Pets

I tried really hard not to like this. The fact they got in Brian Eno to twiddle the knobs feels like cheating. But, hey, if you can afford genius, then why not buy genius. The song, Viva La Vida, is catchy, infectious, silly, has nice strings, and OTT oooh aaahs - everything you want in a classic pop song. I've found myself singing "...when I ruled the world" more than any other lyric this year. For that alone it makes my top 3 albums.

And the celeb wank is wank - so Chris shags Gwyneth Poultry and they have a bub called Apple. And he dances like a twat... who doesn't? It's still got to be about the music. These guys sound like they're having fun, they occasional soar, and they're a damn sight more listenable than The Kings of Leon, who really need to cheer up before we see that the Emperor's New Clothes reveal them as little more than morose posers.

global village idiot - Dec 21, 2008

PS: Graham - Is the Via la Vide title here some deliberate double typo in-joke I'm missing?

post a comment

More from this section   Music at Elsewhere articles index

Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5: The Motown Years (Motown/Universal)

Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5: The Motown Years (Motown/Universal)

Presumably scheduled for the Motown 50th anniversary rather than Recent Events, this three-disc collection soaks up 32 tracks of Michael Jackson with the 5, and on the third disc 16 outings under... > Read more

Liam Finn: The Nihilist (Liberation)

Liam Finn: The Nihilist (Liberation)

What a remarkable year it has been so far in New Zealand music: bristling pop-rock from Clap Clap Riot, Grayson Gilmour's multi-layered album, singer-songwriter Greg Fleming stretching himself in... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Liz Phair: Exile in Guyville (1993)

Liz Phair: Exile in Guyville (1993)

Tribute albums are far from uncommon these days. In fact when you see there are tributes to a band that never existed (The Rutles) and The Muppet Show you could argue this one has run its course.... > Read more

THE AMBER RILEY-THOMPSON SAGA, PART THE TWO (2004): More miss adventures

THE AMBER RILEY-THOMPSON SAGA, PART THE TWO (2004): More miss adventures

A little background to these stories which appeared in the New Zealand Herald . . .  Late in 2003 Russell Baillie, the Herald’s entertainment editor, and I were talking about having... > Read more