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

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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.

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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?

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