Record #106: Coldplay – Viva La Vida, or, Death and All of His Friends (2008)

A lot of people have a lot of opinions about Coldplay…
For a while, I didn’t care either way. They had a few good songs, but I wasn’t about to spend a day poring through their discography, nor money buying their records. One of those songs was “Viva La Vida,” with its bouncing string quartet and ruminations on the afterlife. Good, but certainly nothing to make me rush out to a record store with a fistful of cash.

Then, I heard “Violet Hill” on the radio. This wasn’t the Coldplay I had known. This was bombastic and loud and violent.

I loved it.

So I listened to the album online, and finding it filled with brilliant textures (“Life in Technicolor”), carefully crafted guitar lines (“Strawberry Swing”), catchy melodies (“Lost!”), and Paul McCartney-style song cycles (“Death And All of His Friends”), I grabbed that fistful of cash and rushed out to the record store.

After a careful listen, one could easily credit the artistic leaps found here producer Brian Eno, and you’d be correct. Eno brought his ambient soundscaping and adventurous experimenting to the studio in full force, and Viva La Vida was all the better for it. I mean, not only did it make a self righteous hipster like me care about Coldplay (and their previous albums, for that matter), but it also made an album that I loved, if the wear this album has sustained is any indication.

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