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Viva La Vida - Death and All His Friends - A Review

Category: By FreaKo


VivaLaVida With just three previous albums to their credit, many would not have considered a band as a mature band, but Chris Martin and Co's Coldplay has demonstrated that all a band requires is the creative ingenuity to strike the right notes at the right time and consistently to get to that level and not to forget, hire a great producer in the form of Brian Eno too.

After the success of Parachutes, Rush of Blood and the hugely successful X &Y, Coldplay had to come out with something different and that is what they did, calling it Viva La Vida - or Death and All His Friends, one of the most anticipated releases of the year. And has it struck the right chords? Wait till you hear the complete album that brings out an amazing set of tracks.

Unlike their previous albums, the fourth edition is the darkest of the lot with references to war, religion, death and love (minus the mushiness of their previous albums). Simply put, Viva La Vida is something new and refreshing and sort an experiment for the band, with influences from world music (of which you shall learn below). I have been listening to the tracks from the last weekend and my verdict is a thumbs up!

The album starts with brilliant instrumental, Life in Technicolour, with techno sounds and acoustic guitar. It ends as abruptly as it started, kind of a disappointment because in just two and a half minutes into the track, when the tempo has picked up, it ends. However a great way to get the album started. This is followed by the eerie Cemeteries of London and Lost a track with influences of world music.

Next comes 42, the center piece of the album with references to the ghosts and heaven. It starts out slow with piano and Martin's crisp vocals and breaks into a long instrumental with shades of electronic before shifting into an upbeat an peppy mood towards the end. This is followed by couple of twin tracks (Two songs in the same track), Lovers in Japan/Reign of Love with its East Asian influence and Yes/Chinese sleep Chant.
Surprisingly Yes is delightful with touches of Arabic music and low pitch vocals of Martin, something that is not our typical Martin vocals.

The next two tracks may not exactly be my favorites in the album, probably because they are kind of pop than alternative, however are easy and catchy. Viva La Vida, the title track and Violet Hill, the hugely popular pre-release give away song, that used to be played almost every hour on VH1 only a couple of weeks back!

Strawberry Swing, the next track on the CD, is more brighter compared the darker songs preceding with lot of sitar and percussion. This interlude is followed by another twin track, the surreal Death and All His Friends with the entire band singing "I don't want to follow death and all of his friends" and The Escapist.

Apart from the above ten tracks, there are two bonus tracks, Lost?, an excellent acoustic version of the song by the same name and the acoustic version of
Lovers in Japan.

With Viva La Vida, Coldplay has definitely upped their own ante by pushing their own boundaries to create the most perfect album they have released to date and I would give them a 3 and a 1/2 stars. And as one of the commentators put it, "They have come a long way since singing about the colour yellow". For all the fans of alternative rock, it is a definite recommendation from me.

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2 comments so far.

  1. andback June 30, 2008 at 12:46 PM
    Nice review!

    Even in company of metalheads ive been tempted to rubbish coldplay for the falsetto of Chris Martin. But this time around, the band is like wow, totally unrecognizable.

    Indeed its all thanks to Brian Eno, a legend. This album bears his unmistakable mark and sounds almost experimental!

    A friend who is a lead singer in a band explained to me just why the title track of the album is difficult to sing! All equipments are actually off key! Yet it all gels into a symphony.
  2. FreaKo July 1, 2008 at 6:42 PM
    @andback: Thanks for the visit and comment. I have had liked few of his past tracks and wanted to know about this new one! And it completely out of the world as far as Coldplay is concerned.

    I would rather say this a Brian Eno album than a coldplay one... oh well, he has his stamp all over it ;)

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