Year 4, Day 1: Coldplay – Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends
- Life in Technicolor
- Cemeteries of London
- Lovers in Japan/Reign of Love
- Viva la Vida
- Violet Hill
- Strawberry Swing
- Death and All His Friends
About the Album
Viva la Viva or Death and All His Friends or known better as Viva la Vida, is the fourth studio album from British alternative rockers, Coldplay. The album was recorded from November of 2006 through April of 2008. The album was released on June 12 2008 through Parlophone Records and Capitol Records. The album’s cover features the painting Liberty Leading the People by Eugène Delacroix. The album reached number one on numerous charts worldwide including landing at number one on the United States’ Billboard 200. The album is certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), selling over 2 million copies in the United States alone. The album won Best Rock Album at the 2009 Grammy Awards.
Thoughts on the Album
In honor of Coldplay headlining Super Bowl 50 this past Sunday (February 7th 2016), I figured to lead off Day 1 of the fourth year with some Coldplay. Of course I obviously picked their fourth album on purpose in honor of the fourth year of the project. Obviously. Just kidding, it was purely coincidental.
Coldplay‘s fourth album, Viva la Vida, while one of my lesser played albums in my music library is still one of the good ones in it. Produced by the legendary, Brian Eno, the album is an amalgamation of different musical styles and genres. The album is a rock album and more specifically described as alternative rock, art rock, indie pop, and pop rock with influences of dream pop, art pop, and baroque pop. This album when compared to their first three, contrasts wildly. The titled track, Viva la Vida, features an orchestra. The track Violet Hill features distorted guitar riffs combined with bluesy undertones.
The sound of the album is filled with atmospheric elements thanks to the production of famed producer, Brian Eno. Take for example the work on the title track, Viva la Vida. Viva la Vida is an melodic epic of sorts with a lot of strings. The music fits perfectly for the song, and hits all the right notes. Structurally, the song is brilliant and builds up to an epic climax that is complete with a church choir and bells. Frontman Chris Martin’s vocals on the track are even better than the first three Coldplay albums. It was obvious that the title track was destined to land at number one on the Billboard pop/rock charts. The track exudes an air of intelligent songwriting, originality, and creativity… but has enough “umph” and bombast to make it a commercial success. The chorus is ever bit as catchy.
As Viva la Vida lifts you up, the following track, Violet Hill is more brooding and dark. A song that is laced with and led by piano riffs, is accompanied by distorted electric guitar chords and riffs. Not to mention, a pretty mean guitar solo.
The double track, Lovers in Japan/Reign of Love is an excellent example of contrast. Lovers in Japan features some racing piano riffs and a more lighter/happier tune, whereas as Reign of Love is more soothing and tranquil. Martin’s vocals on Reign of Love are gentle and relaxing and are cradled by some soft piano riffs and some warm atmospheric synthesizer riffs.
The album ends with the memorable Death and All His Friends (which features the hidden track, The Escapist). I felt like Death and All His Friends starts off pretty slow, almost lulling me to sleep with a gentle lullaby. But the song just build and builds… and builds into a soaring crescendo. The album bids you farewell with a reprise of the first track Life in Technicolor. All I know is, it was like the album wanted me to press play again.
Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends is different from the previous three Coldplay albums. I’ve always been a big believer in that “different isn’t always bad”. In this case it’s not. Sometimes, in order to advance as a band, you need expand your horizons and sound. It’s a different Coldplay experience from their first three albums, and different experience from their next three. But it was definitely an enjoyable listening experience.