Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends
Coldplay's new CD, Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends, is definitely a different sound for Coldplay--but different isn't necessarily a bad thing. This album is much harder, a rock/electronic song as opposed to the lighter acoustic songs they normally produce. The change sounds pretty cool.
I was intrigued to listen to the CD after reading the feature article in Rolling Stone on Chris Martin. Do you think it's strange to just focus on Martin as opposed to the band? When XY came out, they featured the band, but this time it was Martin in a very cool costume. He looks creepy but the image was amazing. The interview was very informative as well.
In the article, Martin conveys that Coldplay wanted to do something different. They wanted to improve their sound, so they hired a new producer who was brutally honest with them. The producer ended up saying something about them being whiny and how they always used the same tricks in their songs. I think one of the best ways to improve is to get criticism like that. If someone just saying, "you're amazing, you're amazing," you won't improve as much. So, I can definitely see a new set of eyes, a new influence on this record.
As for good tracks to check out, I'm a big fan of "Strawberry Swing." It has this really cool electric guitar melody that is very mesmerizing. It's very different for them, but it's great. Certain songs like that or "Life in Technicolor" or "Cemetaries of London" break free of the Coldplay mode, but others like "42" or "Lost!" return back to the slower beats they like to make. The singles for this album are "Violet Hill" and "Viva la Vida." Check them out and see what you think.
The cover of the album is pretty interesting too. Here is the explanation from Wikipedia: "Viva la Vida takes its name from a painting by 20th century Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, and translates as "Long Live Life" in Spanish. The album's artwork features the painting Liberty Leading the People (La Liberté guidant le peuple) by French painter Eugène Delacroix, commemorating the July Revolution of 1830." Interesting, huh?
I think the title is an interesting juxtaposition--life and death. If you listen to just the sounds on the album, it can convey these contrasts. I think it's very intelligent, as I think Coldplay is an intelligent band. Their sound is smart, their ideas and lyrics can be smart. It is apparent. I know a lot of people are hesitant to like Coldplay, but they're coming out with some really great stuff. It's worth checking out.
Lastly, I love to see bands change to different sounds and go through different phases. Sometimes bands take weird or bad directions, but I encourage and applaud the band/artist who goes out on a limb to change and be different. They are risking sales, fans, their reputation, etc. for the sake of their art. I commend that. That's bold, that's brave, and that's what creating is all about. So, go Coldplay.
What do you think of Viva la Vida and Death and All His Friends? Or the Chris Martin interview in Rolling Stone? Any of the singles or tracks?