Saturday, June 14, 2008

the old king is dead. long live the king!

It would not be wildly inaccurate of me to say that Coldplay get more negative column inches of reportage than almost any other mega-successful music act of the 21st century (save possibly for my own beloved Keane).

Their fourth studio album (from what I have read) has been met by what can only be described as a lukewarm response but as I sit here listening to it for the seventh time since release I am going to nail my colours well and truly to the mast and tell you that it is *brilliant*.

I am not quite sure what there is for people to dislike quite so vehemently. From the superb opening instrumental "Life in Technicolor", "Viva la Vida" fits together as a record much better than anything Coldplay have released before. Whilst it might not have the searing highlights of previous albums, its consistent quality is its strength and this is therefore a much better overall record than, say "X and Y".

"Viva la Vida" builds gently and carefully and rather than a collection of disparate songs, it is harder to determine where one ends and another begins, particularly on the atmospheric and rich first half of the album.

Critics have seen the title track as some sort of lowpoint on this record; I'd argue the reverse. For those of us with pop rather than artistic sensibilities, "Viva la Vida" acts as a soaring centrepiece for this record, reprised mournfully on the gentle final track "Death and All His Friends".

As with previous Coldplay offerings, if one had to pick a criticism it would be in Martin's schoolboy lyrics which, whilst they have improved since "X and Y" (there's no rhyme with the same word in evidence) still lack any significant depth or perspicacity. It's a small gripe though as the superb production and melodies mask any and all lyrical shortcomings.

Simply, this is a tremendous record. As unfashionable as it seems to be to love Coldplay, love them I do and the mere fact I have been unable and unwilling to listen to any other album for three solid days tells you everything you need to know about how great this record really is.

1 Discussions:

Blogger bedshaped said...

Thanks for your thoughts on the album, LB. An interesting read. And nice to see people who have the bollocks to go against the crowd of increasing 'Anti-Coldplay' activists.

I have to admit that I've stopped listening to it. I had it on repeat for two days and although I didn't dislike what I heard, it just wasn't happening for me. I've deliberately given myself a break from it and will pick back up on it shortly to see how I feel about it then.

7:42 PM  

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