I'm ok with that. People keep asking me what I think of the new Coldplay album and it's so hard for me to describe it briefly, so I won't. Here is my detailed review of the new Coldplay album, Viva la Vida (or Death and all his Friends).
The more I listen to this CD, the more I fall in love with it. I have to be honest and say that the first listen scared me. I didn't realize that I was listening to it out of order and the first 3 songs were just not what I was wanting to hear. It's a very different sound for Coldplay. But, I decided to plug through and keep listening.
This is one of those albums where I can hear something new each and every time I listen to it. I've probably listened to it completely 20 times and yesterday, for the first time, I realized that the basic melody of the opening instrumental track (Life in Technicolor) is played at the end of another track, later on the album (Death and all his Friends).
There are two versions of the same song (Lost) and, at first, I thought that was kinda lame. They could have put a whole 'nother track in there and had 12 tracks, instead of 11. But, again, upon repeat listenings, I think both versions are really cool. I like the more upbeat one (Lost!) than the softer, more ballad-y one (Lost?).
Chris breaks away from his trademark falsetto many times on this album and it's a refreshing change. It's also sexy as hell. Man, he's got a great voice. But I digress. So let's break it down...
1. Life in Technicolor
Ok, this is the opening track of the album and a full instrumental track. There's not much to say about it. It's pretty and it's catchy. There are some vocal "whoa"s in there near the end.
2. Cemeteries of London
The first track to break away from the falsetto. He starts out singing kinda low and it's a bit of a shock at first. Of course, he goes back into his higher range fairly quickly into the song. The first verse only has a little tinkling piano in the background, which lends itself to build up a sense of "where is this going". Then it suddenly breaks out into a solid, fast drum beat, which might be my favorite drum beat of the entire album. Easy to sing along with. First mention of God, but not nearly the last. But, that doesn't bug me at all :)
The upbeat version of this song. I adore the lyrics to this one, they remind me very much of Everything's Not Lost - "Just because I'm losing, doesn't mean I'm lost". "Just because I'm hurting, doesn't mean I'm hurt". I really love that. I like the drum beat in this one a lot, as well. I like any song that makes me bounce my head to the rhythm. I've seen this performed live twice on TV and they really rock it.
This ranks up there as one of the best tracks on the album. It starts out with a lone piano and Chris's lilting, soft voice. A gorgeous melody. Another death-themed song (there are a lot on this album, but it's anything but depressing). After the first verse, we add in some strings in the background. Still gorgeous. Makes me close my eyes and just relax every time I hear it. It's almost comforting. Then suddenly, out of nowhere, it breaks into a flat-out rocker. Zack loves the fast part of the song and sings along every time at the top of his lungs "You thought you might be a ghost, you thought you might be a ghost. You didn't get to heaven but you made it close". The guitar is very prominant in the second part of the song. There's a triplet drum beat following each line of the fast part that lends itself to a full on clap-along. It's impossible not to hit my steering wheel in tune, or clap - it's fantastically catchy. It seamlessly ends back with a repeat of the beginning's slow, beautiful verse. LOVE this song.
5. Lovers in Japan
Not one of my favorite tracks, but still very good. Very upbeat. Piano, strings, guitar - it's got it all. This is the first of 3 tracks that is multifaceted, as in it starts out as one song and turns into a completely different one. You could say that 42 does that as well, but the 3 tracks I'm talking about go to a whole 'nother level and are over 6 minutes long each. Don't let that scare you - they are all very good. So back to Lovers in Japan. I think my favorite part of this song is the piano. 4 minutes in, it fades off and it sounds like the song ends. Then there's a beautiful piano solo of tremelos and chords. Another 'close your eyes and soak it all in moment". Chris sings a low range verse here and it has a nice fade out at the end.
If I was forced to name a favorite track, this may just be it (it's tied very closely with the title track, which I can listen to over and over and never get sick of). It starts with an eager string intro, which reminds me VERY much of the beginning of I Am The Walrus. Add guitars, a single note on the piano, more strings, the drums and OH MY GOD Chris is singing the deepest I've ever heard and I completely enthralled. "If you'd only say yes..." Ok, I say yes. YES YES YES hahaha. This is the longest track of the album and another that blends into a completely different song. My favorite part of the track is the little bit between the verse and the chorus - just drums and a funky string solo. The second half of the song is basically instrumental and it's rockin' I can't wait to see this one live!
7. Viva la Vida
Almost a perfect song. From beginning to end, I love every second of it. Any rock song that starts with some kick-ass strings is a good song, in my opinion. The verses have a great sing-along melody, so does the chorus. I can already hear the entire arena singing along with the 'whoas' near the end - it's going to be amazing. I don't have to write much about this track because it's awesome and I have yet to find anyone who has heard it that doesn't like it. Even people who 'hate' Coldplay, love this song. Oh, I said almost perfect? I'd like it if it were longer ;)
8. Violet Hill
This was the first track that was released a few months ago and it's sucked me in every time I've heard it. Chris Martin said he's had the first line of the song written for 10 years, but never knew where to go with it. Another track that starts out very simply with only piano and Chris. When the guitar enters, it is much stronger than any Coldplay song I've heard. It's a downright rock-and-roll song. Plus, there's a very veiled reference to Fox News and Idiot Bush, which is always welcomed by me.
9. Strawberry Swing
Interesting song. Starts out with this upbeat, tinkling guitar solo. Drums fade in, then come the vocals. A very light song. I really love the line "It's such...it's such a perfect day." It always makes me take in a deep breath and appreciate whatever it is that I'm doing (usually driving). I really like the lyrics on this one. It's not a song that I can appreciate when I'm prepping at work because this song lends itself to a very close listen and appreciation of the subtleties of it and I can't pay attention to details when I'm working.
10. Death and all his Friends
This was the very first track I heard when the album came out (other than the two early releases, Violet Hill and the title track). Now, I realize why I didn't like it at first. I thought, how on earth is this a good way to start an album? Well, it's not and they didn't start the album with this track. It's a nice way to come to an end. It begins with a quiet piano/Chris verse (it's a pattern). Out of nowhere, it crescendos into a nice beat and guitar lead. This part of the song also includes Chris's favorite lyric on the album "I don't want to cycle, recycle revenge" - interesting. The track ends with a repeat of the opening instrumental song and an almost whispered final verse, which puts actual lyrics to the instrumental, which I found pretty cool.
The slower version of the earlier track. It's a very nice denouemont (look it up) and I think that was their entire point of putting it at the end. How do you think it starts? Oh with a piano and Chris? You're brilliant. It's a gorgeous song and the perfect ending to a great album.