Friday, October 24, 2008

review: viva la vida




well, well. these blokes here on the left, who appear to be looking rather intently into the brightness of my words (hence the sunglasses) are the four guys who comprise the band 'coldplay.' why are they here right now, looking at my blog? well, because shannon and i are going to be seeing them in concert this weekend (sunday night, to be exact), and we are very VERY much looking forward to it. their newest album has been out for over four months now, and the last thing anyone really needs is another review of it, but as i feel myself getting more and more psyched for this show, i need to write about this music, so here goes...


released june 17 of this year, "viva la vida, or, death and all his friends" is, in my opinion, a very good album. not great. but very good. the album starts with a long instrumental piece, which is usually a complete deathwish for a pop album in my opinion, but this one works. it sends a signal to the 'rush of blood to the head' crowd that this is not your old coldplay. the hammered dulcimer gives way to a driving beat which sets the tone for the rest of the album, which is peppered by unusual instrumentation and strong, steady rhythm. this opening track, life in technocolor, gives way to the somewhat eerie cemeteries of london, which contains the lyric, "i see God come in my garden, but i don't know what he said."


to be honest, the same could be said about this album: "i hear coldplay in my speakers, but i don't know what they're saying." they seem a bit bipolar, or at the very least, a.d.d. many of the tracks are made up of two completely different songs, and the lyrics are full of hope in one song ("i have no doubt/one day the sun will come out," from lovers in japan), and then hopelessness in another ("i'm just waiting til the shine wears off," from lost!). and when they aren't talking out of both sides of their mouth, they are singing the unbelievably catchy and equally puzzling title track, which, for my money, is some kind of napoleanesque retelling of the george w. bush presidency.


chris martin's voice is haunting and beautiful to me. Even when he is singing about the melancholy or the downright fatalistic, I can’t help but find hope in his voice. when he sings on 42 (another track with multiple personalities), “time is so short and I’m sure there must be something more” i completely agree with him. he has me convinced with words and hooked with melody. i believe!


for me, the album, while good and not great, is about life. its about saying yes. its about not giving into despair or hate or whatever kind of death shows up in your day to day living. the band declares this in chorus on another of the bipolar tracks, death and all his friends: "no i don't want to battle from the year to end/ i don't want to cycle and recycle revenge/ i don't want to follow death and all of his friends." and so, after many (my itunes says 39) listens to viva la vida, i concur. i don't want to follow death and all his friends. i want to embrace hope. i want to say yes. i want to live the life.

oh, and i want to have a great time at the show on sunday night.

viva la vida,

greg.

3 comments:

Mary said...

i have to say that i disagree...in that I LOVE the newest Coldplay cd. always a fan, for whatever reason i absolutely love the sound of this cd. granted...i haven't sat down and read the lyrics along with the songs...so you're probably right about their songs sending different messages. but truthfully, does a cd have to be all one message? or can ones thoughts go here and there? can we be hopeful and yet have despair? can we love and yet hate? i do...everyday.

i love it...and am so jealous that you are going to the concert.

viva la vida is probably my favorite song for 2008. its true.

i love you! soak in everything on sunday night so you can tell me all the details!

Crafty P said...

oh gosh. i'm jealous. can't wait to hear about it.

don't think you'll be popping up on stage to steal any set lists this time though.

ooo, loving what mary said. see, she's jealous, too. I don't feel so guilty 'bout it now.

greg. said...

mary, i understand the truth of what you say. however, why not make the songs different tracks? i was speaking more about the individual tracks than the cd as a whole. i'm not saying its terrible, but it is weird that so many of the tracks seem to have multiple personalities. for example, listen to 42. starts off like one song, a nice slow ballad type..."those who are dead are not dead/they're just living in my head..." but then morphs into an upbeat type of song: "you thought you might be a ghost/you didn't get to heaven but you made it close..." that's just one example. lovers in japan/reign of love is another. death and all his friends is another. i just find that one of the unifying features of many of these songs is that they have split personalities. but, i digress. bottom line is that you are absolutely correct that good art reflects the diversity of human experience, and this album seems to do that. i didn't know you liked it; i thought you didn't really like coldplay. and christina? i didn't know you were a fan either. wow. well, i will certainly let everyone know how we liked it. i am so so so so so looking forward to it (although i am disappointed that i will be missing part of the steelers game for it).