[6] Coldplay, ‘Viva La Vida’


As the opening strings stab, Junior vouches, “It’s my song,” which just about crowns a vexing couple of weeks for Chris Martin. That’s Junior and Joe Satriani on his tail. Joe’s beef is that the melody of the verse borrows a widdly guitar part of his, and while you can’t deny the similarities it’s tough to call it a steal. At any rate, ‘Viva La Vida’’s strength is a pulsating string sound and a chorus you can shine your shoes with.

After the complacent, sloppy muck of X&Y, I wasn’t expecting great things of Coldplay, and Viva La Vida’s lead single ‘Violet Hill’ wasn’t exactly a curveball – but, once you got past the throwback mis-step of ‘Cemeteries Of London’, the album turned out to be a real gem. There’s a switch halfway through fourth track ‘42’ where the band relaxes, tries on some new threads for size and bangs out beauties to the end. It’s tempting to call it the work of Brian Eno and, even if his hand was only a guiding one, he can take some credit that the album is succinct, moving, interesting and brave – in relative terms, at least. The title track is its beating heart (albeit a heartbeat after some mild exercise), a stirring tale of a great leader fallen and shamed. Neil reckons it’s about Tony Blair.

Junior is “woah-oh-OH-OH-oh”ing within a bar or two, pre-empting the chant before the final chorus. Perhaps it was at the start in her first draft.

5 thoughts on “[6] Coldplay, ‘Viva La Vida’

  1. This is a rare song for me. I was struck by ambivalence right away, then came to loathe it after a few hearings. The pain grew much worse, during a period working in an office, where someone played the album non-stop, in between playing XFM when they were playing this single. Then, suddenly I reached saturation point of hate and the tide began to change. Now I’ve heard it so often that I’ve actually come to like it. I can sing every word.

    The last time this happened was Sweet Thing by Mick Jagger which was played non stop over a period of three months by my next door neighbour in Nantes in 1993. Fascinating stuff, I think you’ll agree.

  2. I don’t get it, Jack. Are you slagging this off? Binge tells a lovely little story of the long road to loving ‘Viva La Vida’, and you’d prefer not to read it?

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