From the archives this week - holidays and all - but stay tuned for the Top of the year summation late December.
When considering Coldplay's Viva La Vida, my reaction - it's a mixed bag - and definitely took a while to grow on me. "Life In Technicolor" and "Cemeteries of London" are a nice
instrumental-followed-by-regular track opener to this album. "Lost"
throws heavy church-organ grandiose streaks over what would otherwise be
a very classic Coldplay song. "42" follows a less standard structure
and, disappointingly, manages to start sounding fantastic...when it
changes gears with just over a minute left, and just as it starts to get
great, it's all over. "Lovers in Japan/Reign of Love" is a bit long in
the tooth, but manages to work overall. A little trimming would have
fixed it all. The crowning track is "Strawberry Swing" which sounds
like Coldplay & Brian Eno's production technique working best and
like a track Coldplay had been meaning to make for a while now. That
track in particular is warm, cozy, and very evocative - of a warm summer
day on the back porch sipping a glass of lemonade, you name it - it's
just a very well crafted slice of pop-rock heaven.
things about this album? Freedom from retreads (anyone else out there
think that "Speed of Sound" sounded eerily close to being simply
"Clocks, Part 2"?) The bad things? Coldplay's musical aesthetic gets
buried too often under Eno's instrumental tidal waves, to the point
where if you delete the vocals, you wouldn't be sure it was U2 or
Coldplay you were listening to. Surely the lack of Edge's ringing
guitar lines would key the listener to the fact that it isn't U2, but
still, one shouldn't have to make this distinction in the first place.
For album #5, I would hope they self-produce, or if not that, try
someone other than Eno. End result - this isn't necessarily a bad
Coldplay record. But it is not all they are truly capable of. So in
the end, I give it a 6.5 on a scale of 1-10.