Album Review: Coldplay - Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends

As one of the biggest bands of the decade, Coldplay has given us countless hits without ever compromising their integrity as a band. In recent years, singer Chris Martin has managed to raise a child, collaborate with some of Hip-Hop’s biggest names (Jay-Z, Kanye West) and settle down with Coldplay to record their fourth studio album, Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends.After the release of 2005’s X&Y, which saw as many negative reviews as positive, Coldplay decided to scrap all previously conceived notions of the band and take a new direction. Working with sonic mastermind Brian Eno has only raised Coldplay’s stock. The acclaimed producer (best known for U2’s The Joshua Tree) did a seamless job capturing the landscape of Coldplay’s sound. Viva La Vida kicks off with “Life in Technicolor,” an ambient instrumental that still boasts the same extravagant nature as any other band that you would find headlining a stadium or festival. “Lost!” features a drum cadence similar to a military march, also a recurring theme in songs like the lead single “Violet Hill” and “Viva La Vida.” Their instrumental capabilities have seemed to grow tenfold from X&Y, and having Eno on board has vastly improved their sound. The Martin-penned lyrical content on the album is spiritually heavy with songs about life, death, heaven and hell. Though the subject matter is a little bleak, the songs remain hopeful and uplifting. Also changed for Viva La Vida are Chris Martin’s vocals, with his previous falsetto now replaced by a deeper pitch. “Cemeteries in London” and “Yes” are good showcases of the new tone, while other tracks such as “42” and “Strawberry Swing” assert the classic Coldplay sound we have grown to love.The album’s closer, “Death and All of His Friends,” is simply one of the best songs Coldplay has written. From the perfectly executed crescendo to the uplifting chant, there could not have been a better way to conclude this album.One thing that has not changed about Coldplay is the fact that they are still writing timeless songs for large crowds and venues. Their ability to transcend genres keeps them a few steps ahead of the game and the fact that superstars like Jay-Z and Kanye would beef over a Chris Martin cameo on their respective albums (see “Big Brother) is a testament to Coldplay's legacy.Viva La Vida has perfected the Coldplay formula and is a well-crafted piece that will appease both old and new fans alike. Although some may feel they missed a step with X&Y, Viva La Vida has put them right back on track.

Check out Chris Martin of Coldplay in Kanye West's "Homecoming"Coldplay's video for "Violet Hill"