Coldplay moves away from their usual radio-friendly soaring anthems, but still score big with their fourth studio album, which is filled with rich instrumental passages, as in the very first track "Life in Technicolor".
The second track "Cemeteries of London" reminds me of soundtrack music from those old spaghetti westerns, but with deep and introspective lyrics:
"God is in the houses and God is in my head... and all the cemeteries in London...
I see God come in my garden, but I don't know what he said,
For my heart it wasn't open..."
Third track "Lost" is a plaintive song, minus a clearly defined chorus, but not missing it for a moment.
This is the point where the album really takes off. Chris Martin's vocals stand out from the muted but beautiful background melody of "42", and then it kicks up a notch by the end. The next two tracks are two-fers, each approximately 7 minutes of classic Coldplay. "Lovers in Japan" flows into the introspective "Reign of Love", and then "Yes" leads in the hidden (mostly instrumental) track "Chinese Sleep Chant". On "Yes", Chris Martin reaches deep down into his vocal range, and pulls out some of his lowest notes ever.
This brings us to the best (and most radio friendly) track on the album. The title track "Viva La Vida" comes closest to mainstream, and is an instant favorite on the first listen. Hot on its heels comes the other single "Violet Hill" which features a guitar solo in the middle before Martin comes back in to ask, among other things, "If you love me, Won't you let me know? "
The short ten-track album closes with "Strawberry Swing" and the melancholy "Death and All His Friends".
Slower, darker and more meditative, yes
Amanda Richards, June 17, 2008
*supposed to mean "Long live the new sound", but I'm open to correction.