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Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends

4.2 out of 5 stars 639 customer reviews

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Audio CD, June 17, 2008
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Editorial Reviews

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To say there has been a lot of anticipation for Coldplay’s fourth album, Viva La Vida, is an understatement. Having enlisted legendary leftfield producer Brian Eno, borrowed their album title from a painting by renowned Mexican artist Frida Kahlo and made tantalising remarks about sonic reinvention, the world has been curious (to say the least) to hear what the ‘new’ Coldplay might sound like. Viva La Vida definitely makes some departures from the band’s usual formula, which happens to be one of the most commercially successful rock-pop blueprints of recent years. The plangent chords, emotive melodies, stadium-rock rhythms and universal lyrical concerns remain, but Martin and co. have gone out on several limbs here, incorporating instrumental tracks ("Life In Technicolour"), using subtle North African and Latin elements ("Yes", "Strawberry Swing"), and overhauling previously strict verse-chorus-verse structures in favour of slightly more avant arrangements. The old Coldplay still shine through (see tracks like "Violet Hill" and the title song) but even their classic sound feels more muscular and confident. The band’s new flourishes, cosmetic and self-conscious as they may be, are enough to make Viva La Vida a welcome break from the old routine --Danny McKenna

People en Español
Cuando Coldplay anunció con bombo y platillo que su cuarto disco, bajo el ambicioso título de Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends, vendría acompañado de la producción de Brian Eno, dos escenarios se convertían en posibilidad: o se trataba de su peor álbum o la obra maestra de su carrera. Afortunadamente, la producción de Eno no lleva a la banda británica a imitar a U2 por ningún momento, y en cambio, el grupo liderado por Chris Martin presenta el mejor disco en su trayectoria, ofreciendo un sonido distinto, en el que por fin se alejan del pianito hartante de sus primeros tres álbumes y suenan como lo que siempre prometieron ser: una de las mejores bandas del mundo. "Life In Technicolor," "Viva la Vida," y sobre todo el tema "Lost!," representan a Coldplay en su momento cumbre. --Ernesto Sánchez (People en Español People en Español)

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 17, 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Wb / Parlophone
  • ASIN: B000RPTQ1C
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (639 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,401 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Coldplay has turned in another solid effort with its 4th studio album, the indecisively-titled "Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends," but they expand their boundaries this time. Gone is the predictability of tightly-wound, highly catchy 4 minute arena pop/rock anthems marching in succession, not to mention the sensitive male singer/songwriter clichés and often dial-by-numbers production values. The British quartet has traded that solid but stagnant formula for artsy experimentation, and the results are commendable, even if their enlisting legendary studio wizard Brian Eno to bolster the LP's ethereal, left-field sound is in and of itself predictable. These songs do not lend themselves to radio playlists in the vein of "Clocks" or "Talk," but the album is their most intriguing and memorable. The results are a little less Phil Collins, a little more Peter Gabriel.

The highly digitized, nearly instrumental "Life In Technicolor" opens the album on a high note with sweeping Middle-Eastern instrumentation and loopy, buoyant beats. Immediately ascertainable is that this is not an album that can safely grace the intercom of the local ShopRite. With hand claps and frothy production values behind a droning, funereal organ, "Lost!" is a poignant, yearning ode to finding salvation and a new lease on life. Accented by just the right amount of electric guitar, the intriguing, atypical track not only rocks and invigorates but finds these talented musicians trying for something new and succeeding, underscoring the album's unexpectedly adventurous direction.
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Format: MP3 Music
And assuming that we had no knowledge of any of Coldplay's previous 3 albums, and assuming that we had no idea of Coldplay's alleged greatness in today's music world. So without any comparison or benchmark, here's what I have to say.

"Life in Technicolor" is so aptly titled. An instrumental arrangement that gradually picks up in volume, texture and excitement, this album opener is so colourful it reminds you of a carnival. It gets your foot tapping and your head nodding. Some sources rumour that this song will be sung in words in Coldplay's next CD. The mood then glooms down when "Cemeteries of London" comes along. Sinister synthesizers flood the atmosphere and mysterious notes tinkle from the piano before the beats enter and the song erupts into a minor-key rock anthem. You'll find yourself singing "la la la la la" in no time. "Lost" bounds in, as track #3, with claps and a bouncy beat. Featuring some of the most intriguing lyrics (either deep or nonsensical will depend on you) - "just because I'm hurting, doesn't mean I'm hurt" and "just because I'm losing, doesn't mean I'm lost" - this song maintains the upbeat tempo throughout.

The mood becomes sombre once again at the beginning of "42". Apparently this is the favourite number of this band's lead singer. Anyway, by the time you finish pondering what makes 42, the number, so likeable, this song takes a sharp turn and rages forward, pounding drums screeching guitars and all. "42" finishes off back where it began - kinda like a fine day turning into a storm and becoming peaceful once again after the storm. Work of art. "Lovers in Japan/Reign of Love" is really 2 songs. "Lovers in Japan" sports a `happy' tune, with racing piano.
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Format: Audio CD
As a fan from Coldplay's very early days (I still have "Parachutes" as one of my favorite albums of the last decade, and I saw the band's second ever US gig, in February 2001 in Portland, OR), I have to admit that I was somewhat apprehensive about the new album, which has been widely touted as Coldplay's 'experimental' album. One of the things touted was that the album would feature sounds recorded in a Barcelona church, as if anyone really cares about that, in the end we just want to hear good songs/a good album. So.... three years after "X&Y", finally comes Coldplay's 4th studio album.

"Viva la Vida or Death and All of His Friends" (10 tracks, 46 min.) starts off with a 1-2 blast of the soaring instrumental "Life in Technicolor" and the equally great "Cemeteries of London". "Lost!" finds Chris Martin pensive ("I May Be Losing/But I'm Not Lost"). The album centers around the two long tracks into the middle: "Lovers in Japan/Reign of Love" (2 separate songs stapled together for whatever reason, with "Lovers in Japan" reminding me of U2's "Where the Streets Have No Name", courtesy of producer Brian Eno) and "Yes", which also features 2 different songs, albeit under the same name. "Viva La Vida" (2nd single, also featured in the iPod commercial, prompting Coldplay to its biggest Billboard Hot 100 success ever at No. 3) is a nice dreamy song. "Violet Hill" (1st single) is for me the best song on the album, even without it being catchy as such. The album's closer "Death and All of His Friends" crashes in after a pensive beginning and also includes the 'hidden' track "Chinese Sleep Chant", which reprises the"Life in Technicolor" theme, and a nice way to round off the album.

In all, this album makes clear that this is not the Coldplay of yesteryear. Even "X&Y" sounds dated by this.
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