Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Disc #50: Coldplay (Viva La Vida)

Artist: Coldplay
Album: Viva La Vida or Death And All His Friends
Released by Parlophone in 2008

This album came out shortly after another milestone in my life, the birth of my first child, Lily. Being a new parent, I spent lots of time at home in the first month or so, just being quiet and watching our new baby. This album was often the soundtrack of those moments.

Before I make the next few comments, I want to distinguish the difference between "favourite" and "best". Favourite is a much more subjective adjective, whereas best should be used as a more objective term (though it is still subject to subjectivity, if you will).

In my opinion, this album is by far Coldplay's best work. It has been masterfully composed, compiled, and produced. The songs are intellectually challenging, and if you know me, you are aware that that is a very positive comment. I bore easily of music that isn't challenging to listen to.

I also feel that the band has pushed its experimental limits further than before on this disc. I will give a portion of that credit to the production efforts of Brian Eno, who lent some musical support on X&Y, but has returned here as a co-producer. For all you fans out there, it is rumoured that he is helping produce Coldplay's next release, which should come out later this year.

There are so many highlights to this album, it's hard to know where to start. I can't even pick a favourite song. I think it's a toss-up between "Violet Hill" and "Lost". These two grabbed me the most at first. That being said, every track on this album is amazing. It really is a great joy of mine to put on this album.

If you are not yet a fan of Coldplay (and you all should be), I don't recommend starting with this album. You probably would like it, but as I mentioned earlier, it is challenging to listen to. It's best that you start from the beginning and work your way to Viva la Vida. By the time you get here, you will love it that much more.

As we near the end of the Coldplay reviews, I'd love to hear some feedback from you regarding this band. Do you have a favourite album or song? Does anything about Coldplay remind you of a certain time or event in your life? Do you have a crush on Chris Martin? Anything would be great. I'd love to hear more from the readers.

There are so many facets of this album that are amazing. I've been debating it for several days, but I've finally decided how to score it. On the Mike Jones Scale of Disc Awesomeness, I award this disc, for the very first time, a score of:


I was going to score it a 9.5, just as Parachutes, but it's just so much better in so many ways. I still think that Parachutes is my favourite, and I am more emotionally attached to it, but this album is just too brilliant to score any lower than 10. Well done lads.

Please join me next time as the experiment continues with our final review of Coldplay with Disc #51: Coldplay (Prospekt's March EP).


  1. Do you have a favourite album or song?

    Yes, Viva la Vida is my favorite album (especially if you lump it together with Prospekts March). I think my favorite songs are Fix You and Death and all his Friends.

    Does anything about Coldplay remind you of a certain time or event in your life?

    Yep. I remember spending way more money than we should have to see them in Toronto on their second tour. And how wide-eyed my wife and I were seeing Fix You performed live on the X&Y tour. I have some odd memories of high school relationships surrounding Parachutes, and some much more pleasant memories built with my wife around the more recent albums. I remember listening to Violet Hill on the way up to San Fran with our friends, and saving plastic butterflies from their last tour.

    Do you have a crush on Chris Martin?

    No, but my wife does.

    I'm really excited to hear their next album this year. I'm also happy to see a perfect ten on the blog.

    I also wish we had snagged an extra copy of Left Right Left Right Left for you when we saw them on tour. Maybe I can burn you a copy.

  2. Well, I am new here. I had just found your bWell, I am new here. I had just found your blog, because there was a twitter posting about your reviews, and as I am a huuuuge coldplay fan, I decided to read them. I really enjoyed them all, so I'm gonna answer your questions ^^
    "Do you have a favourite album or song?"
    Yep, my favorite album is A Rush of Blood to the Head... I love all of them, of course, but there's something about AROBTTH that makes me fall in love with it every single time I listen to it. And my favorite song is Clocks. For a hundred reasons, some emotional, but it looks like the song was written for me.
    "Does anything about Coldplay remind you of a certain time or event in your life?"
    Yep, again. It reminds me of my 15 birthday party. Here in Brazil, becoming 15 years old is really important, it's like the change from childhood to adulthood. And as I study piano, I learned to play Clocks on the piano and played for all my freinds and family. Won't forget it. But Coldplay appears in every moment of my life, so if I decided to name all of them, this comment would never end. Anyway, there are two other special songs, that are Speed of Sound and A Message, both from X&Y and followed by each other. The first one always reminds me of my guy best friend, who is actually my "coldplay aprendice". And the second, of my girl best friend.
    "Do you have a crush on Chris Martin?"
    FAIL, but yes. I'm jealous of Gwyneth Paltrow, hahaha. However, I have a crush on Guy Berryman either, so it's kinda complicated...

    REALLY HAPPY to see that your first 10 was for a Coldplay album.
    And as well as Ben, I'm really excited to hear their new album, specially if it's really released in May, because it's my birthday! <3 hahaha...
    Nice blog!
    P.S.: "If you are not yet a fan of Coldplay (and you all should be)" - AGREED!
    P.P.S: sorry for the bible, and sorry for any English mistake I may have made, due to the fact that I'm Brazilian and I'm in the "English learning proccess"

  3. 10!
    This is unprecedented but I believe deserved.
    I really don't know if there is my library which exceeds Viva la Vida either.

    At youth (here in Fergus) we always value loud music, and Lost or other cold play, is a typical favorite of everyone.