Monday, June 30, 2008

ALBUM: Viva la vida

We're really sorry about the sporadic posting lately. We're trying to figure out some hosting issues, and once we do it'll be smooth sailing from there. Thanks for hanging with us.

So this is kind of a confessionary post. I've never really been much of a Coldplay fan. I can't really say why, I just haven't. I think a lot of their songs are actually really pretty, but whenever I sat down and started to listen to an entire album I'd get bored somewhere around halfway through and move on.

So rewind to a month or two ago when Coldplay was giving away Violet Hill on their website for free. I downloaded it, listened to it, and was immediately surprised. I really liked what I was hearing. No, really liked it. It had a backbone that I'd never heard from these guys before, and I just couldn't stop humming that punchy guitar line from the bridge. That song made it into my regular rotation after that, and for the first time ever I found myself anticipating a Coldplay album release.

Now it's been a couple weeks since 'Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends' came out and I've had some good quality time to spend with the album. And I can honestly say that this is one of the best albums I've heard all year, which is as exciting to me as it is surprising.

The album seems to be just what I needed to get me off the fence about these guys. Right from the arena-ready opening riffs of Life in Technicolor, Viva La Vida seems to promise that there will not be the mid-record doldrums I've had to weather in the past - in fact, these songs almost seem to have been written with the finished album in mind, moving from one to the next with a sweeping sense of design and purpose, guided deftly by Brian Eno's beautiful production. Now, that's not to say that these songs don't stand well on their own - because they do. Just listen to the title track, the newest iTunes sweet-heart song for an example. (And as college-kid-Mac-pop as it is for me to say it, I really do like that song.) Other favorites range from the beefy and beat-heavy Lost, to the crescendoing 42, to the anthemic closer, Death and All His Friends. And yes, I'm still loving Violet Hill. In between all of these great songs, there are several musical themes that fade in and out, tying the parts into a cohesive whole - a whole that is really rather breathtaking when taken all together.

So why is this a confessionary post? Mostly because I'm pretty sure I've bad-mouthed this band before, and I know for a fact that I've issued more than a few dismissive snorts when hearing them discussed (I really do try to not be a music snob, I swear) - and I'm submitting this as my official declaration that I was wrong and that "I like Coldplay". Do with it what you will.

from the album Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends (Amazon/iTunes)


dancethemagic said...

I just purchased this CD from the Record Exchange, and I am also in love. My current favorites are Viva La Vida and Strawberry Hill. Thanks for posting on this one.

Logg said...

I know I've bad mouthed Coldplay before and I remember who I was driving with when I snubbed their suggestion to put in Coldplay.
As long as we're apologizing, sorry Tyler. I like Coldplay.

Jessica Tingey said...

I'm glad to see you've come around - I knew it was only a matter of time. Is this album not refreshingly and extraordinarily genius?
I'm going with my family to see them in a few weeks in Vegas. They put on a fantastic show!

Moranda Fielding said...

Mr. Tobler,
Are you telling me that you weren't sold on Coldplay when Brian Rogers performed "Yellow" at that Java-coffee-shop-place you guys used to play at in Foothill Ranch circa 2001? hehehehe. I know I was!

On a side note: keep up the postings, I love this site! I always knew you were a music guru (evidenced by the library of CD cases stored in the Ford Explorer) and I'm enjoying your expertise as a critic.