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Coldplay - Viva La Vida - Capitol

One of the most popular bands in the world is also one of the most maligned bands in the world. There are a lot of people who really hate Coldplay, but it's kind of hard for me to understand why. More workman-like and less arty than Radiohead, and not as spiritual or "deep" as U2, Coldplay occupies some sort of a musical no-man's land that is not completely without merit.

Led by frontman/heartthrob Chris Martin, they write and perform anthemic, catchy, cerebral pop tunes that hold up very well. On Viva La Vida (or Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends – I've seen it both ways), Martin & company branch out, explore some darker emotions, turn up the guitars, and generally experiment a bit without compromising their sound too much. It should quiet the haters down some (or maybe not...) and will most certainly excite and inspire the believers.

Beyond the title track and "Violet Hill" – the first two singles – Viva La Vida boasts some really well done British arena rock, like "Lost" and the strange and beautiful two-songs-within-a-song "Lovers In Japan/Reign In Love". The Brian Eno production is lush as usual, but with a bit more of an edge thanks mostly to the aforementioned guitar gain.

The band took the name of the album (it translates to "live the life") from a Frida Kahlo painting, and is attempting to cement its' legacy with this release. They just may have succeeded...

Written by Dan Reed

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