Coldplay – Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends

Artist: Coldplay
Album: Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends
Release Date: Out Now

Being hugely successful does not necessarily equal being hip – ask U2. Not that being hip is something Coldplay could ever be accused of. Despite being one of the best known British bands, Coldplay have always had their detractors. With their public schoolboy demeanour they are something of an easy target and their name is often a byword for middle-of-the-road and boring. They have recently been criticised for endorsing an iconic computer brand which is seen by many as a symbol of corporate capitalism, an act that for many contradicts their outspoken support for worthwhile causes. Frontman Chris Martin’s worthiness is the primary reason many find him and his band intolerable.

But do-gooding aside, such sniffy attitudes towards their music may be a little unfair given that some of it has been (dare I say it?) quite good, if somewhat predictable. Given the limited success of British music across the Atlantic in recent times, perhaps it is time Coldplay were given a bit more credit.

When a band are four albums down you would hope that they might take a few more risks; hiring David Bowie and Talking Heads collaborator, and reknowned experimenter, Brian Eno as producer, is often a step in the right direction. This seems to have paid off as the arrangements and rhythms on ‘42’ and ‘Yes’ are more intriguing than we have become accustomed to with Coldplay. Often the act of branching out into a more experimental vein is dreaded by those with a commercial interest in the product, but there is enough in songs such as ‘Violet Hill’ and the title track to keep the record company and radio stations happy for now.

Those hoping for the lighters-in-the-air, sing-along anthems of A Rush of Blood to the Head and X&Y may be disappointed, but for the unconvinced this is arguably their most interesting record to date. After all, it is these people who Coldplay are yet to win over, and those who are already converted will surely buy it anyway.

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