Sunday, January 04, 2009

#77 Coldplay, "Viva La Vida"

I used to rule the world
Seas 'd rise when I gave the word
Now in the morning I sleep alone
Sweep the streets I used to own

This is a bit of a compromise position for the song--a year, two, or more from now, I could easily see it as an absolute classic or I could barely if ever listen to it. I do know that I like and appreciate what the group is trying to do here--it's a welcome direction and sound for them, and the strings are undeniably gorgeous. The one thing holding it back is that I like my epics to really soar vocally at some point, and I don't feel like this one ever does. Maybe that's a case of wishing this song was something it isn't instead of appreciating it for what it does, but when it never fails to leave me dying for is some big moment of giant release, some moment where the group--or really, Chris, while singing--just drops restraint and goes gigantic. My moment to swoon, in other woods.

The closest we get is a louder string section and the entrance of some "oh"-ing backing vocals, which are nice, but I want a moment like the "ohho-ohh-ohh-ohhh" followed bye an amped of version of the chorus in U2's "With Or Without You" or the "in the name of love, one night in the name of love" in "Pride (In The Name Of Love)."

I still love "Viva La Vida," though, and there's a reason I'm leaving open the possibility of future classic status: "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For," possibly though not definitely my favorite U2 song, doesn't really have that big swoony moment, so its lack obviously isn't necessarily a dealbreaker. And the strings here really are breathtaking. For right now, and though it's painful to say it, there's something about the vocal part that isn't quite as good as the instrumental for me, which holds "Viva La Vida" back just a little bit.

Find it on: Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends


EuropeCrazy said...

I don't think Chris Martin does soaring so this is as much soaring as you'll get from him :))))

The "ohh-ohhh-oooh" bit near the end is a reasonably anthemic moment and always does it for me. I don't think they'll ever do anything better than this song.

EuropeCrazy said...
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Poster Girl said...

It's like you were reading my notes--I jotted down something just like that about Chris! Yeah, that is the closest the song gets, and it does work pretty well as an equivalent. The strings are so beautiful that any part of the song that highlights them even more has to be a good thing.

Aaron said...


I really like this - but to make it a massive "love" song, I just wanted him to let it fly and just really go hard at it - and it never really does....

I feel the same about the Killers' Human as well...

Poster Girl said...

Aaron, YES! I'm so there with you on the subject of "Human." It's a song I've never loved as much as I've wanted to.