The Bottom Line
If it's possible, "Viva La Vida" seems to indicate that Coldplay are just continuing to get better. On this lead single from Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends, the band manage to wrap all of their virtues in a nice, neat package here and then push forward into greater lyrical grace and a perfectly balanced instrumental tone. Coldplay deserve to be mentioned with the greatest pop and rock bands of all time.
- Grand sweep of the lyrics
- Chris Martin's unmistakeable voice
- Instrumental arrangement with just the right stroke of grandiosity
- No negatives here
- Written by Guy Berryman, Jonny Buckland, Will Champion, and Chris Martin
- Produced by Coldplay, Brian Eno, and Markus Dravs
- Released May 2008
Guide Review - Coldplay - "Viva La Vida"
Often with a popular and accomplished performer or band, it is possible to tell a particular song is their recording by the distinctive voice of a vocalist or the instrumental sound of the group. With Coldplay, it is something as ethereal and hard to pin down as the feel of their music. From the opening of the strings on "Viva La Vida," this is undoubtedly a Coldplay song.
"Viva La Vida" soars in with a grandiose instrumental arrangement and sweeping lyrics detailing the pain of being deposed from a lofty position. The big sound of the song constantly verges on becoming overblown, but Coldplay know how to walk the tightrope perfectly. Bells and chimes and orchestral swells are all there on the chorus, but Chris Martin's voice still pierces through like a clarion call. Lyrically, the pain of the protagonist is clear, but the sweep of words about Jerusalem bells, Roman cavalry, and Saint Peter give "Viva La Vida" an air of intelligence rare in today's most popular pop songs.
Coldplay have laid out the perfect carpet here to lead fans to the album Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends. "Viva La Vida" is already roaring into the pop top 10 and looks to be the band's biggest pop hit in the US yet. The success is well deserved. This song is timeless.