Sunday, June 22, 2008

2008 is the year when Coldplay ruled the world

Last week I read a news story in one of the UK newspaper websites where Chris Martin did an interview with BBC Radio 4's 'Front Row' programme, and two minutes into the interview, Chris said something like (and I'm paraphrasing here), "I don't feel comfortable with the questions that you are asking," and walked out.

I sat there and thought to myself, 'Chris Martin guy is not playing the game. How refreshing.'

Along comes the new Coldplay album and everyone anticipates that it's gonna be a load of old cobblers (the American translation: "a pile of crap"). However, not one for name-dropping, but the god-like Brian Eno produced the album (on the liner notes he's also credited for 'Sonic landscapes'), and when you read the credit, you can't help but crack a smile.

Track one, 'Life in Technicolour' starts off all ambient keyboards, then on comes some spagetti western acoustic guitar that's heavily treated. Suddenly you begin to think, 'Wait a minute, isn't this a homage to Simple Minds' See The Lights?'

As the songs unfold, you can feel of a church-like or majestic choir or orchestral atmosphere. The liner notes say the album was recorded in a bakery, a nunnery, a magic shop and a church. It's easy to name-drop other bands like U2, Simple Minds and Pink Floyd, however, this album is more Roger Waters than Bono.

Hold up, I'm now listening to track 5, 'Lovers In Japan/Reign of Love', and it vocally does sound like vintage U2, but the electronic soundscapes are very reminscent of Simple Minds doing session work with Brian Eno. The track has a military ballad vibe to it that is rather beautiful.

This is a lush album, and yet a brave one at that for Coldplay. In the past I've never taken Coldplay seriously, although their last album 'X&Y', did stand out, particularly that Kraftwerk track, 'Talk'.

But back to the new album... Track 6, 'Yes' kicks off with some soothing strings, then wanders into Pink Floyd territory via 'Darkside of the Moon' and 'Wish You Were Here'. I swear I could hear David Gilmore playing guitar on this song. Are those violins I hear? Interesting composition.

"I used to rule world" sings Chris Martin on the stunning title track 'Viva La Vida'. This has to be the knockout track on the album. I first heard this track on the Apple advert and it blew my mind.

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