The Viva La Vida (song) meaning thread!

mattypclaret

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actually the "feel the fear in my enemys eyes" could fit because they crusified him because they were scared of what he could do, and that the people would worship him.

although it wouldnt work because he did not have enemys personaly, so he wouldnt say that would he.

the line sounds like someone enjoying the power. n that hardly sounds like christ.
 

ultraman

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I think JohnTitor has a good point - but the French Revolution interpretation is also correct.

The lyrics are definitely derived from the French Revolution theme, after the analysis I think it's very hard to discredit that.

But in the overall context of the album and Coldplay's work, the song's message could be to change the current governmental climate and, for lack of better words, join the revolution. Interesting :)
 

miking193

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THe Devil the song is from Satin perpespective
If we analize the lyrics, the song has obvious biblical references and I think it's a song about Lucifer>

I used to rule the world
Seas would rise when I gave the word
Now in the morning I sweep alone
Sweep the streets I used to own


Biblically Who rules the current age the devil. In Job he has power of the elements. At the end of this age he'll be cast out alone in hell, the streets part only fits if the whole church is raptured out, then again he won't be alone, or the earth will be destroyed. Basically the streets line dosen't fit my theory nicely.

I used to roll the dice
Feel the fear in my enemy's eyes
Listen as the crowd would sing,
"Now the old king is dead, long live the king!"
One minute I held the key
Next the walls were closed on me
And I discovered that my castles stand
Upon pillars of salt, pillars of sand


First 2 lines fit Satin a gambler, provoker of fear. King is dead refrence to the slain Christ, then long live refrence to his reserection and accension. The key he held, again he used to be lord of this planet, the walls cave in on him are from when Jesus said it is finished on the cross, to the end of the world, when it will be destroyed and Satin is cast into the lake of fire, all this material reality of Earth is a temporary existence compared to the eternity of hell he's chosen.

I hear Jerusalem bells a ringing
Roman Cavalry choirs are singing
Be my mirror my sword and shield
My missionaries in a foreign field
For some reason I can't explain
Once you know there was never, never an honest word
That was when I ruled the world


The never honest word, right to the garden of eden and the deception to Eve, the fall of man, and entrence of sin, and sin nature. Which has domanted existence to this day. Again who rules this world Satin.

It was the wicked and wild wind
Blew down the doors to let me in
Shattered windows and the sound of drums
People couldn't believe what I'd become
Revolutionaries wait
For my head on a silver plate
Just a puppet on a lonely string
Oh who would ever wanna be king?


Wind, one of the titles of the deivl is prince of the air. People couldn't believe what he become, refrence to those who worshiped him the Anitchrist, will be shocked to see this being of light, and beauty and intelligence, on his day of judgement, his true awful and hideous nature will be shown, and people horrified to see him as he truly is. Revolutionaries in the book of Revelations the matarys cry out how long till they are avenged, they are the rebels of his rule, who want his head for theirs. A puppet is refrence to the anti chirst, the last line he's seeking pity.

thanks for reading, let me know what you think
[email protected]
 

claudiaidm

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Whatever it means, the lyrics just don't fit the rythm... when I heard the title "viva la vida" and the rythm of the song, i thought it was gonna be a song about life, its wonders, its good and pleasant moments... never though it was gonna be about Jesus, religion, a dictator etc
 

jpmezart

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first he says "saint peter won't call my name" and then he says "st. peter WILL call my name" but i don't think that when he says "won't call my name" it means that he (the singer) is a sinner(as some of you say) but that st. peter denied jesus three times as he was gonna be crusified.:)
 

captain_rendezvous

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I didn't have enough time to read through this whole post, but from what I've seen, most people seem to be trying to pinpoint an exact historical event for the song to be about...
My personal opinion is that it's much more general of a "revolution" song
If anyone is familiar with Carl Orff's Carmina Burana, and more specifically O Fortuna, and the whole idea of The Wheel of Fortune, then you might already understand what I'm talking about. The Wheel of Fortune depicted the rise and fall of kingdoms, from the revolutionary stage (spring), through the ruling stage (summer), into the declining stage (autumn), ending with the defeated stage (winter). Orff's Carmina Burana follows the same cycle, starting in winter and following around through the seasons until it returns to winter once more.
Obviously Viva la Vida is not in the same format or anything like that, but I think the general sense of the fact that Viva la Vida, or "Long live life," as I think it's supposed to be translated (I know the Spanish translation is simply Live the life), is paired with "Death and all His Friends" in the album title is very significant for such an interpretation. The Wheel of Fortune is also frequently used as a metaphor for a person's life.
Now, all this might just be crazy rambling without much of a point, but what I'm really trying to say is that there is: 1) too much ambiguity in the lyrics themselves to justify a single historical or religious incident, 2) too much symbolism in the words themselves that pull in too many directions, and 3) that there are enough theories that seem plausible that one single answer is not enough to fill all the cups...
I guess the only real way to settle this dispute is for Chris Martin to tell us for sure...
 

Long Live Life

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While I think that there are some very religious phrases and undertones to this song, I don't think they are meant religiously at all. Given the broader scope of the song and the fact that there are several phrases that just don't fit in with the religious interpretations, I think that it is more likely a morality tale about power.

It's about absolute power corrupting absolutely. Taking power violently and by force ends with it being taken from you violently and by force. Abuse of power and desire for more end in revolution and violence. Childoftheunderworld I think said it beautifully. There are elements in here that refer to a host of historical figures that held great power and sway and all of them were swept aside in their turn.

It is interested when taken in light of world events at this time. Gordon Brown coming replacing Tony Blair as Prime Minister of England. The elections here in the United States where Bush will be replaced by someone and the general unhappiness of the public at how he ran things. Political turmoils surrounding the removal of Saddam Hussein in Iraq. There are many places right now where the "old king is dead" and "long live the [new] king" is being played out.

Throughout it there is the feeling of the fickleness of the masses and how quickly they can turn on you. The care that is needed as a ruler, especially if you got your power through violent means.

There also seems to be the idea of sorrow at ones past actions and forgiveness. The 2 final repetitions of the chorus are identical except that in the first one he knows that St. Peter WON'T call his name. Then in the 2nd repetition he says that St. Peter WILL call his name. It seems that this person has come to understand that the things they have done were wrong in some way and they feel sorry for that. This could go back to Napoleon and several kings mentioned who were exiled or imprisoned after their defeat and had plenty of time to think about things. This person became penitant. It's almost as if they are approaching their death and they are realizing that their life may not have been this great thing and they are asking forgiveness for it. Could this be a final prayer, recounting their life and trying to change their heart?

The music is incredible and no matter the true meaning of the lyrics, this is indeed a very powerful song.
The imagery of the album cover is related I think and not a coincidence. Wasn't it about the July 1830 deposition of Charles X of France? See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/July_Revolution

Only Chris Martin could be gifted enough to write a song about such a heavily historical theme and construct such a wonderful and beautiful song around it.
 

bmn

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I believe this song is based on Napoleon Bonaparte

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

he was ruler intill his armys lost at russia making him an exiled man
the seas are a reference to the defeat of britin were the seas were the only armour
mouring alone he is exiled
sweep the streets i dont noe

I used to roll the dice
Feel the fear in my enemy's eyes
Listen as the crowd would sing:
"Now the old king is dead! Long live the king!"
One minute I held the key
Next the walls were closed on me
And I discovered that my castles stand
Upon pillars of salt, pillars of sand

I rolled the dies is his mistakes on the battle field
He was supreme rule so the kingdoms feared his rule
the sang his take over of the french kingdom
he was general the key and walls were his lost in russia russia was the undefeated wall
the castle was his army pillars of slat was regret and pillars of sand was weakness

I hear Jerusalem bells are ringing
Roman Cavalry choirs are singing
Be my mirror my sword and shield
My missionaries in a foreign field
For some reason I can not explain
Once you've gone there was never, never an honest word
That was when I ruled the world

the bells and sings was the celebration of his lost kingdom
my mirror sword and shield is him asking french to help him
missionary is self explanatory
the once you've gone " his army" never in an honest word "not possible to defeat the Russian in the middle of winter as well as not trusting his own judgment"
when i ruled the world he lost his kingdom he had Europe Asia and Africa

t was the wicked and wild wind
Blew down the doors to let me in.
Shattered windows and the sound of drums
People could not believe what I'd become
Revolutionaries Wait
For my head on a silver plate
Just a puppet on a lonely string
Oh who would ever want to be king?

wind and blew doors down was the winters of Russia so his army lost moral
Shattered windows is the beginning of the french revolution and the people saw his lust of power
Revolutionaries Wait for him to be killed and him to be presented on a silver plate
the puppet and who would want to be king is the end of his rule are the revolution

I know Saint Peter won't call my name
he knew he would die and never get to heaven for all the evil things he did



It all fits dosent it?
 

bmn

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Um guyz.

The song is obviously about King Louis XVI of France. France was extremely powerful at that time and then the revolutionaries came along and such because he wasn't a good king. Notice the French Flag on the Album cover.
 

mistro

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You are wrong wrong unless you though it was about just about plane old revolutionaries.

"Bassist Guy Berryman explained to Q magazine July 2008 about this song that features lyrics about cavalries, missionaries and kings: "It's a story about a king who's lost his kingdom, and all the album's artwork is based on the idea of revolutionaries and guerrillas. There's this slightly anti-authoritarian viewpoint that's crept into some of the lyrics and it's some of the payoff between being surrounded by governments on one side, but also we're human beings with emotions and we're all going to die and the stupidity of what we have to put up with every day. Hence the album title."
Q magazine asked Chris Martin about the lyric on this song "I know Saint Peter won't call my name." The Coldplay lead singer replied: "It's about… You're not on the list. I was a naughty boy. It's always fascinated me that idea of finishing your life and then being analyzed on it. And it's that runs through most religions. That's why people blow up buildings. Because they think they're going to get lots of virgins. I always feel like saying, Just join a band (cackles head off). That is the most frightening thing you could possibly say to somebody. Eternal damnation. I know about this stuff because I studied it. I was into it all. I know it. It's still mildly terrifying to me. And this is serious."
Drummer Will Champion told Q magazine February 2008 that many of the tracks on the album share a theme of "trying to remember what's important in your life, rather than being carried away by the trappings of other things.""

from the website http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=11520


HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA

peace
 

Moomba445

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I think that Coldplay's song Viva La Vida is about the memoirs of Napoleon as he was writing them in his second Exile. The name alone, Viva La Vida cannot be directly translated, but by mixing translations of Spanish and French, it could mean Living the Empty Life. The Album cover is a French portrait made during the final French Revolution

I used to rule the world
Seas would rise when I gave the word

Obviously a metaphor. It can be interpreted as many things, but mainly as Napoleon's rule and control of most of Europe.

Now in the morning I sweep alone
Sweep the streets I used to own

Napoleon was first exiled to Elba and disowned by the people. Again, a metaphor.

I used to roll the dice
Feel the fear in my enemy's eyes
Listen as the crowd would sing:
"Now the old king is dead! Long live the king!"

Rolling the Dice, meaning he called the shots and took them. He was the most feared and hated man in all of Europe and Russia. "Now the old king is dead! Long live the king!" The old king being one of two people: King Louis XVI or Robespierre, who interpreted himself as a god of the Republic.

One minute I held the key
Next the walls were closed on me
And I discovered that my castles stand
Upon pillars of salt, pillars of sand

Napoleon was emperor of France and knew what was for her best interest, but the royalty of Europe did not like Napoleon because he was not of royal blood. "The walls were closed on me" represents Europe rebelling during his rule, ultimately forcing him into exile. "Castles stand upon pillars of salt and pillars of sand" meant that there was only false recognition of hope in the people, as they would go along with what the more powerful invading country had to offer, as Europe declared war on the people of France, which forced them to turn their back on their Emperor.

I hear Jerusalem bells are ringing
Roman Cavalry choirs are singing

Roman Cavalry Choirs could mean his cooperation with the Holy Roman Empire. Jerusalem bells are ringing as he was greeted into Palestine and Israel.

Be my mirror my sword and shield
My missionaries in a foreign field

This obviously represents the way Napoleon talked to his troops, and called them his missionaries because he told them that they were on a mission to serve their country France. He knew his soldiers by name.

For some reason I can't explain
Once you know there was never, never an honest word
That was when I ruled the world

Never an honest word may relate to his relations with the Czar of Russia, Czar Alexander I. They were good friends, but he betrayed him in the end because he did not want to join Napoleon's Empire.

It was the wicked and wild wind
Blew down the doors to let me in.

Napoleon wasn't French. He was Corsican. He traveled to France after the demise of Robespierre and saw that the country was in ruins. He took advantage of this and joined the military. He went up in the ranks and soon became Consul of France, later emperor.

Shattered windows and the sound of drums
People couldn't believe what I'd become

The first line meaning the invasion of England, Russia, and Austria upon France. The Second line meaning the people couldn't believe that Napoleon expected the state of France to go up against the royal blood of Europe.

Revolutionaries Wait
For my head on a silver plate
Just a puppet on a lonely string
Oh who would ever want to be king?

Napoleon was forced into exile after France lost against the three invading Monarchies. Revolutionaries want to see him dead because of what he dragged France into. "Oh who would ever want to be king?" represents his doubts as he was writing his memoirs in exile.

I know Saint Peter will call my name

Napoleon used Roman Catholicism as a tool to win back the people of France. Under the reign of Robespierre, Catholicism was outlawed and the only religion was the Religion of the people, with Robespierre as the God. Napoleon gave back to the people what Robespierre took from them, but this should have been frowned upon by the Catholic Church, but the Pope said France could be re- entered into the church if Napoleon offers him protection and land. Napoleon did it for the advancement of France. He knew this was the right decision and was loved by the Pope. Saint Peter can be a metaphor for the Pope, being that he was the first pope. Pope Pius VII crowned Napoleon as Emperor, meaning he called his name.

That's my theory, but it may be wrong. I also like the Jesus interpretation. Hope this helps!
 

latestflame78

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I think you guys have good analyzations of this song, but I just read a different interpretation on another site that the song is about King Louis XVI, and not Jesus, and it makes much more sense. Here is what was said:

1. The first verse obviously describes a loss of important, perhaps dictator-like power. Louis the XVI had absolute power over his people at his acceptance to the throne, but as he began to appoint new cabinets and groups to make decisions, he began to lose his say in any of the happenings of France. Part of the reason he appointed these was Louis was very unsure of himself (he often dealt with depression and feelings of no hope).

2. "Now the old king is dead! Long live the king!" Louis became king when his grandfather, Louis XV, died.

3. The third verse (about the "key" and "closed walls") also makes sense because Louis had the key to absolute power at first, but he eventually gave all his power away to advisers and party members, and he realized he really had no power at all. The metaphor of a castle on pillars of salt and pillars of sand reflects his indecisiveness and vulnerability all through his life as king, which ultimately led to many of his mistakes as king.

4. The images used in the chorus do correspond with the time period.

5. In the fourth verse, the most clear parallel is "sound of drums". Louis XVI attempted to make a speech before he was beheaded, but apparently he was cut off by a drumline.

6. The fifth verse fits very well with Louis the XVI. Revolutionaries were usually against Louis; several revolutionaries incited an attack of the Palace of Versailles to kill Louis's queen. Also, revolutionaries accused Louis of treason, and often used him as a scapegoat for things (which would explain the puppet line.)

7. When CP says "St. Peter won't call my name", obviously that means that the person in the song did not believe he belonged in heaven. Louis usually was depressed and hopeless about being king, which would explain how he thought he wouldn't even be accepted into heaven.

Do with that what you will, but I think I agree with this interpretation.
 

Dewd

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I can't explain why, but I feel like it's about King Richard the Lionheart during the Crusades.
 

busybeeburns

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“Viva Dios”

"Viva Dios”

by Dr. Hesham Hassaballa

In the Name of God, The Subtle, The Loving

I, like millions of people all over this country and the world, am enthralled and intrigued by English alternative rock band Coldplay’s song “Viva La Vida.” I was first introduced to the song by the Apple iTunes commercial, which featured the song a few months back. The song was somehow familiar to me, even though it was first released June 2008.

Yet, the song itself is wonderful: excellent music seamlessly weaved together with intriguing and enigmatic lyrics. As I have said before, the true test of a good song (as well as all art, in general) is the degree to which it inspires reflection and further thinking. This song did so for me.

The song seems to speak about someone who has fallen from a position of power: someone who used to be king and is now deposed:

I used to rule the world

Seas would rise when I gave the word

Now in the morning I sleep alone

Sweep the streets I used to own

I used to roll the dice

Feel the fear in my enemies eyes

Listen as the crowd would sing

“Now the old king is dead! Long live the King!”
One minute I held the key

Next the walls were closed on me

And I discovered that my castles stand

Upon pillars of salt and pillars of sand

As I listen to the song, I imagine what is would be like to “rule the world,” to have the seas “rise when I gave the word.” I must admit, it felt unbelievable. Imagining myself possessing that kind of power stirred in me a feeling I never knew I could have: one that craved such unfettered power. We like to think that we are immune to the corrupting influence of absolute power, but alas, I am subject to the weaknesses and hypocrisies of the human condition.

So does, it seems, the subject of “Viva La Vida.” The former King seems to suggest that he liked his power too much and it corrupted him:


It was the wicked and wild wind

Blew down the doors to let me in

Shattered windows and the sound of drums

People could not believe what I’d become

Revolutionaries wait

For my head on a silver plate

Just a puppet on a lonely string

Oh who would ever want to be King?

The answer to that last question is simple: lots, and lots, and lots of people.

There are people all over this world who would not shy from killing and torturing in order to become (or to continue to be) the king. It is the reason there is corruption in politics, corruption in religious leadership, corruption in family units: people enjoy absolute power too much. And once one gets this power, he or she is afraid to lose it.

Perhaps the king in the song is lamenting his loss of power? Perhaps he is repenting for his excesses while in power? Whatever the case may be, the song reminds me of an eternal fact in this world: there is only One King: the Precious Lord above. This world has sported many kings, but they have all faded (or will soon fade) away. There will be only One King left, Who will never fade away:

...the Day when they shall come forth [from death], with nothing of themselves hidden from God. With whom will sovereignty rest on that Day? With God, the One who holds absolute sway over all that exists! (40:16)

True dominion and sovereignty belongs only to God, even though He has allowed us to exert sovereignty over this world on a temporary basis. Even though we may think we have power over this earth, that we can do whatever we want, true power only belongs to the Lord God:

Say: “O God, Lord of all dominion! You grant dominion unto whom You will and take away dominion from whom You will; and You exalt whom You will and abase whom You will. In Your hand is all good. Verily, You have the power to do anything. (3:26)

Remember the encounter between King Nimrod and our master Abraham (pbuh)?

Are thou not aware of that [king] who argued with Abraham about his Sustainer, [simply] because God had granted him kingship? Lo! Abraham said: “My Sustainer is He who grants life and deals death.” [The king] replied: “I [too] grant life and deal death!” Said Abraham: “Verily, God causes the sun to rise in the east; cause it, then, to rise in the west!” Thereupon he who was bent on denying the truth remained dumbfounded: for God does not guide people who [deliberately] do wrong. (2:258)

Power deludes; power deceives; power, when given, can completely destroy a person: as it did the king in “Viva La Vida.”

I am tested with this power on a daily basis. I work in Critical Care Medicine. On countless occasions, I have been faced with patients in critical condition, for whom I had to make split-second decisions. I have placed tubes in countless patients’ windpipes, helping them breathe and “saving” them from death by asphyxiation. I have ordered countless medications that have helped patients get better and avoid death. So many times I have been thanked by loved ones for “saving the life” of the patient.

It is so very easy to slip into the thinking that it is I who does the healing; that it is my hand, my knowledge, my expertise that saves the patient from dying. It is so very easy for me to be like King Nimrod, who told Abraham (pbuh) “I [too] grant life and deal death!” It frightens me to the very core of my being.

I continuously remind myself that I do nothing. I am not the healer. I do not grant life and deal death. It is God that gives life and takes it away. I just fill out the paperwork. The moment I come to think it is I that “saves the lives” of my patients, it is time for me to leave medicine. I pray to the Precious that I never fail this test.

The sooner we realize that our castles truly do stand “upon pillars of salt and pillars of sand,” then we can take care not to abuse any power that we are given on earth. We must take care to be honest, good, and careful stewards of the power that is given to us. All power comes from the All-Powerful: it is a trust between us and He, and we must take the utmost care not to betray that trust.

If ever we are tested with hearing:


Jerusalem bells are ringing

Roman Cavalry choirs are singing

Be my mirror my sword and shield

My missionaries in a foreign field

We must be extremely careful not to let that delude us: that power is a blessing and test from the Lord, and He will call us to account for how we used that power. We must always remember that God is the only True King, and it is as Jesus Christ (pbuh) said: “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10)

And if we seem to be able to do whatever we want on earth with impunity, we must always remember God’s word:

Let it not deceive thee that those who are bent on denying the truth (or those who are ungrateful) seem to be able to do as they please on earth: it is [but] a brief enjoyment, with hell thereafter as their goal - and how vile a resting place! (3:196-197)

Is it not better that we be honest stewards of power; for the good of all on earth?

http://www.theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/viva_dios/0016480
 

Khan

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I like this song a lot. Personally to me I think it is a generalized reference to the royal powers of Europe during the enlightenment 17th century to WWI, with references to revolution, warfare, monarchy, religious piety, shifting of power, corruption, imperialism and the ultimate demise of that era and it's legacy in most of Europe
 
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