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Viva La Vida Review From Alan Cross(see who he is inside)


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The New Coldplay Album, Track by Track


The album won't be out until June 17, but information is beginning to surface. I had a chance to listen to the full album on Friday. I was escorted into a screening room at a private club in downtown Toronto. Before I could set foot inside, I had to surrender by cell phone and a burly security guarded wanded me with a metal detector. It was like a Condition Red day at the airport.


Here's what I can report about Viva la Vida.


--Despite what you may have heard, the album IS called "Viva La Vida and Death to All His Friends." Chances are, though, we'll just go with "Viva La Vida" (which, roughly translated, means "long live life."

--The album clocks in at 46 minutes, not too long or too short. Chris Martin wanted it to be the length of a typical episode of CSI, allegedly.

--Brian Eno's fingerprints are all over this one. There are so many new un-Coldplay-like sounds (i.e. atmospheric guitar/keyboard interplays that result in a sonic stew thicker than the Athabasca tar sands--but that's a good thing.) To me, it sounds like he did to Coldplay what he did to U2 for The Unforgettable Fire.

--Coldplay has a new HQ: The Bakery (a former, er, bakery) someplace deep in North London.

--On the whole, it sounds like Coldplay. Only different.



1. "Life in Technicolor"


A glorious, uplifting instrumental. Apparently, there were lyrics, but Chris Martin decided to remove them. He wanted something "whistle-able," apparently.


2. "Cemeteries of London"


A ghost story written during a manic overnight session by Martin when Eno's assistant, Markus Dravs, dissed another song Martin had written. He came up with this track to show Markus that he could do it. There's a little touch of Flamenco in the mix. Listen for the hand claps.


3. "Lost"


Big organ swells. Drama ensues. And yes, part of it was recorded in a church. I quite liked this one.


4. "42"


Another reference to "Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy?" (If you don't know what I mean by that, you need to read more.) Martin is coy about the connection other than to say "it's my favorite number. This is a massive three-parter that goes on for some time. Martin considers it one of the "two John Lennon-type" songs on the album, the other being "Violet Hill." Chris Martin says that the middle bit of this song was inspired by listening to Rammstein records over and over again. But don't get your hopes up; there's no metal here.


5. "Big Lovers in Japan/Reign of Love"


Typical Coldplay indie-pop. Why smush two songs together? Apparently to keep the number of tracks on the album to ten. But it doesn't quite work that way (See tracks7b and 10b.)


6. "Viva la Vida"


"Cinematic" is a word that's being used. "Widescreen" is another. Basically, it's a story of a dude (a king?) who loses everything. You may have already heard this one because it was accidentally leaked through iTunes a couple of weeks ago.


7a. "Yes"


You've never heard Chris sing this low before. Very mournful. And are those African tabla drums in the mix? Why, yes they are!


7b. "Chinese Sleep Chant"


I've numbered this as 7b because it's a hidden track. Totally incomprehensible. And no, no one is singing in Latin.


8. "Violet Hill"


You stick the first single this deep on the album? Ballsy. By the way, Violet Hill is in the St. John's Wood area of northwest London, the same area of the city as Abbey Road Studios.


9. "Strawberry Swing"


Now THAT'S an interesting bass line. Or is that a digerdoo? I can't tell.


10a. "Death and All His Friends"


Very melancholy with a male choir. The vocals were apparently recorded in an art gallery in Barcelona, Spain. That room was once the medical area of an ancient nunnery. Of course.


10b. "The Escapist"


Another hidden track that was, er, donated by John Hopkins, a friend of producer Brian Eno. It sounded to me a lot like the opening track, except with vocals.


I think this record will be another hit. It had better be; the entire future of Coldplay's record company may very well rely on the kinds of numbers it generates.


Alan Cross is a radio programmer for Toronto's 102.1 The Edge. He is the one responsible for the famous Coldplay incident in Toronto in 2006. He also hosts a syndicated Canadian Radio program called "The Ongoing History Of New Music"

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Cool! Forgive me for being so skeptical, but it sounds like you've lifted several phrases and descriptions from other sources and reviews. There's almost nothing new here. Its basically a reworded version of Q's article.


But thanks for your contribution!

zactly what I was thinking... Hmmm. Cool none the less, we are all excited!

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Maybe it sounds so similar because they think the same stuff. He probably found quotes elsewhere. Like Q.


It sounds like he was at a listening party exactly like andrew.


That exactly what I was thinking. Too bad I didn't see him I would have loved to ask him what he thought first hand. I was in the last session, I can only imagine who some of the people that went earlier on were.

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Yeah it would have be really cool to pick his brain for a few minutes. I know hes a coldplay fan and he's a real inspiration.


I cant imagine all the people going there. I think EMI is actually being smart to prevent leaks by not send out CDs. These parties cut back on the leak time.

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It was the Sun. It usually isnt the editors that post up the leak. Its usually a mail room clerk who is passing the CD on who uploads it on his laptop quickly then posts it up. I hope it happens soon too.


And yeah Alan the guy who basically run Canada's mainstream rock stations not getting it is shocking.

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So the song titles aren't Yes/Chinese Sleep Chant and Death and All His Friends/The Escapist? They're just hidden?


Well, doesn't really matter. Interesting that he says Viva la Vida accidentaly leaked. It didn't seem that way.

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