JTM Grade: 65%
The band all us indie kids love to hate is back with what will surely be the best selling rock album of the 2008. Hatred for this band is well documented in music blogs so I'll try not to dwell on my personal biases concerning Chris Martin and his insufferable band Coldplay. I have an open mind. That's my mantra. I'll also go ahead and admit that I never listened to a second of X&Y and have only heard the best singles from Rush of Blood to the Head. So for me, Viva La Vida is a sophomore album, following a good debut, Parachutes and the dynamic duo of singles 'The Scientist' & 'Clocks.' Has it really been eight years since Parachutes?! Sure took 'em a while for a follow-up. What has that goofy guy been up to?
In case you hadn't heard, Brian Eno produced and his influence is all over these new songs. For the most part, this is a good thing. You could easily mistake several songs as U2. Try 'Cemeteries of London' on for size, Bono. Easy to say that's the Eno effect, but we all know Martin brazenly wears his influences on his sleeve, too. Imitations...err...I mean influences aside, Coldplay is at their anthemic best here as demonstrated on the excellent title track 'Viva La Vida,' which you may have seen in a psychedelic Apple ad. Other highlights include 'Violet Hill' and the Radiohead-lite '42.' And so, as a collection of marvelous stand-alone singles, the album is a surprising success. I can't help but like it. Just about any song you choose could be a hit. Unfortunately, there's more going on here than just a bunch of songs. This thing is beggin' for some artistic cred. Chris Martin is a very passionate, sincere dude and some asshole has turned his self-importance knob up to 11. Honestly, I can do nothing but groan at the idea of a Coldplay concept album so I just prefer not to think of it that way. Did my bias come through?