Sound — 10
Viva La Vida takes the unique sound of Coldplay to the next level of muscial mastery. This album more than any of its predecessors has a 'sound', a well tuned and defined sound, an almost Radiohead esque purity of purpose that give the whole album a feelign of being just that bit special. Try to imagine the Colplay of X&Y, purifued, with an additional element of pretense, and a self-certainty that would make it hard to believe they ever soudned any other way, if you didn't already know they have done. It takes Coldplay's harmonys to a new level, with a 'funked-up' percussion, a move away from the verse chorus strutcure. Viva la Vida simply has a sound oozing with intelligence, instantly captivating and magnificinetly executed.
Lyrics — 9
The voice of Chris Martin has been described in a hundred and one ways, but teh meaning of the songs has generally been transparent, or not the topic of much debate. Viva la Vida breaks this mould, with intriguing statements, often repeated, indeed in terms of quantity there are probably less passages of lyrical input in Viva la Vida than any previous album, indeed there are frequent instrumental sections, and even an instrumental opener. What is there is generally far more interesting than previous efforts and fits well with the musical style. Numerous reference to death god and the afterlife, give this album an additional and much appreciated edge.
Overall Impression — 10
Viva la Vida is a masterpiece, it's Coldplay's best album, and it's an instant classic of an alternative era. Parachutes though acclaimed, was much in tune with the other down-beat indie of the time (although whether it would have been called indie at the time I can't quite recall), now the comparisons are vastly more far reaching, Radiohead, The Who, maybe even the Smashing Pumpkins (in each case with reference to their later works), but in truth it's a unique sound and whilst the musical intrigue and topics may remind some of Pumpkin's Machina & Adore, or the complexity and move towards a more 'dancey' beat, the transition of Radiohead, this album is it's own. There's always a downside, and for Viva la Vida the lack of the more punchy 'single' material perhaps could be pointed at, and renewed claims that Coldplay's style is simply dull, have a hint of merit. However it's simply too interesting and perfectly constructed to make those into major complaints.