Sound — 8
The overall sound of Coldplay's "Viva La Vida" is without a doubt unique amd like nothing heard for quite a while. The presence of producer Brian Eno on this album is evident on almost every track, and the listener can detect traces from "Music For Airports" and "Another Green World." Songs like Life In Technicolor, Violet Hill, and Death And All His Friends are centered largely around airy soundscapes set by synth pads, where as songs like Lost (which features oriental-style drumming) and Strawberry Swing incorporate progressive, innovative rhythms. It's a new approach for Coldplay, and I greatly welcome is as a change of pace from the usual slick piano tracks. But they will be missed.
Lyrics — 5
The lyrics on "Viva" are bizarre and cryptic, to start off with. Lyrics like "No I don't wanna battle from beginning to end; I don't wanna cycle, recycle revenge; I don't wanna follow death and all his friends" (Death And ALl His Friends), it's become appaernt that Coldplay's view on the world has become more somber and even depressed. Long gone are the beautiful love ballads like Yellow or the Scientist, the uplifting angelic vocals. The album lacks the most here.
Overall Impression — 8
In the long run, I think this album will be just another release--not their best or worse. But as of right now, it's a good fix. I, for one, miss the uplifting lyrics and the smooth piano, but their new found love of the drums and chunkier beats are also welcome. I feel the songs like "Lost!," "Violet Hill," and "Death And All His Friends" will become instant Coldplay classics (especially Death And All His Friends), but they will never draw mainstream attantion. The album is a big change of pace. It's not a adequate replacement for the smooth soft piano rock of yore, but it is still an excellent album.