An Experiment in Breaking the Mold:

By Jason W. EckardStaff Writer

The story of Coldplay is like that of a train, in the beginning it took off from the station crowds gathered and looked on, they liked what they saw. But by the time 2005’s X&Y was released the train had run out of steam. The tracks it had been running on seem to have looped back around, endlessly running already covered territory. But instead of playing it off, keeping the train running, meeting the same crowds, Coldplay said screw the train. From the opening track, “Life in Technicolor” with it’s building landscapes of synths one can almost feel the air as Coldplay takes a jump off a cliff into the unknown. For one, Chris Martin realizes that falsetto 24/7 isn’t needed. And that down in the singer’s deeper register is a much more sensual and soulful playing field. There’s also a lot more dirt, reverb, distortion. Less compression, less sterile, it’s more organic. The album feels as if it was recorded in the hallways of old European churches, instead of cold English studios. It’s a record that shows there’s still life in this band, instead of playing it safe and secure it does take chances. But that’s not to say that everything has changed, it’s still Coldplay, it’s still sulky it’s still moody. But it’s trying. The album’s first single “Violet Hill” is a bombastic ode to letting love go. With guitar solos and blasting drums to match. But the most epic song on the album is not doubt the track “Viva La Vida”. A first person narrative from a former ruler. “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.” Given Coldplay’s history of a band that involves themselves in matters of a political nature one can’t ignore the similarities in song with that of the dwindling days of another rulers time in office. This sort of political/war imagery comes a lot in this album but it’s never anything to direct. One could argue that for a group that wants to be seen as a band that cares of worldly events Coldplay shouldn’t whip out and stand behind there message. But this is if you care, I don’t. What I do care about is atmosphere, and that is what makes this album worth a listen. “Viva La Vida” is a record that is running for its life. It’s an album by a band that’s trying to get as far away from it’s old self as possible, and the results are quite positive.