I haven’t listened to Coldplay’s Viva La Vida since I first bought it six years ago.
I had enjoyed their first two albums, 2000’s Parachutes and especially 2002’s A Rush of Blood to the Head, but 2005’s X&Y was a mixed bag.
Viva La Vida was met with critical raves for the most part, so I had high hopes. But my first listen was quite underwhelming and I never gave it a second.
I was surprised to see that this is only the fourth Coldplay song to make the blog in six years of Song of the Day posts.
It’s not that I’m a huge Coldplay fan, but they have a big enough profile (and enough good songs) to make the cut more than four times out of 2,209. And two of the four have come on Random Weekends, at that.
I used to write regular movie reviews on this blog. In fact, as recently as 2010, I wrote a review of every movie I saw both in the theater and on DVD.
But I find it difficult and time-consuming to write movie reviews, and given the daily responsibility of my Song of the Day posts, I just couldn’t keep up the pace and managed to write only a couple of them in 2011. This year I’ve yet to write about a movie.
When Coldplay debuted in 2000, I had a far different image of them than I would several years later.
My first exposure was through the video for the band’s first U.S. single, ‘Yellow.’ In that clip, lead singer Chris Martin walks around on a dreary beach looking like a cross between a heroin addict and Gollum from The Lord of the Rings. At least that’s how I remember it.
It seems the really provocative and interesting videos are all directed by the same group of people. Spike Jonze and Michel Gondry are definitely in that group, and so is Jamie Thraves, who directed Radiohead’s video for ‘Just’ and is my connection to today’s song, ‘The Scientist’ by Coldplay.
Inspired by the lyric “Oh let’s go back to the start,” Thraves came up with the reverse-action concept for this video, his goal being to tell a tragic tale with a happy ending. It’s a powerful bit of filmmaking, all the better for the lovely song it accompanies.
On their first few albums, Coldplay was a band that sounded like Radiohead (pre-OK Computer) but wanted to be U2. On Viva La Vida, Coldplay is a band that sounds like U2 but wants to be Radiohead (post-OK Computer).
Though they have a proven knack for emotionally resonant arena rock, they’ve opted to get “artistic” instead. And by artistic, I mean they’ve largely thrown aside such quaint concepts as melodies, choruses and intelligible vocals.