Top positive review
Good solid 'limestone'
on 9 July 2016
The first 3 Coldplay albums are all rightly lauded but this one seemed to divide fans as surely as Moses and the Red Sea. For me, it's up there with the best.
Personally my favourite Coldplay album is 'A Rush of Blood...', also one of their most underrated songs. The early B sides take some beating too IMO (Help is Around the Corner reaches levels of pathos that are perhaps no longer attainable once you have oodles of dosh).
Personally I like 'Viva' every bit as much as X&Y, with the varying sounds generally falling safely within the boundaries of rock. The Hammond organ and tribal sounding rhythm on Lost! are a high point for me. I think Brian Eno's production has a lot to be said for it, but the songs are strong melodically and interesting lyrically too.
Violet Hill will please the rock fans, while Viva La Vida was something very different from Coldplay at the time (their Eleanor Rigby?), giving the band their first UK number one single. The Indian instrumentation on the opening track reminds me of Fairground Attraction's 'Find my Love' but it's still nice and the two-songs-in-one 'Yes' is also a high point, with a rare low register vocal from Chris Martin.
Sadly for me, Coldplay went too poppy after this album. Maybe I view percussion technologies that sound post-nineties as the work of the devil and this hampers my enjoyment. The changes in style have however prolonged Coldplay's career in appealing to the Rhianna / Beyoncé market and I imagine they would say that they haven't left the self-Christened 'limestone rock' genre at all. For me, 'Viva' is their last good album. I did enjoy hearing the live performance at Glastonbury in 2016 nonetheless.