INTERVIEWS, REVIEWS & RELATED ARTICLES
Time Out JUNE 2, 2008 - by Sophie Harris
COLDPLAY: VIVA LA VIDA OR DEATH AND ALL HIS FRIENDS
At the risk of asking a Big Question in the middle pages of a magazine, what is the point of making pop music? It's worth raising in relation to Coldplay's fourth album, because the purpose, according to Chris Martin and co., is to say something important. Sorry, Important. To be experimental, to be challenging, and above all, to integrate influences. Lots of them, as diverse as possible: Tinariwen, Rammstein, My Bloody Valentine, Gershwin, are all claimed as influences this time round.
And hence, on this ambitiously titled album, you get ten tracks which are, well, interesting. You'd hope for something pretty special with mighty thinker and do-er Brian Eno at the controls, plus Arcade Fire engineer Markus Dravs - and Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends is certainly dynamic, energetic and engaged, from the big, big handclaps and puttering tablas on Lost! to the dramatic staccato strings of its title track. But if it's affecting you want, the album's real missives to the heart are its secret tracks. Hidden apologetically at the album's close, these songs trade in the kind of wide-eyed sweetness that gave A Rush Of Blood To The Head its potency. And, like the difference between a grandiose serenade and a gentle hug, it's proof that you don't have to be clever to be profound.