Coldplay - Viva La Vida
Reviewed by Helen on 21st June 2008
Basically, it's that time of year again, isn't it? Spoilt middle-class teenagers are buying wellies for Glasto, Fair Trade strawberries are at a premium and Coldplay have brought out yet another bloody album. It goes without saying that this album is automatically at the very top of every best-sellers chart in the country/world/universe.
Coldplay: truly the musical Marmite. But who the hell eats Marmite when you can go and splash the cash on some jam or peanut butter or similar? Stupid Marmite-eaters. Let's explore this comparison, as much amusingness is to be had therein.
Firstly, you may or may not know this, but Marmite have recently brought out a special version of the yeasty black stuff which is supposed to be 0.3% champagne. It's lighter, it's sweeter, it comes in a better bottle - but it's still 99.7% Marmite. This fact will come in handy later on in the review.
It is fairly well-known that Marmite has what is possibly the most immense mark-up known to man, being produced from what are essentially waste products and sold on at extortionate prices as being a special, wholesome, highly British foodstuff. Not liking Marmite is seen by many as being unpatriotic. The parallels between this and Coldplay can hardly be ignored.
Okay, okay, so for non-Marmite lovers that might seem to be giving Coldplay a rather hard time. To the extent that anything so hyped up and over-publicized can be any good at all, this album is okay. It's sometimes hard to understand why everyone raves on about them, but this album is at least giving away little clues. It's more upbeat, and the two most critically-acclaimed tracks (Viva la Vida and Violet Hill) are catchy enough to stop me from hating them automatically. Actually, the title track is quite good. It's more than a little surprising in its bearable-ness. Please don't quote me on that.
Yes, this album is better than the last eighty billion. Yes, it has less of a whine and more of a growl. But, much like the champagne Marmite is still essentially Marmite (see what I did there?) it's still 99.7% Coldplay. That's not necessarily a problem, mind, but it means that the amount of airplay this release is going to get is going to ensure you hate Chris Martin and co. 100% by the end of this summer.
So, five out of ten for Coldplay. They'd get seven, but I'm gambling on the likelihood of them being more like a two by winter.
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