17 May 2014

MUSIC: Viva - The Best of the Rest

I know that many people cannot stand Coldplay. I don't wholly understand it, but I know it. These four blokes, however, are my one true musical passion. Sure, I like other artists and songs, but I don't think many can touch this British four-piece. On Monday 19 May, their sixth studio album, Ghost Stories is released to the world. I hope you don't mind me indulging a passion of mine (it is my site, after all!) as I look back at their first five albums in the build-up to this release, giving a (very!) brief overview of each track. And if you do, you can either express your displeasure in the comments (seriously, there's only ever been one - and that was me!) or alternatively you probably won't be reading anyway.

Moving on...

I should probably explain why I'm doing these tracks. The Viva era is my definitive favourite, and it produced some great non-album tracks, moreso I think than any other period in their history. So I thought I'd compile this quick list of my favourites among that bunch.

Life in Technicolor ii [9/10]
It builds brilliantly on the established track, and spells out the message loud and clear. Excellent. Released on Prospekt's March and as a single.

Postcards from Far Away [8/10]
A jolly little piano interlude, this isn't doing anyone any harm. I rather like it, in fact. Released on Prospekt's March.

Rainy Day [7.5/10]
With its scatty nature, this is a fun track I love to revisit every now and then. I have fond memories of this, and would have liked to have seen a video for it. Also released on Prospekt's March.

Death Will Never Conquer [9/10]
A psalm of joy and optimism with darker undertones, this is one of the finest tracks produced under the Coldplay label, and is even better live (seek out the LeftRightLeftRightLeft version).

The Goldrush [9/10]
One of the more abstract tunes, I love the nerve of The Goldrush. It translates Viva's central message into a totally different environment and it still works. Daring and brilliant. The b-side to Life in Technicolor ii.

 A Spell A Rebel Yell [7/10]
The b-side to Violet Hill, Spell cries of hard, confused times. It reflects perfectly for me the leap in sophistication of music between 2005 and 2008 for the band.

Bucket for a Crown [8/10]
Unfinished, and only performed live a handful of times, what does exist is very enjoyable and I love the title.

Don Quixote [8/10]
A track that looked set for release before similarities to Springsteen's Dancing in the Dark were noted (by everyone). It was performed live during the tour of Latin America in 2009, and is a really rousing track, perfect for the live enviroment.

Famous Old Painters [7.5/10]
Existing on the internet only as an instrumental, this is still a beautiful and haunting track. I wish we'd got the full version, I imagine it would've been phenomenal.

The Dubliners [8.5/10]
Another live-only track, this is still superb. It has a great hook and energy, I hunger for a studio version every time I listen (around 100,000 times a day).

Christmas Lights [10/10]
Released as a single in its own right, this is possibly my favourite festive song ever. It brings a tear to my eye now, as it was equally special to someone I lost.

Wedding Bells [10/10]
A track that morphed into Christmas Lights, and was only performed live twice, this also makes me well up. One of the most beautiful pieces of music to seep from the mind of Chris Martin.


Top Three Tracks:
Christmas Lights, Wedding Bells, Life in Technicolor ii

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