theTourist
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Last Active 10-17-13 4:03 pm
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08.18.09 How To Make Viva La Vida Into A Great A

How To Make Viva La Vida Into A Great Album

When Coldplay released "Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends" last June, the responses (with, of course, plenty of exceptions) generally fit into one of three categories: (1) it's the greatest album ever made (Coldplay fanatics) (2) it's decent-good-very good but not a classic or anything (most critics and music fans) (3) it's awful (pretentious snobs) No matter how much I read and how many people I talked to, I could never find anybody who shared my reaction. I thought there was some truly wonderful music on the album, enough to make it "great", but that Coldplay shot itself in the foot with the organization. For only ten tracks there are far, far too many painful gimmicks that make the whole thing difficult to enjoy. On their own none were too bad, but they added up and hurt the album quite a bit. So here's "Viva la Vida (good version)" as it's called in my iTunes. All that's needed is to make a copy of each track under the new album name and a few tracks from the Prospetki's March edition and a little bit of editing and you have it. I'd give the original album 3/5 and this version 4.5/5.
1Coldplay
Life in Technicolor

Alright, the first track. Like most of the album, it's something new for the group, which I appreciate. Why this annoyed me originally: the entire song is essentially a long buildup that dies as soon as it gets interesting, dropping right back to near-nothingness for the quiet opening segment of "Cemeteries of London". Truly frustrating. The fix: drop "Cemeteries of London" (which I never much liked) and set the track to end at 2:25
2Lost!

Why this originally annoyed me: because it was "Cemeteries of London", which, in addition to being mediocre, is the worst one to put after "Life in Technicolor". The immediate transition from the end of "Life in Technicolor" to the loud pulse of the beginning of "Lost!" is completely badass.
3Lovers in Japan (Osaka Sun Mix)

Why this annoyed me originally: I loved "Lovers in Japan" (it's right ahead of "Daylight" as my favorite song from the group), but it annoyed the hell out of me that "Reign of Love" was pointlessly slapped onto it. They sound nothing alike and have nothing in common (other than sharing "Love" in the title). If I ever wanted to listen to "Lovers in Japan", I'd have to go manually switch to the next song to avoid the tedious "Reign of Love". Plus, the Osaka Sun remix sounds even better anyway.
4Chinese Sleep Chant

Why this annoyed me originally: Because "42" is essentially two songs that sound nothing alike with an endless transition in the middle (which makes sense considering the song was progressing from two completely dissimilar points). Both parts were well-lyricised, and the final minute was amazing, but the structure impeded any enjoyment. So I insist on replacing it with "Chinese Sleep Chant". You'll have to make an additional copy of "Yes" for this. Just set it to start at 4:05 and change the title. I absolutely love this song - it's mysterious, original, cool: everything a great song needs. I have no idea why it's hidden in "Yes", as the two songs sound nothing at all alike and benefit in no way from being together. Take "Birdcage" (with hidden track "Baby Bird" from "Breach by the Wallflowers as a counterexample: the two songs are great on their own and similar enough to feel like a cohesive 7+ minute piece.
5Yes

"Yes" is another great song. The use of strings (continued in "Viva la Vida") and Chris Martin's baritone are both fresh ideas that work quite well. Just set the second copy to stop at 4:03.
6Viva La Vida

An energetic, brilliantly written piece with all the depth many accuse Coldplay of not having. Leave this as it is.
7Violet Hill

Why this annoyed me originally: the 35 second introduction. 35 seconds of absolutely nothing. Really, nothing. I get the point (a recovery from the previous songs and a buildup to this one), but really, nothing for 35 seconds? Phenomenal song otherwise. Just set it to start at 0:30.
8Strawberry Swing

The only song outside of "Viva la Vida" and maybe "Lost" that's brilliant and perfectly enjoyable on its own. Refreshing, with brilliant use of Martin's falsetto.
9Death and All His Friends

Why this annoyed me originally: Three and half minutes of great music very much in the spirit of the album followed by an ending that's pointlessly tacked onto the same track and undeserved. The return of "Life in Technicolor" is good for the album and all, but I don't understand why it can't just be track 11. Look at Radiohead's transition from "Optimistic" to "In Limbo" on "Kid A". It's short, interesting, and at the end of the song, unlike the endless silence at the beginning of "Violet Hill". If I want to listen to "Kid A", the transitions are there. If I want to listen to "Optimistic" or "In Limbo", I can without any trouble (except for maybe being a tiny bit confused by the transitional segment at the end of "Optimistic"). If I want to listen to "Death and All His Friends", I can't unless I manually change the track, because the return to "Life in Technicolor" is tacked on. It's a movement that could help the album but doesn't and just hurts the song.
10Life in Technicolor ii

An excellent return to the beginning in a jolly, fun fashion. Get it from Prospekts March. A perfect ending.
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