Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Violet Hill

Song: Violet Hill
Artist: Coldplay
Album: Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends

Initially thought to be “the next Radiohead,” Coldplay seemed to be gunning for U2 with the release of their last album, “X & Y” after the breakthrough of their sophomore set, “A Rush of Blood to the Head.” Continuing along that path, the band has teamed up with U2 super-producer Brian Eno for their fourth full length, “Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends” which is set for release in June.

While a fan of “Yellow” from their debut “Parachutes,” it was until “Rush of Blood” that I really took notice and fell for the band. And despite the overall success the band had with “X & Y,” I felt like a bit of the spark was gone, and what had seemed so effortless (and amazing) on “Rush” seemed labored and forced on “X & Y.” There were definitely songs that I really liked, including “Talk” (in my opinion the most interesting song on the record) as well as first single “Speed of Sound,” despite it sounding so much like prior hit “Clocks.” But hit single “Fix You” kind of summed up how I felt about the record… as it seemed like they set out to write “this albums ‘The Scientist’” versus just letting songs come naturally. Most of the record felt like this and an article about the difficult recording of the album confirmed that lead Chris Martin basically wrote the songs by committee, trying to come up with the best possible track list to make the “best album ever.” It left the whole project feeling a bit cold.

So it is with much excitement that I get to hear first single “Violet Hill” off the new record, which is currently being offered as a free download on the bands website. Oddly for a single, the beginning of the song contains a quiet orchestral tone for thirty seconds before the song “kicks in.” Lyrically a bit obtuse, it seems to be telling a story about a wintery December, and a vague military presence… only to be infused with a direct line, “So if you love me, won’t you let me know?”

The song is a bit heavier than most Coldplay, and an odd song for initial single. But “Speed of Sound” took a while for me to get into, and “Violet Hill” is certainly intriguing. I’m very interested in hearing what they do for the whole album.

What do you think?


An “X & Y” favorite, “Talk”

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