pop culture, pittsburgh, and potpouri

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Coldplay has #1 Record in the U.S. and the Rest of the World...

Coldplay's new album will be the number 1 record in the United States when the Billboard charts are released tomorrow knocking Lil Wayne from the top spot. The new album also topped the charts in Britain, Japan, Australia, Canada, France and Germany, Capitol said. The single, "Viva La Vida," is also No. 1 in both the United States and Britain. "Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends," Coldplay's fourth release, sold more than 720,000 copies in the six days ending Sunday, Capitol Records said. This makes Coldplay the first British rock band other than the Beatles (#1), Led Zepplin (How the West was Won), and Radiohead (Kid A) to top the U.S. charts in the last decade. This is really good news for the band because there has been a slump in the record industry for musicians especially in their follow up albums. Further, the album's strong performance delivers a psychological boost to Capitol's struggling British parent company EMI Group, which was bought last year by private-equity firm Terra Firma for about $6.4 billion. Many thought that Coldplay should have jumped ship because the fiscal difficulties of EMI would lead to poor sales. Although I want to dislike Coldplay so much, especially the insufferable (The band was coined the most Insufferable band of the decade by the New York Times, which says something about the reaction they produce whether good or bad) Chris Martin and his whining, I actually like the album and the band. The whole hating Coldplay band wagon thing is a waste of time. There are far more loathsome bands around today which to direct negative energy towards (for me its like hating Rachael Ray. There is just not a benefit that outweighs the burden). They are a bit "boring" and undyingly wish to be our generations U2, but none the less they have been a major part of happy times in my life. 

Many have been critical of Viva La Vida, but I am attracted to the bands self indulgence experimentation, and their movement in a direction that is uncomfortable to the mainstream. The songs are melodic, slow, and different for Coldplay. Aside from Viva la Vida the album lacks huge wall of sound songs that have been the hallmark of Coldplay's success in the United States. I don't want to listen to "Viva La Vida" over and over again, but I find myself doing it with the windows down and the sunroof open. (I know -what a dork). It must be a result of Arcade Fire producer Markus Dravs helping out with the song. Besides Viva, other songs on the album that are very much worth the purchase price are "Lost" and "Strawberry Swing". One criticism that I do have is that the albums feels incomplete, including many of the songs. It was smart to hire Brian Eno, who's mark on the album is unmistakable, but a cohesive tying up of loose ends, in my opinion, is missing. Once major criticism of Coldplay is the sappy lyrics of Martin. His "I am really this nice of a guy," gimmick is actually believable to me, but I can see how it is unbearable to others. Here, many of the lyrics lack that cringe worthy sensitivity that XY and A Rush of Blood to the Head drowned in. The band maintains their individual sound while covering new terrain on this album, which us all I can ask for. It is an accessible pop album, but at the same time mindful and progressive art. Anyone who rips it apart has not fully given it the time and listening it deserves.

Now, I know you will all like Viva la Vida (the song) - you can't help it. So I have included the lyrics so that you can sing along to it and not embarrass yourself in public ( like we did this weekend) trying to sing drunk and botch the lyrics. You can thank me with a comment:

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