"Craft is what enables you to be successful
when you're not inspired." - Brian Eno
San Francisco Chronicle JUNE 15, 2008 - by Aidin Vaziri
COLDPLAY: VIVA LA VIDA OR DEATH AND ALL HIS FRIENDS
What do you need to know about the new Coldplay album? 1) Produced by Brian Eno. 2) Stupid title. 3) Otherwise amazing. If you're not already jogging to Kmart to buy a copy, then we can fill you in on the rest. The British band's fourth album isn't much like the other three, which is incredible insofar as the other three sounded pretty much exactly alike (but still great). There are improvements all around, and none of them involve the group doing a mega club mix of Yellow, although that would have been nice. For example, we're not sure if Eno made Chris Martin cut up all his lyrics, throw them in a top hat and pull them back out, but they are clearly some of the best words he has ever strung together - even if they are still utterly pointless. Then there's the overall sound of the album, which somehow makes it feel as if the band members were just hanging out in the studio one day in their new Adam Ant jackets and then decided to pick up their instruments and knock out a classic album. Everything sounds incredibly loose, casual and completely effortless, which it probably wasn't. Finally, there is the veritable avalanche of brilliant, life-affirming music that leaves Coldplay's idols (U2, Oasis) and followers (Keane, Snow Patrol) spinning in the dust: 42, Cemeteries Of London, Violet Hill, even the iTunes jingle Viva La Vida. Plus, as far as we can tell, Gwyneth Paltrow wasn't allowed to sing on anything. Neither was Huey Lewis.