Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends breaks from the wispy pop of Coldplay's first three albums and mixes things up a bit. Gone are the easily accessible, radio-friendly chart toppers replaced with a collection of gorgeous ballads, layered symbiotic guitar-focused tracks and melancholy, insightful lyrics. But don't worry -- this is still Coldplay, only darker and more mature. The band teamed with legendary producer Brian Eno, who helped enlist diversity through sound: tribal congas permeate "Lost!"; acoustic Irish folksy guitars meet Spanish handclaps on "Cemeteries of London"; grandiose strings create mystery on "Yes"; and sunshine soundscapes on "Strawberry Swing." The album is bookended by the same instrumental loop starting on "Life in Technicolor" and taking things out on "Death and All His Friends." Viva has a well-traveled feeling, a collection of short stories that gets better with every listen. You may not immediately click with it, but give the album a few spins and you'll grow to appreciate Coldplay on a whole new level.
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