Viva La Vida - Coldplay
Metascore
72

Generally favorable reviews - based on 32 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 32
  2. Negative: 0 out of 32
  1. The confident majesty of the music, however, belies how he and his bandmates have invigorated their rock-lite reign. [20 June 2008, p.65]
  2. 90
    For all of Coldplay’s experimentation, though, there’s no doubting that Viva La Vida, with its sturdy melodies and universal themes--think love, war, and peace--is an album meant to connect with the masses.
  3. Whatever the case, Viva La Vida sounds as if it comes as close to the experimental edge as Coldplay dares. It isn't a bad place for the group to be.
  4. Itâ??s in its latter stages that Viva... truly goes stratospheric: on the magnificent orchestral pop title track, where Martin imagines himself as a deposed French king reduced to sweeping the streets; on the bruised â??Yesâ??, like Dandy Warhols and Depeche Mode lost in a desert duststorm; on the Satanic blues hymnal of single â??Violet Hillâ??.
  5. Well, reports of the death of the old Coldplay have been much exaggerated.
  6. Even when the singer is being vague or issuing plaints, his words and voice, when coupled with the music, hold considerable sway. [Summer 2008]
  7. Viva La Vida does find Martin and his bandmates willing to extend their musical boundaries, making for an occasionally brilliant album that's exponentially more vibrant and engaging than 2005's generally stale "X&Y."
  8. The greatest thing Coldplay may have learned from Eno is his work ethic, as they demonstrate a focused concentration throughout this tight album--it's only 47 minutes yet covers more ground than "X&Y" and arguably "A Rush of Blood to the Head"--that turns Viva la Vida into something quietly satisfying.
  9. So some bad habits die hard, but on every other level Viva la Vida... is an emphatic sucess--radical in it's own measured way but easy to embrace. [July 2008, p.95]
  10. The sonic deviations may challenge fans who prefer that all of the band’s releases be a shade of “Yellow.” But more daring listeners will be relieved that Martin & Co. are exploring new territory.
  11. That it lacks any obvious singles hardly seems to matter. Viva La Vida is an assured return that should go some way to restoring Coldplays wilted critical stock.
  12. Chris Martin and co. return with another album guaranteed to rock arenas across the world.
  13. Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends takes a band who should have been in decline and a sound that’s been tried and true and makes it all sound fantastically fresh.
  14. 70
    Viva La Vida still manages to seem downsized compared to the band's gradiose early work. [July 2008, p.69]
  15. Coldplay's desire to unite fans around the world with an entertainment they can all relate to is the band's strength, and a worthy goal. But on Viva la Vida, a record that wants to make strong statements, it's also a weakness.
  16. While this doesn't quite hit the heady heights of "A Rush Of Blood To The Heads," it's a huge improvement on the beiger than beige "X&Y," and if their next album (apparently featuring a Kylie Minogue duet!) continues this trajectory, we could have something pretty special on our hands.
  17. Coldplay have come up with the rare major-label pop record that stands to move a ton of copies even as it's at least a little bit challenging to its primary audience.
  18. The rest is closer to the Coldplay we know: a competent blend of heavily orchestrated redemption songs ('Viva La Vida,' already the biggest hit of the band's career), swirly arena rock ('Lovers in Japan') and life-stinks-without-you ballads ('Strawberry Swing')likely to resonate despite the new bells and whistles.
  19. Viva La Vida is just such an escape, a dreamy place to visit. And if it's not quite perfect, at least you get the sense that the members of Coldplay gave it their best shot.
  20. Viva la Vida is not their masterpiece, but for now, it’s as close as they’re gonna get.
  21. It isn't perfect, but Viva la Vida re-establishes Coldplay's relevance in this era where every new indie rock band really wants to be Coldplay.
  22. The record's violent, revolution-themed artwork is misleading. Viva is more like a bloodless coup--shrewd and inconspicuous in its progressive impulses.
  23. What they’ve given us is an exquisitely polished blur, enjoyable at times, mildly challenging at others, but nothing that you couldn’t feel comfortable piping in as background for the Sunday barbeque with the Petersons.
  24. They try hard, Coldplay, but it just isn't enough; their fourth album might just be their best yet, but it's still a long way from being the epochal classic that Chris Martin is desperate to create.
  25. 60
    While they fight shy of radical "Kid A"-style reinvention, hats should be doffed to Coldplay for at least having artistic cojones to mess with a winning formula. [July 2008, p.101]
  26. 60
    When it's not straining for Significance, though, Viva La Vida is often rather lovely.
  27. Lyrics aside, Viva la Vida fixes most of the glaring problems with 2005's "X&Y," simply by eschewing verse-chorus structures in favour of something more episodic.
  28. Viva La Vida starts off with promise for fans who felt that "X&Y" was a far cry from "A Rush Of Blood To The Head."... Unfortunately, the rest of the record fails to build on this.
  29. Coldplay’s all about elongation this time around, and if you couldn’t tolerate their dramatics before, Viva la Vida will do nothing for you. Don’t get me wrong; to my ears, this is the group’s strongest offering yet, but since this album is the same old naive romanticism theatrically propped on a pedestal, it’s not really saying a lot.
  30. When the pastoral Eno flourishes that started Vida off so promisingly return for a quick coda, Martin reverts back to his suavely crooning self, but blows it with his first four words: "And in the end . . . . " Bam, you're thinking 'Abbey Road,' and while Vida is far from a dog, it's just another unflattering comparison that the record itself needlessly invites--an extremely overconfident way to handle a crisis of confidence.
  31. It's an improvement on the band's impressively dull 2005 album, "X&Y," but Coldplay's latest doesn't recapture the promise of the band's first two albums.
  32. Given Eno’s quarter-century of Bono-fides, this isn’t surprising. Martin’s interests are frequently vague--on 'Lovers in Japan/Reign of Love' he sings about soldiers who must soldier on and runners who must run until the race is won. Seriously?
User Score
8.2

Universal acclaim- based on 397 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 16 out of 129
  1. Feb 8, 2011
    10
    Experimentation pays off. I wish more mainstream bands would try new things like coldplay do here. Beautiful album from start to finish. Coldplay have officially secured their spot as one of my favourite bands. Full Review »
  2. Jul 15, 2011
    9
    I still think this is their finest effort yet. First they wanted to be Radiohead and then they wanted to be U2 (the band said it themselves), but I believe they came into their own on this one. Sure, there are hints of Joshua Tree throughout. That doesn't need to be said. Well, maybe it does. I wonder if Chris Martin has ever written a song better than "Lovers in Japan"? I doubt it. Great album. Their best yet. Full Review »
  3. Oct 24, 2013
    10
    Their best album yet, not one song on it was bad. Each song complimented the other songs really well. Although my initial reaction after listening to it for the first time was pretty negative. I thought it was one of their weaker albums, but after a few more listens it really grew on me. Excellent album. Full Review »