The last time we saw Coldplay, they were releasing their letdown of a third album X&Y. I know I wasn’t alone in thinking that album was sub-par (with a few exceptions [Fix You, Speed of Sound]). Perhaps the high quality of A Rush of Blood to the Head served to make any follow-up seem trite.
For their fourth studio album (entitled Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends), Coldplay turned to veteran producer and the father of ambient music Brian Eno. I love his production style on U2’s best albums and I also love his own musicianship on his many ambient projects. With him behind the controls, what would Coldplay sound like?
Well, we got a taste of their latest sound today when Coldplay offered a free download of the first single from their new album. The song is entitled “Violet Hill” and can be downloaded by clicking here (email and zip code required for emailed link).
On first blush, the song is quite good. The first sounds we hear are classic Eno swells of ambient noise. We are pulled back into Coldplay’s territory with their signature gentle piano chords and Chris Martin’s plaintive vocals. Then, the guitars come in, but not as you would expect. Jonny Buckland charges into the song with crunchy distortion. From here, this is a guitar rocker as Buckland tears it up. Martin’s lyrics cover standard territory with a chorus consisting of “If you love me / Won’t you let me know”.
It’s a good first helping of what will be an interesting album. Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends drops in the U.S. on June 17th.
P.S. The cover art seen above is pretty cool. Total departure from their first 3 albums. My only critique is this: French flag with Spanish title?!