Fate Of EMI May Rest With Coldplay’s <em>Viva La Vida</em>. Bye-Bye, EMI!

Apr 14th, 2008 // 13 Comments

coldplay.jpgRecord labels think of a “career act” as a reliable chart-topper with a rich catalog. Meanwhile, bands define themselves as “career acts” by spending six months in South American churches recording songs with Brian Eno that are named after Frida Kahlo paintings. This darling schism may not bode well for the folks at EMI records, who are praying that Coldplay’s upcoming album will sell at least as much as 2005′s X&Y. Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends doesn’t really ring like The Joshua Tree, and phrases like “indulging experimentation” probably aren’t what the label wants to hear either.

“Viva La Vida” begins with a strident instrumental, “Life in Technicolor,” built as much on an arpeggiated synth foundation as it is on an acoustic guitar melody. The same instrumental is tacked onto the final song, “Death and All His Friends,” as a hidden track dubbed “The Escapist.”

In between, the band frequently breaks from verse-chorus-verse constructions, particularly on “42,” which is comprised of three distinct, seemingly unrelated sections. “Yes” shifts from a string- and tabla-driven rocker into a shoegazer-y breakdown, while a funky groove emerges from out of nowhere in the middle of “Death and All His Friends.”

Elsewhere, Martin and the piano are at the forefront of the shimmering “Reign of Love,” while “Cemeteries of London” conjures a foreboding vibe apropos of its title and “Lost!” swells with massive-sounding church organ strains.

Word is that “Lost!” was originally titled “Criminal Intent!” until Chris Martin realized that nothing rhymed with “D’Onofrio.” The band will undoubtedly drop a potential “I Continue To Still Not Find What Bono Was Looking For” before Viva La Vida‘s release on June 16.

EMI’s 2009 Financial Plan: Coldplay’s Success Is Life Or Death [Set List]
Coldplay Indulges Experimentation On Fourth Album [Billboard]

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  1. Sniffle

    Didn’t EMI hang their investors hats on X&Y as well when it was coming out?

    How can a label sustain itself by expecting a single, supposedly anti-establishment band to make their earnings singlehandedly every 3-4 years?

    Oil companies should run the music industry – now THEY know how to make money!

  2. Chris N.

    Remember when ‘X&Y’ was going to save EMI? Good times.

  3. sicksteanein

    You can *say* you’re going all experimental all you want.

    10 bucks says this sounds like very other Coldplay record in the end.

  4. twenty-four hour priapism

    EMI is going to rue the day Chris Martin ever heard Kid A.

  5. Chris Molanphy

    @Chris N.: …and Gorillaz! Don’t forget them. Chris Martin and Damon Albarn apparently hold the fate of the whole company in their pale, limey hands.

  6. Cheap Shot

    They are trying so hard to be Radiohead.

  7. Anonymous

    Coldplay = Wonder Bread

  8. spinachdip

    I really like “Yellow”, and that one song they keep making over and over again.

  9. revmatty

    @spinachdip: Isn’t that one song “Yellow”? I liked it the first 150 times I heard it the week it came out. Oddly enough the following months and thousands and thousands of spins it got on Denver radio made me hate it more than most any song I’ve ever heard. Plus it made me stop listening to the radio, so maybe that’s a mitigating factor in Coldplays’ favor.

  10. loudersoft

    I would pay for a Coldplay album that consisted strictly of two-step and breakeats.

    EMI, are you listening?

  11. Anonymous

    In the spirit of Fiona Apple, do we think the label will shorten this title to simply “Vida”?

  12. loudersoft

    @HONEYBFLY: In the spirit of Fiona Apple, I wish they’d get Jon Brion to produce the album so I would give a shit about hearing it.

  13. Anonymous

    Coldplay or not, EMI survives. Just watch.

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