Coldplay have graciously announced that they'll be bringing their Viva La Vida tour to Australia,and people here are already abuzz and I have no doubt tickets will be snapped up within minutes.They're available from Ticketek beginning 4 December,though the special presale opens tomorrow-click here for more details.If it were 2006,I'd be the first to get into gear and make it a matter of life or death to get those tickets,but alas its here/now and the band has changed significantly since their 2000 debut Parachutes-an album I consider perfect in every possible way,it was critically recieved and won a Grammy for the band.This is when they realized their enormous mainstream potential,began adapting to the times and changed their music as they see fit for charts.Its a band I once respected and admired,but they've grown portentous and I yearn for the day they become contented with the money they've made,and return to basics to produce something closer to Parachutes.
The tour announcement ties in with the release of their Viva La Vida - Prospekt’s March edition,an 8-track compilation available as an EP or in Viva La Vida's deluxe edition.The following review for it,copied from PITCHFORK (link to review here) echoes my sentiments about the band with perfect accuracy. (+vid for Lost-feat Jay-Z)
With this year's Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends, Coldplay tried to be
cool. They brought in Brian Eno to refine their bombast. They tried Bowie-style
funk and shoegaze. They wore military duds that made them look like Arcade Fire.
Everything seemed to be in place. But there was a problem: Coldplay's idea of
cool and the cultural reality are two different things. This eight-track stopgap
EP-- which doubles as a bonus disc on the obligatory Viva fourth-quarter deluxe
edition-- allows for an assessment of Coldplay's 2008 "We Are Edgy" campaign.
Can one daffy Brit and his personality-averse band bring the notion of cool
closer to them?
Ostensibly, Coldplay know cool when they see it. They tapped
operatic indie-rockers Shearwater and L.E.S. revivalist Santogold to open their
world tour this year. Chris Martin is friends with Kanye West and Jay-Z, who
contributes a verse on the Prospekt's March remix, "Lost +". Still, they lack
the spontaneity, innovation, and effortlessness that usually accompanies
edge-cutting phenomena. Take their recent performance on "Saturday Night Live":
For a guy who's played to millions of fans at shows, festivals, and on TV,
Martin came off like a clutzy ham not unlike former "SNL" mainstay Mary
Katherine Gallagher. He was startlingly out of breath and made an effort to act
out each of his simple couplets, all while yipping and hooting like a man poking
fun at Tourette's syndrome. It was awkward, but kinda endearing. (Defamer:
Coldplay's 'SNL' Freak-Out: Easy-Listening Performance Art, Awful, Or Both?)
So when calm and collected artists like Jay-Z cite Coldplay as their favorite band,
they're subconsciously subverting the same untouchable aura that bolsters their
own coolness. It makes little sense, but it's worked for them thus far. On the
overall hipness scale, Coldplay isn't close to, say, TV on the Radio, but in a
weird way they're bringing a bumbling DIY aesthetic to emotional arena rock.
And, just as Viva did an admirable job of troubleshooting the band's lazy
weaknesses while expanding their sound, Prospekt's March offers a truncated
version of their svelte and marginally progressive new formula. If this is the
best Big Rock has to offer this year, we're doing okay.
As far as money-making mini-releases go, Prospekt's March is relatively noble, i.e., no quickie dance remixes, only one "single edit" ("Lovers in Japan") and one piddly 48-second nstrumental ("Postcards from Far Away"). All in all, half the EP is made up of completely new material that could've easily made the original Viva. Talking
about the EP a couple months ago, Martin quipped that the new songs "might be
considered too catchy or too heavy for Coldplay songs." The heavy Coldplay song
may seem like an oxymoronic concept, but "Glass of Water" makes a good case for
the band turning up the volume more often. Granted, the whole thing centers
around one of the very few Meaning of Life clichés Martin has yet to utilize
(bet you can't guess exactly how much water is in that glass!), but the hook's
brash guitars render his words unintelligible anyway.
With Eno behind the knobs, everything sounds pristine, impeccable. "Prospekt's March/Poppyfields" could pass for a latter-day Radiohead ballad (except Martin replaces Thom Yorke's doom with hopeful pleads of "I don't wanna die"). With its micro-funk verse and symphony chorus, "Rainy Day" feels stiched together, but it's uniquely humble. "I love it when you come over to my house," sings Martin, taking a break from explaining death and all his friends for a moment. Mostly instrumental Viva intro "Life in Technicolor" is morphed into a full-fledged song here-- and it in
turn exposes the main obstacle in the way of Coldplay's desire to replicate U2
at their height.
Simply: Chris Martin needs to consider his lyrics more. He's
smart; he can do better than "don't you wish your life could be as simple as
fish swimmin' 'round in a barrel when you've got the gun." While Bono hasn't
written an astounding lyric in ages, there was a time when his universal maxims
rang true and felt close. Martin has shown flashes of this type of talent, but
his consistency isn't where it needs to be in order for Coldplay to elevate to
the supreme stadium-filling, critic-salivating level they so desire. With their
revised sound and twitching energy, these sensitive lads are primed for
something even bigger than their current little-kid-in-a-big-arena shenanigans.
A few elegant, cringe-proof words couldn't hurt.