Coldplay "Viva La Vida"

Coldplay "Viva La Vida"
Over the next 25 days (save Christmas and New Year's), I'll be featuring my favourite tracks of 2008, some of which have already appeared in Click Hear throughout the year, some of which haven't. Thanks for reading.

There's a certain amount of guilt and/or shame in liking Coldplay. I hate to admit such a thing but it's something I feel whenever I publicly declare my fondness for them. My defense is simple though: they're great at writing grand, sweeping pop music that's inspiring, uplifting and reflective... for those that actually feel it. And for some reason that is strange to some and completely understandable to others, I feel it.

The semi-self-titled track from their mammoth Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends album is "grand, sweeping pop music" that definitely triggered some kind of emotion in millions of people this year. It certainly did on television, where it was used by Apple for iTunes and iPod, as well as in So You Think You Can Dance Canada and let us not forget, the opening scene of 90210's pilot - epic! It's also stirred up some controversy over the question of whether they nicked the melody from a Joe Satriani song. The guitar virtuoso seems to think so, and has recently launched a copyright infringement suit. The jokes, there are so many.

For me, what stands out most, other than the undeniable embarrassment that they paid Hype Williams six figures to direct (see below), is how Coldplay went orchestral for most of this track. Only on the bridges do you hear any traces of Jonny Buckland's guitar, or even the rhythm section (Guy Berryman and Will Champion), which seems heavily buried under the smothering string sections. It's classical yet contemporary, and gives a band always looking to progress a simple and very suitable new avenue to tap into. Plus, who would have guessed that one of the catchiest riffs all year would come from a string section?