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HankMoody's avatar

Can someone help me understand the new Coldplay album?

Asked by HankMoody (358points) October 1st, 2008

Ok, gotta admit I feel a little old writing this, but what is up with the new Coldplay album? Do these songs actually mean something? Is there a theme I’m missing? Take “Viva La Vida” for example? Guy used to rule the world, now sweeps the streets…is that it? “Violet Hill”...“if you love me, won’t you let me know”...ok, I get that, but it doesn’t quite sound the same as garden-variety tortured love fare.

And what’s up with that album cover? It looks like Les Mis. And “death and all his friends”...what does that mean? Or does it all just mean…nothing?

Thanks to anyone who can help me feel less old. I have a birthday coming up and I feel like I need to understand Coldplay better to move on in life.

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11 Answers

loser's avatar

I don’t get it either.

HankMoody's avatar

Just by the by, I know the album isn’t “new” as it has been out for a few months now. I just meant their most recent work.

iwamoto's avatar

well, i never got coldplay anyway, if i try to listen to it, it’s not working, i can hear the sound but it’s not doing anything at all, so i think i’d dismiss it as “well, did any of their music ever make sense? birds flying at the speed of sound, etc etc.”

don’t mind me

aanuszek1's avatar

I do believe it talks about leading the crusades. This might help:

Via Yahoo Answers
It is a very literal interpretational ballad of Napoleon in the moments before his death in exile. I believe it is on Napoleon because of the Heavy French Classical influence coursing through the song as well as the Album cover, being a French Revolutionary Painting. Who else in France had a shot at ruling the world?

The first three verses are where he recounts his former glory (“Old king is dead, long live the king”) when he was going to rule the world, and how he held such power over his enemy. (“I used to rule the world/ Roll the dice”) And then he tells of his downfall, when he sees that he cannot rule the world, and how he has become the lowest.(“Now in the morning/ sweep the streets I used to own/ the walls were closed on me”) Sweeping is a nobody job, so He is saying that he is now a nobody.

The chorus, which varies progressively, is a realization that he sees his own death. (Bells and Choirs would ring and sing, respectively, during a Funeral Procession, in some cases) “Mirror Sword and Shield” could mean that he is awaiting heaven, since the three are very Christian symbols. “Missionaries” is another Christian allusion, but appears to be useless, unless referring to that he is asking that a room in Heaven be prepared for him. “For Some Reason I can’t explain, once you go…” appears to be a filler line, since it takes a different meaning later on. “That was when I ruled the world” is just a reprising line that sounds good. It restates that he no longer is glorious, and will die soon.

All the way from “Wicked and Wild wind” to “Oh who would ever want to be king” is a remembrance of his own rise to power and use of it. Also, because the French would Execute using the Guillotine, the “head on a silver plate” line also is an Allusion to Napoleonic France, as well as John the Baptist’s death.

The second Chorus is the same, save for the line, “I know saint peter won’t call my name”. this is Napoleon saying he won’t go to heaven since he was a tyrant. Saint Peter calling a name is symbolic of dying and going to Heaven.

There is an instrumental bridge where I suppose you could say Napoleon realizes death is inevitable, and accepts it, while the music becomes stronger.

The final Chorus has the change of “I know Saint peter won’t call my name” to “I know Saint Peter WILL call my name” Saying that Napoleon accepts his death. You can imagine Napoleon Closing his eyes at the words “When I ruled the world”

The song ends with a choir singing the main chords in harmony, in a sad, thoughtful fadeout, suggesting Napoleon is dead.

eambos's avatar

Your argument is invalid, @aanuszek1, It came from yahoo answers.

jjd2006's avatar

I don’t really get it, but I trust Coldplay enough to believe that they “get it” and that’s all that matters.

wilhel1812's avatar

Does it all have to mean something?

flameboi's avatar

o.k. I love the new coldplay album, in fact, I love coldplay, viva la vida is like women, you don’t really have to understand it, you love it or not, but you know, love is better with some vino in your glass…

aanuszek1's avatar

I support this answer. Not any others that come from YA though. I was mainly using it to back up and reiterate my answer so I feel that in this case (and this case only) it’s ok.

HankMoody's avatar

I guess it doesn’t have to mean anything, but they sure went to a lot of trouble for it to mean nothing. I think the feeling that I get from their work is just the slightest touch of pretentiousness, which is cool, I would just like to know what it’s all about…be in on the joke, ya know?

eambos's avatar

@aan I’m just messing with you, don’t worry.

I hate Coldplay, so I should have never gotten into this.

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