Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends


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Adam R. Holz
Bob Smithouser

Album Review

Pro-Social Content

Lucidity isn’t the band’s strong suit. On several tracks, ethereal poetry features frontman Chris Martin pondering a spiritual dimension he’s not quite ready to embrace (“Cemeteries of London,” “Yes,” “42,” “Viva La Vida”). The first half of “Lovers in Japan/Reign of Love” speaks of perseverance (“Runners ’til the race is won”) and optimism (“One day the sun will come out”). The presence of a special person makes “every moment so precious” (“Strawberry Swing”). On “Death and All His Friends” Martin says, “I don’t want a battle from beginning to end/I don’t want a cycle of recycled revenge.” A line on “Lost!” warns a big fish in a little pond not to get too comfortable and assume he has arrived.

Objectionable Content

“Yes” seems to be about a tired, lonely man giving in to sexual temptation (“We were dying of frustration, saying, ‘Lord, lead me not into temptation’/ But it’s not easy when she turns you on”). A female revolutionary on the cover is bare-breasted. Songs tinker with religiosity the way one might finger a wind chime—enjoying the sound while dismissing it as a whimsical instrument.

Summary Advisory

Moody melodies. Murky messages. There’s a lot of talk about God, war and politics, but it’s hard to know how the band really feels about them. It’s a wispy release without much to get excited about.

Adam R. Holz

After serving as an associate editor at NavPress’ Discipleship Journal and consulting editor for Current Thoughts and Trends, Adam now oversees the editing and publishing of Plugged In’s reviews as the site’s director. He and his wife, Jennifer, have three children. In their free time, the Holzes enjoy playing games, a variety of musical instruments, swimming and … watching movies.

Bob Smithouser
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