Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends

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Album artwork for 'Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends'

Viva la Vida Or Death And All His Friends is Coldplay's fourth studio album. It was released gradually between the 11th - 17th June 2008 via Parlophone and Capitol Records. In the UK it was released on the 12th June 2008 and after being on sale for only 3 days it achieved No1 status on the official UK Album chart selling over 302,000 units.

Singer Chris Martin chose the album title after seeing the phrase, which means “long live life,” on a painting by Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, who endured polio, a broken spine, and chronic pain for decades. “She went through a lot of shit, of course, and then she started a big painting in her house that said ‘Viva la Vida,’” says Martin. “I just loved the boldness of it.”

Of course, Frida Kahlo will not be the first name that jumps to most peoples’ minds when they hear the phrase. “Everyone thinks it comes from Ricky Martin, which is fine. I have absolute respect,” says the singer, who gave Coldplay its original name, Pectoralz, and named his children Apple and Moses. “I’ve been through this before, naming something or someone and everyone saying that ‘That’s a terrible name’. But then saying, ‘Well, fuck you, that’s what it’s called, and I’ll be proved to be right eventually’. So when Viva la Vida came along, I was kind of annoyed because I’m going to have to try and convince everybody of this, but it just felt right.”

Contents

Release Dates

The album will be released by EMI on different dates according to region:

  • June 11 - Japan
  • June 12 - UK & Norway
  • June 13 - Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Holland, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Belgium & Ireland
  • June 14 - Australia & New Zealand
  • June 16 - All other locations
  • June 17 - USA & Canada

Songs & Tracklisting

Songs for Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends

On April 10th, Prospekt posted up the official tracklisting consisting of 10 songs:

In July 2007 Coldplay revealed that the album seemed to be shaping up with Hispanic influences after having recorded in churches and other areas in Latin America and Spain, such as Barcelona. On their website, the band also described taking acoustic guitars and basic recording equipment to churches and experimenting with particular sounds. However, in the same note, it was stressed that the influence was not in any specific sound but a general feel to the songs taken as a whole.

What follows is a listing of all known songs written during the LP4 sessions:

Special Editions

  • Prospekts March Edition

The release of the Prospekts March EP also ushered a 2-CD edition of the album. It featured a different album cover in black and gold with the album and Prospekts March included together.

  • Tour Edition

An Asian-only release, this edition featured a different album cover with the 'VIVA' logo as featured on the Tour Programme. This 2-disc edition featured a DVD with all the videos: Violet Hill, Viva La Vida, Lovers In Japan, Lost!, Life In Technicolor ii, and Strawberry Swing.

The Origin Of 'Viva la Vida'

Chris Martin at the Frida Kahlo Museum in March 2007

Coldplay may have decided on 'Viva la Vida' for the name for the fourth album as far back as March 2007, Coldplaying.com can reveal.

'Viva La Vida' can have different meanings, and is translated into various phrases, depending on the language and culture. The first meaning that comes to mind of any Spanish speaker when hearing "Viva la Vida" is 'Live Life' or 'Live The Life'. A reverse translation of 'Long Live Life' would be 'La Vida Vive', or 'the life lives on'.

But for those born and raised in Mexico (which is where the phrase eminates from) 'Long Live Life' translates correctly into 'Viva la Vida', and is used to celebrate life. The local Mexican meaning of 'Viva...' is to exclaim and celebrate.

The picture right was taken outside Frida Kahlo's house (which nowadays is a museum) last year during the Latin American tour 2007. Chris Martin bought three books about her paintings and her life.


LP4 Chronology: 2006 → 2007 → 2008

Early in December 2006, Coldplay's official website announced a new Latin American tour for the beginning of 2007. Coldplay toured venues in Chile, Argentina, Brazil and Mexico. The band is currently in the process of writing material for their fourth studio album and are "keen to play some intimate shows to try out their new songs". In early December 2006, it was announced at Billboard.com that the next album was set for release in late 2007. The band has denied this through a Question and Answer section on their official website.

There are four known new songs: Mining On The Moon, The Butterfly, The Fall Of Man and Bucket For A Crown (which was debuted at an unplanned appearance at a benefit for the UK charity Mencap, when the frontman Chris Martin sang it among two of Bob Dylan's songs, and a cover of "When You Were Young" by The Killers. It is unknown whether these songs will appear on the upcoming album.

On January 26, 2007, during an interview on BBC Radio 4's Front Row, musician and producer Brian Eno revealed that he would be the producer for Coldplay's fourth album. The band confirmed this through a Question and Answer section on their official website.

In March 2007, famed producer Timbaland told GQ Magazine that he would be collaborating with the band on their next album.

On May 1, 2007, Coldplay.com was temporarily shut down. When the site was accessed, a note appeared atop an image of the previous site, reading: We are building a new site. It will be here VERY soon. Love, Coldplay. On June 18, 2007, the site was relaunched with a new design that resembles a journal timeline with hand written excerpts, pictures, and videos. As of August 16, 2007, the website does not contain any new official information on the new album such as release date and album title, but content found on the band's new site hints that the new album title may be Prospekt. The site also includes notes on sessions with Eno and Markus Draagainevs, stating that the lyrics are "much more abstract, much more visual than before," and that the music is "less straight-forward, more oblique."

Rolling Stones' Smoking Section was backstage at Wembley Stadium (or “Wembledon,” as the Tap’s Nigel Tufnel dubbed it), to suck up all the dirt at the London leg of Live Earth. Here is their report after bumping into Coldplay's Will Champion:

When we walked out into the VIP bleachers, we ran into Coldplay drummer (and one of the nicest dudes in the music biz) Will Champion, who had a tattoo on his arm of his own baby’s handprint. He told us that Coldplay is still in the studio, with producers including Brian Eno. They spent six months rehearsing their new songs, and, Will says, they’re “60 percent” done with the record. Chris Martin is in New York, working on vocals.

In July 2007 Coldplay revealed that the album seemed to be shaping up with Hispanic influences after having recorded in churches and other areas in Latin America and Spain, such as Barcelona. On their website, the band also described taking acoustic guitars and basic recording equipment to churches and experimenting with particular sounds. However, in the same note, it was stressed that the influence was not in any specific sound but a general feel to the songs taken as a whole.

On September 5, 2007, Coldplay revealed the track names of the new record on their website. It will be a short record (approx. 42 minutes) with approximately 9 songs, which will be chosen out of the following:

The song "42" may have something to do with the 42 songs that were trashed during the X&Y sessions, or it may have something to do with the decision to make the record approximately 42 minutes long. It may also be a double reference to the answer to life, the universe and everything that appears in Douglas Adams' science fiction comedy series The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, as other references have been made previously: the title of the song Don't Panic and the video to Talk, which showed a robot identical to Marvin the Paranoid Android.

Four other songs were written at various places throughout the list, but they were entirely blacked out, either indicating that they had been taken out of consideration, or the titles were not meant to be known. One of these blacked out names may be the name of the fourth album, as previous tracks have been for Parachutes, A Rush Of Blood To The Head and X&Y.

On 12th October 2007, NME announced that Coldplay's fourth album was at mixing stage. They wrote:

Coldplay have reached the mixing stage of their fourth album, it has been revealed. Kenny Anderson (aka King Creosote) revealed that his producer Jon Hopkins has been working on the production of Coldplay's new album. He told BBC 6Music that Hopkins recently mixed a song with Coldplay's Chris Martin.

"He's [Hopkins] done a mix of a song for them [Coldplay], I think they're really happy with that," said Anderson, before going on to explain that Hopkins had been playing keyboard on the new album.

"He's sitting in as their sort of guest keyboard player," he said. "They've been rehearsing for the new album, and he's sitting in doing keyboard parts, so I think they're trying stuff out. I don't know whether he'll get to go and play live with the band or not."

On October 26, 2007 a message on Coldplay.com suggested that two new songs titled Famous Old Painters and Glass Of Water have recently been written and added to consideration for the band's upcoming fourth album. While this announcement suggests further delays for the new album's release the composer of the message assures readers that "the self imposed deadline... still stands."

As of December 11, 2007, no release date has been set for Coldplay's fourth album. According to the band's website it will still be a few months until the album's release date and contents are finalized. It has been quoted as "the album people will remember them by" as well as a concise record "with at least two top-division songs being released independently."

On December 11, 2007 another message on Coldplay.com stated the album was in mixing stage. It revealed the use of a colliery brass band (tubes, trumpets, french horns, etc.) for the song Famous Old Painters.

In the February edition of Q magazine, an estimated release date of May/June 2008 was set but not confirmed. The magazine also revealed details of the songs Cemeteries Of London, Lost!, Yes!, Glass Of Water and Famous Old Painters. The band went for hypnosis sessions to try out new things and go out of their own comfort zone. It has been cited that the new album would sound like a brand new Coldplay.

On February 1, 2008, it was revealed that news songs were being recorded, an older song being re-recorded, new melodies and lyrics being added to older songs, and that the band should complete its mixing process by the end of the month. Two new songs were revealed: Lovers In Japan and Strawberry Swing. It was also confirmed that 'Prospekt' is not the title of the 4th album.

The Observer on 24th February, 2008 gave us more information on Coldplay's new album, and in particular, details of this track and the new CD artwork. Here's what they had to say:

Coldplay were persuaded to write the closing credit track for new British film The Escapist, a Sundance hit. Now the band have seen and loved the film, they have decided to include 'Song for the Escapist' on their forthcoming album. I hear, too, that the record company was a little miffed at having to redesign the CD artwork to include the song on the track listing, but the band insisted and their patronage will, I'm sure, give this tough British film a boost.

28th February 2008 was one of the most fruitful days for new details of the songs on Coldplay's fourth album. The song synopsis for nine tracks was revealed via a Rolling Stone online article posted earlier on that day, including new titles Death And All His Friends, Chinese Sleep Chant, Life In Technicolor and Reign Of Love. Meanwhile, Chris Martin says that Coldplay’s impending new album, due out this May, is so different to their first three that he’s fully aware “everyone might not like it.”

The band are currently busy putting the finishing touches to the record in North London with the legendary Brian Eno, and, speaking from the studio, they made it explicit that this album should be treated as a separate entity to their other works. Guitarists Jonny Buckland explains: "We felt like the first three albums were a trilogy, and we finished that. So we wanted to do something different."

On 29th February 2008, Coldplay announced that they will be headlining the 2008 Summer Sonic festival in Japan, and on 13th March 2008 we learned that they would be headlining the first ever Pemberton festival in Canada.

On 17th March 2008, new images of Coldplay's new website surfaced via their official web designers, SlenderFungus.com. In them, are confirmation that the album title has already been announced and seems to point in the direction of the title being Famous Old Painters.

The screenshots also give a clue to three new concert dates for the UK as 25th June at London's Wembley Arena, 26th June in Birmingham and 29th June at the Apollo in Manchester. However these dates appear unsubstantiated as they clash with other artists performing at the venues. There is also links for a forthcoming signed Lithograph competition.

On 18th March 2008, it was revealed that Coldplay’s fourth album, due out on June 16th [UK], June 17th [US], will be called Viva la Vida.

Singer Chris Martin chose it after seeing the phrase, which means “long live life,” on a painting by Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, who endured polio, a broken spine, and chronic pain for decades. “She went through a lot of shit, of course, and then she started a big painting in her house that said ‘Viva la Vida,’” says Martin. “I just loved the boldness of it.”

Of course, Frida Kahlo will not be the first name that jumps to most peoples’ minds when they hear the phrase. “Everyone thinks it comes from Ricky Martin, which is fine. I have absolute respect,” says the singer, who gave Coldplay its original name, Pectoralz, and named his children Apple and Moses. “I’ve been through this before, naming something or someone and everyone saying that ‘That’s a terrible name’. But then saying, ‘Well, fuck you, that’s what it’s called, and I’ll be proved to be right eventually’. So when Viva la Vida came along, I was kind of annoyed because I’m going to have to try and convince everybody of this, but it just felt right.”

However, the following day, the official Coldplay website reported that the album name will be Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends. Also, in the latest Prospekt message, Prospekt says that the album will be done in a week.

On 10th April 2008, a new journal entry appeared on Coldplay.com announcing the tracklist and release date, as well as hinting at new tracks to be released prior to the album's release.

On 27th April 2008, Coldplay.com was updated to reveal the official 'Viva la Vida' artwork as well as the free release of Violet Hill, which was able to be downloaded for one week from Tuesday April 29 at 12:15pm UTC. Free concert dates were also added at Brixton Academy, London on Monday 16 June as well as a free show at Madison Square Garden on Monday 23 June.

The new copy of NME magazine, which was due out on 7th May 2008, includes a single of Violet Hill as well as a B-Side, [A Spell A Rebel Yell]]. This single was not be available anywhere else.

The album's artwork featured the classic painting Liberty Leading the People (La Liberté guidant le peuple) by French painter Eugène Delacroix commemorating the July Revolution of 1830. It is currently on display in The Louvre in Paris.

On 15 June 2008, Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends topped the UK album chart, despite having been on sale for only three days. In that time, it sold 302,000 copies — making it “one of the fastest-selling records in UK history”. By the end of June, it had set a new record for most-downloaded album ever. The band have said that they will release another album in late 2009, that may feature a collaboration track with Kylie Minogue, called “Lhuna!”.

Rumours

Several titles of unconfirmed songs have appeared on the internet:

No confirmation from the Band's website has been made as of yet. It was also rumoured that Timbaland expressed interest and would be working on this album, but an idea for him to produce this album was denied by Coldplay in an interview with Radio channel Xfm.

Prospekt Journal Entries

April 10, 2008 - Toarmina, Sicily

VIVA LA VIDA

The powers-that-be tell me that it'll be available for general concumption on June 16/17, depending on where you live. We'll try to release a track or two before then...

Prospekt.


March 19, 2008 - Portland, Maine

Album should be finished by the end of the week. I'll write up a tracklisting once we've finally decided what it's going to be.

Prospekt.

PS - The actual title of the album is... 'Viva La Vida or Death And All His Friends'. We're finalising the tracklisting today.


Wednesday 30th January (2008) - Devon, UK

Back home for a few days. A brief rest before the final push.

Another four or five weeks and we should be home and dry: another ten mixes to re-recording one of the songs from scratch. In times gone by I would have set aside a month to re-record a track. However, the week before Christmas, we recorded two tracks in four days - Lovers In Japan and Strawberry Swing. On the fifth day (Friday), Chris put down new lyrics (and new melodies) on two other tracks. It was far and away the most productive and exciting week we've ever had in the studio. I was buzzing all through Christmas.

Since then, mixing has been slow and painstaking but that's just the nature of the beast. So... give us another month or so and we might just have an album worthy of your patience.

Prospekt.
PS - album title ≠ prospekt!


Thursday 6th December, 2007 - Mixing, New York

The ups and downs come thick and fast at this point in proceedings. One minute we're all buzzing about the mix of Prospekt's March; the next we're crippled by doubt over the drum track for Lost! One minute we're over the moon about a new artwork idea; the next, we're all gloomy about our slow progress in designing the live show. Later today, we've got a meeting about coldplay.com and how to make it the best darn website out there.

So, as you can gather, there's a lot going on... we're trying to pull all the threads together and get these songs (and all the hoopla that goes with them) ready to present to the big wide world. The funny thing is (and this is always the case), the creative momentum just keeps gathering. There's no sense of consolidation or winding down. In a couple of hours, we've got a colliery brass band (tubes, trumpets, French horns etc) coming in from Brooklyn to reinvent the third verse of 'Famous Old Painters'. Hats off to producer Markus (Dravs) for finding a group of musicians playing a style of music unique to a small area of Northern England in New York City at 24 hours' notice.

And Chris just keeps on writing... he's shown me five new songs in the last two days. I seriously don't know when he sleeps.

Prospekt.


Friday 26 October 2007 - London

The self-imposed deadline looms and new songs have arrived. Famous Old Painters and Glass Of Water. It's as if the pressure is a catalyst. The pressure to finish has triggered a new writing surge. However, the deadline still stands...

With two new songs to explore and record, there's a lot of extra work. But it can still be done. The sense of focus, in the studio, is palpable. Much credit must go to producer Marcus Dravs for pushing to the point of exhaustion but never beyond.

It feels like a very dense record. There are so many melodies and colours packed into a relatively short space (42 mins). As you'd expect with Brian Eno, there's experimentation, and exploration. But the music still has integrity. It's real and honest. There's no posturing or bombast.

The next few weeks will be intense. There's no doubt about that. I've already developed (a) a small patch of alapecia on my hand. Guy's got insomnia and Chris is up and down like a yo-yo. But when the deadline comes and the work is done, this will be the album I always dreamed we'd make.

Prospekt.


Friday, 21 September - London Studio Diary

This is the album I always dreamed they would make. It's the sound of a band realizing their own strength. The sound of four men with total confidence in themselves and one another.

It's the sound of a songwriter at the peak of his ability. Lyrically and melodically, Chris seems to have broken through past constraints. There's a new confidence to venture beyond the limit of the known and comfortable. An urge to explore and discover. His energy is electrifying - sometimes intimidating. A manic bundle of love, passion, and rage. A veracious appetite for life, eagerly devouring every minute of every day. He knows that time is short.

Jonny, too, has explored a whole new universe of sounds magicking up a new world for each song. His guitars are all over this album. Will has manipulated, mashed and spliced beats and time signature to produce rhythms that lead rather than follow the song. Guy - always the tastemaker and musical authority of the band - has guided and shaped the whole process always pushing but unafraid to rein things in when necessary.

The four of them together make up a formidable unit, and this is the album people will remember them by.

Prospekt


5th September 2007 - Tracks Unveiled

All back in the same room after a month off. I’ve missed the buzz. We’re still a few months from finishing, but already the arguments about tracklisting have begun. The plan has always been to make a short record. No more than 42 minutes, 9 songs (give or take) selected from the following:

  • Lost!
  • Cemeteries of London
  • ????
  • Violet Hill
  • Poppy Fields
  • 42
  • ????
  • Yes!
  • Leftrightleftrightleft
  • ????
  • ????
  • Rainy Day

To use a tired analogy, it’s like picking a football team. It’s not simply about individual talent, but overall cohesion and combined effectiveness.The bigger picture. An album that you can listen to from start to finish. The danger of this is that great songs may get left off the album because they don’t “fit”.

I have to confess that, as a confirmed non-musician, this approach slightly worries me. My feeling is that the album should be made up of the nine best recordings. If that means eight thrash metal tracks and one ballad then so be it. However that’s not the way the band see it and I have to respect their integrity.

Expect a short, concise record, with no fat and at least two top-division songs released independently.

Prospekt


24th July 2007 - Coldplay Recording In Catalan Churches

We've been travelling light - an acoustic guitar, a couple of mics, a laptop and some headphones. We're recording in Barcelona - moving from church to church, setting up where we can: in front of the altar, under the pulpit. We've been playing at the feet of archangels. It's an odd scene: a host of saints look down impassively upon four unkept band members, circled around a single mic stand - singing loudly together as recorded guitars reverberate around the church.

They're laying down backing vocals. Brian often joints them: group - singing is one of his great joys. Markus operates the recording and playback on his computer, asking for countless takes until he is finally satisfied.

The sights, sounds and flavours of Latin America and Spain have definitely infused into this album. The band visited Argentina, Chile, Brazil and Mexico earlier this year. Chris then came with the idea of recording in Spain. The music and lyrics have begun to reflect the strengthening Hispanic theme. No maracas or castanets, but a vibracy and colourfulness that owes much to the atmospheres of Buenos Aires and Barcelona. The effect is subtle but important.

Prospekt.


5th July 2007 - 'Tension and Confidence' Making LP4

One aspect of the recording process that I'll never get used to is tension.

Tension is an inherent part of recording. Without tension, there's no focus. Without focus, the work becomes shoddy and ineffectual. Tension means that people actually give a shit. I myself am not very good at dealing with tension. That's why I only spend short periods of time in the studio. I dip in and out. I'm too thin-skinned to thrive in the studio atmosphere. If you place six strong-willed men in a small room for ten months, working ten to twelve hour days on something they all care about passionately, friction is inevitable. What is remarkable is that this friction very rarely ignites into flame.

The key is communication - on Monday we had a five hour meeting. We discussed our approach, our methods, our timetable, our goals and pretty much anything else that came into our minds. Brian drew up a list of all 25 pieces of music that have been worked on during this session. The four band members, Brian, Markus and I all shared our thoughts on each and every track: how close it was to completion, what needed to be added, what needed to be removed or replaced, what sounded new and exciting, what sounded tired and old. The meeting was a ruthless dissection of all the work done so far. Markus was particularly brutal (as usual).

Very little material got unreserved thumbs up from everyone. However, far from feeling dispirited, we all came out feeling a lot more confident. It feels a lot better to check the map and know which direction you're headed and how far you've got to go rather than wander around aimlessly and hope for the best.

Prospekt.


20th June 2007 - Control Room

The control room is tiny. Literally smaller than my bedroom. The live room isn’t much bigger. About the size of the rehearsal room we used to have pre-record deal.

Brian Eno sits behind his laptop towards the back of the control room. A benevolent schoolmaster with the unquestioning respect of his charges. When he speaks, we listen. Markus Dravg [sp] prowls around the room like a big cat in a zoo. A heavyweight boxer with a paintbrush.

Two very different people, both equally formidable. Together Brian and Markus have introduced a sense of discipline that never existed in previous album sessions. The atmosphere is tense and urgent.

I’ve never seen the band so willing to be led, to be pushed. Chris just burst into my little room upstairs at the studio. He’s been working on lyrics. Much more abstract, much more visual than before. This is reflected in the music too: less straightforward, more oblique.

There’s a long way to go, but the initial auspices are good.

Prospekt

Chris Martin in Mexico City says...

Coldplay lead singer Chris Martin said Sunday his band is working on a new album featuring what he called a quintessential song that everybody should hear "before we die."

Martin and his band spoke hours before the final concert of a Latin American tour that took them to Chile, Argentina, Brazil and Mexico. The band said it plans to return to the studio after a two-year hiatus to record an album that will have a different sound from "X&Y," which has sold more than 2 million copies since it was released in 2005. Coldplay's label, Capitol Records, is part of London's EMI Group PLC.

"I think for a long time people felt like we were a band in black-and-white, and now we feel like because we have this incredible job, now we can do whatever we like and try all kinds of new things," Martin said. He added that the record will include what could be Coldplay's best song yet.

"In order for us to get excited about a new album, we have to have one song that we feel like everybody has to hear ... before we die, otherwise we'll be terribly depressed," Martin said. "So luckily with this new record we're going to make, we have that one song."

"I can't tell you about it, but it's basically genius," he joked.

Martin, who celebrated his 30th birthday on a Mexican beach last week, also said he is proud of Coldplay's activism to raise awareness about free trade practices around the globe and support poor farmers in developing countries.

Martin is a spokesman for the British aid group Oxfam's "Make Trade Fair" campaign, and Oxfam volunteers provide information on free trade and distribute petitions at Coldplay's concerts. The singer said he has hope for the future with less than two years left in President Bush's term. "I think we're all excited, everyone in the world is excited about the American elections next year," he said. "Sometimes it's easy to give up all hope."


LP4 Archived Information From 2006

What do we know about the 4th Coldplay studio album so far? The highly anticipated album is set to be released in late 2007, and there is already evidence that material has been written. At a charity gig on Monday, 27th November 2006, Chris Martin performed a four-song set, including two Bob Dylan covers, a song by The Killers and a brand new Coldplay song titled 'Bucket For A Crown'. Chris claimed that he had written the brand new Coldplay song just the night before with the help of a violin player who also joined him on stage.

On the 26 January 2007 during an interview on BBC's Radio 4, musician and producer Brian Eno mentioned he would be producing the new album. Asked whether it would sound anything like his previous works with band Talking Heads, Eno replied, "funnily enough, I mentioned to David Byrne the other day that we are trying very hard to stay clear of Talking Heads."

This is a far cry from the newspaper headlines the day after the Brit Awards 2006 when Chris Martin startled Coldplay fans as he announced: "We won't see you for a long time." COLDPLAY QUIT, the headlines screamed. This was news to the British rock 'n' roll quartet, left scrambling to deny rumors of its demise. "The thing about becoming a bigger band is your statements get made to be bigger than they really are," Martin says.

Chris Martin turned into Eric Cantona when the media caught up with the Coldplay singer and asked him about his farewell-to-the-Brits moment. Speaking at EMI's exclusive party at the Baglioni Hotel, Chris said: "You know, if the fox stays in the hole for too long it might get shot. Sometimes the fox needs to get back into its hole."

There was still confusion about how long Coldplay would be away before returning from self-imposed exile. Chris sparked global panic when he told the star-studded Brits it would be "a few years before you see us again".

Picking up one of the band's two awards - they won Best Album and Best British Single for Speed Of Sound - he said: "People are fed up with us. So are we."

Later, Chris tried to clear things up. He said: "I suppose everyone thinks we're jammy bastards after winning two awards. After we won I thought 'we must have paid someone a lot of money'."

Chris insisted the band's retreat from the front line was not permanent, before making his bizarre fox-in-the-hole reference. He then admitted: "It's three in the morning - maybe I'm not making much sense! So you'd better work out what that means on your own."

Chris is expected to spend more time with wife Gwyneth Paltrow and daughter Apple and son Moses. But a source close to the star said: "The band is Chris's passion, but they've been in each other's pockets on the road for 16 months touring the X&Y album. They think an extended break will do them all good."

The rumours were finally put to bed when a spokesman for the band said: "Coldplay are not quitting. They are touring until July 2006 and will then continue work on new material."


Back In The Studio

In April, Chris said he had promised his bandmates to get back into the studio at the end of the year. At the same time, Guy announced: "We hope to have something together by January. We're going to make sure with our new album that everyone remembers why Coldplay are one of the best bands in the world."

Speaking in the US, Coldplay's manager Dave Holmes told Billboard: "They're definitely hungry to get back in the studio to make another record; they've got a lot of material. So for next year we're looking at building a tour around their recording schedule. Ultimately it could potentially mean we end up releasing another record [2006] and continuing to tour well into '07."

Bassist Guy Berryman said that the group feel inspired to experiment more with their new songs. "I don't want to generalise it and say 'We're going to become electronic' because I don't think we are going to become truly electronic," he said. "I think there's going to be elements of lots of things. It's hard to say, all the ideas are just spinning around inside my head and I've got a lot of new toys to play with. I always like our next record to be a bit harder sounding. Not rock harder just edgier. We'll always have melody."

On 'X&Y' many of the songs didn't feel right to the band until they locked themselves away, just four members, and hammered them out live. This is a lesson Coldplay have learned for album four. "In the same way that we had loads of songs ready when we went in to do the last record and the record before, we're at that stage now where we've got songs," Champion explained. "I think they will need a lot of work, we need to learn how to play them. We've learnt from mistakes on the last record in terms of the idea that it's most important for us to play the songs together and to have them as live as possible."


New Coldplay Headquarters - London

Inspired by the German group Kraftwerk's Kling Klang studio where no outsiders are allowed, Will Champion announced plans on 25th February 2006 to look for a studio to invest in. "We’re trying to find somewhere we can set up and work from. In all these years working together we haven’t had a headquarters, our own studio or anything like that. We want somewhere that we can hole up and see what happens," Will Told NME.

Later that year, on 19th October 2006, Coldplaying.com confirmed Coldplay had invested in their own headquarters in Hampstead, London, as their permanent head-quarters, where they planned to work on their new album and stay close to their families. The move seemingly ended speculation that Coldplay’s future was uncertain. It was claimed the band have now entered a legal contract making them joint owners of the building which contains state-of-the-art recording studios and offices.


One 'interested party' asks...

Shortly afterwards, Debs Wild (publisher of the official website and friend of the band) confirmed rumours in the official site's Q&A section that the band was already back in the studio, smashing rumours they'd be "on a break":

Q. So where exactly in Hampstead is it? And how much have they bought it for? Have you seen it? What is it like? Big? Small? Did you get a tour? Will they be working in it every weekday, when they are off their ‘break’?

A. They’re not on a ‘break’. They’re just in between albums, so they go to the studio a lot as it’s being put together. I’m not going to give out the address though! Nor the cost! I have seen it. It’s great, but not finished yet.


Coldplay To Unveil New Songs In Latin America In 2007

Coldplay will unveil a batch of new songs during a Latin American tour in February and March. The trek will begin with a Feb. 14-16 stand in Santiago, Chile, and will run through a March 3 show in Mexico City.

"Having received such a phenomenal response to their last Latin American trip in 2003, [the band] personally chose to return to the region," reads a post on Coldplay's website, which also lists details for ticket onsales. The new material is earmarked for Coldplay's fourth studio album, which is tipped for a late 2007 release via Capitol. It will be the follow-up to 2005's "X&Y," which debuted at No. 1 on The Billboard 200.

Here are Coldplay's 2007 tour dates:

14 February 2007: Espacio Riesco, Santiago, Chile

15 February 2007: Espacio Riesco, Santiago, Chile

16 February 2007: Espacio Riesco, Santiago, Chile

20 February 2007: Gran Rex, Buenos Aires, Argentina

21 February 2007: Gran Rex, Buenos Aires, Argentina

22 February 2007: Gran Rex, Buenos Aires, Argentina

26 February 2007: Via, Sao Paulo, Brazil

27 February 2007: Via, Sao Paulo, Brazil

28 February 2007: Via, Sao Paulo, Brazil

3 March 2007: National Auditorium, Mexico City, Mexico

4 March 2007: National Auditorium, Mexico City, Mexico

The Oracle on Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends

June 12, 2013 - submitted by Laura, United Kingdom
Q. I know this is random but it's pretty important to me! Basically I've always thought I had the same birthday as Viva la Vida (12th June as it says on your website) however on other sites it says the 11th June? Which date is correct? I hope this website is right as it's my favourite album and I love the idea of sharing a birthday with it! Thanks!
The Oracle replies:
Oh it all used to be far simpler when all albums were released on Mondays!
VLV was released on different dates in different territories, for example, 11th June in Japan. Here in the UK it was released on the 12th.
That means that today is Viva's birthday! Last week was X&Y's...

July 25, 2011 - submitted by Asger, Denmark
Q. Hi Oracle.
In the upper left corner of the two middle pages in the Viva booklet, just above Lovers In Japan there stands something like SAMMAJNYCV??, obviously an abbreviation. Do you have any idea of what it means?
Asger
The Oracle replies:
Yes, I do. However... there's a mistake so it's actually incorrect. Doh! You have probably guessed that I am not going to tell you. I might do one day in the future but for now, let's keep an air of mystery about it.

June 8, 2010 - submitted by Alex, United States of America
Q. What is the person unwrapping in this video? It looks to be a fake live DVD but I'm not sure... seems like a lot of work just to trick a few people. Any idea as to what it is?
The Oracle replies:
It's not actually a fake; it's a legitimate Asian release that does indeed include a DVD of videos for Violet Hill, Viva La Vida, Lost!, Lovers In Japan, Life In Technicolor ii and Strawberry Swing.

May 6, 2010 - submitted by Jean, Philippines
Q. Hi Oracle!
How come it was stated in the album booklet of Viva la Vida album: "Paintings by Eugene Delacroix" though what I read in Wikipedia was: the painting used in the album cover art was by Frida Kahlo?
The Oracle replies:
No, the album name was taken from a Kahlo painting but the actual cover was Liberty Leading the People, a painting by Eugene Delacroix.

April 1, 2009 - submitted by Zeashanashraf, United Arab Emirates
Q. How did the idea for the VIVA logo come up? Was it first painted on Chris' piano or used as the site's logo? Who's the mastermind behind it?
The Oracle replies:
The band came up with the idea but it was Will who painted the logo. It was originally painted on a wall at The Bakery (their HQ).
There was another colour option before the black/red combo was decided upon.

March 25, 2009 - submitted by Christi, United States of America
Q. Dear Oracle, Forgive me if this is common knowledge but I'm a fairly new Coldplay fan. What are the paintings on the cover art of the Viva la Vida and Prospekt's March?
The Oracle replies:
Both feature original paintings by Eugène Delacroix. The first being Liberty Leading the People, the latter is called the Battle of Poitiers.

September 12, 2008 - submitted by Ruth, United States of America
Q. On Viva La Vida it credits Tim Crompton for "Good advice". Who is this wise Mr. Crompton?
The Oracle replies:
Tim is one of the band's closest friends. He is a singer, songwriter and musician. He was in a band called Coldplay and then he changed that name to The Bettina Motive. He's currently in The High Wire.

August 12, 2008 - submitted by Guillermo, Mexico
Q. Why there were rumors of which the new disc would be called "Prospekt"?
The Oracle replies:
There was a track that was being considered for inclusion on Viva la Vida called Prospekt's March. During recording journals were written by Prospekt. This led to many thinking the album would be titled so. It was actually mentioned as a potential name but that was in the early stages.


Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends
Violet Hill | Viva La Vida | Lost! | Lovers In Japan | Life In Technicolor ii | Strawberry Swing
Life In Technicolor | Cemeteries Of London | 42 | Reign Of Love | Yes | Chinese Sleep Chant | Death And All His Friends | The Escapist
Prospekt's March EP
Postcards From Far Away | Glass Of Water | Rainy Day | Prospekt's March/Poppyfields | Now My Feet Won't Touch The Ground
B-Sides/Other Releases
A Spell A Rebel Yell | Death Will Never Conquer | The Goldrush | Lhuna (ft. Kylie Minogue)
Unreleased Songs
LeftRightLeftRightLeft | Famous Old Painters | Lukas | School | The Dubliners
Chris Martin | Guy Berryman | Jonny Buckland | Will Champion
Phil Harvey | Brian Eno | Ken Nelson
Discography
EPs: Safety EP | The Blue Room EP | Norwegian Live EP | Prospekt's March EP | Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall
Albums: Parachutes | A Rush of Blood to the Head | X&Y | Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends | Mylo Xyloto
Live albums: Live 2003 | LeftRightLeftRightLeft | Live 2012
Compilations: The Singles 1999-2006
Miscellaneous: Ode to Deodorant | Mince Spies | Christmas Lights
Unofficial collections: A Rush Of B-Sides To Your Head | Castles | After After Before
Singles: Brothers & Sisters | Shiver | Yellow | Trouble | Don't Panic | In My Place | The Scientist | Clocks | God Put A Smile Upon Your Face | Speed of Sound | Fix You | Talk | The Hardest Part | What If | Violet Hill | Viva la Vida | Lost! | Lovers In Japan | Life In Technicolor ii | Strawberry Swing | Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall | Paradise | Charlie Brown | Princess Of China | Hurts Like Heaven
Tours: A Rush of Blood to the Head Tour | Twisted Logic Tour | Latin America Tour 2007 | Viva La Vida Tour | Mylo Xyloto Tour
Other Stuff
Songs | Videography | Concert Reviews | Coldplay Chronology | Collaborations
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