COLDPLAY & r & & r & Viva la Vida & r & & r & 2 STARS & r & & r & & lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & I & lt;/span & loved Coldplay's last two albums, especially X & amp;Y. But I think Chris Martin and the boys paid too much attention to their press: Fans say they're flat-out awesome, while critics have argued they're trying too hard to be like U2. The result was an entirely new direction since a) they didn't want to be accessible like U2 (God forbid), and b) they are clearly awesome enough to pull it off. Well, they didn't. Despite some redeeming moments, Viva la Vida is a pretentious dud.
If they were so secure in their "new direction," why did they promote the record via that ubiquitous iTunes ad and "Viva la Vida," the one track that fits their previous catalog? The bait and switch worked, and it's been a mega-seller.
This is mood music at best, with endlessly repeating beats, songs that split in two for no good reason and lame lyrics: "You thought you might be a ghost / You didn't get to heaven, but you made it close." Seriously?
-- TED S. McGREGOR JR.
DOWNLOAD: "Strawberry Swing"
TILLY AND THE WALL
& lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & O & lt;/span & n their third release, Omaha indie-poppers Tilly and the Wall do their collective best to showcase just how much the band has grown up. However, the tracks revisit the Tilly of old: joyful, whimsical, lighthearted and effervescent tunes. Not a bad thing, surely, but the suggestions at a more mature approach to songwriting from tracks like "Pot Kettle Black" and "Blood Flower" are just brief glimpses at what could have been. Unfortunately, "What Could Have Been" would have been a far more appropriate title.
Over the course of 11 tracks and 32 minutes, the band reveals just how controlled their sound remains. Basically guitar-driven numbers backed by tap-dancing percussion, the album is a series of concise pop tunes. Some bubblegum pop might not aspire to much else, but, at some point, such limitations will not be enough for the band or its fans. Save your downloads for older material.
The new one is smart and funny and action-packed, and it’s bigger and better and sleeker. And Downey does it again, this time ramping up Stark’s arrogant wisecracking, telling anyone who’ll listen (mostly women) that, via the creation of his powerful Iron Man suit, he’s brought years of uninterrupted peace to the world.