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Coldplay: Viva La Vida Analyzed

Updated on November 22, 2011

Viva La Vida...Long Live Life


A post French revolution setting with a Napoleonic Emperor narrative. A moment in time to enjoy a moment in history. An existential exercise, to peruse clues, to discern what possibly lies ahead. The music of Coldplay and video by Frank Coffman offer insight from the eyes of the artist.

the fiery intro leads to an image of Napoleon…

…"Take Napoleon Bonaparte for example. Here’s an Italian Nobleman whom becomes Emperor of France right after the French Revolution. He’s credited with staging a Coup d’état in 1799 which lead to his reign beginning in 1804."

Napoleon reflects upon the daze; when he led Armies of men into battle upon his white horse. In the daze of power and privilege; the daze of such power “Seas would rise when he gave the word.”

Fore he was Emperor, yearning for the good ole’ times of Caesar. Even the most craven Ideas regarding his pleasures were law. Those were the times violins could be heard playing in the background as Caesar ruled!

Napoleon’s recollection in the extreme brings him back to reality; alone. As the prisoner he is,he surrenders the past, accepting his exile to Saint Helena. Yet still; he use to own these streets, even if he sweeps them now.

…” This particular point of view is alive and thrived with the examination of Bugsy and Gotti. Surely it is better to be feared than to be loved…yes it’s Machiavelli all over. “

“Back to Napoleon", he recalls the days of the reign of terror.The standard being if you ate food you were the enemy. He recalls the event of public execution, courtesy la guillotine. He recalls the insatiable thirst of vengeance, quenched only by the flow of blood. He recalls the words of the crowd rejoicing ‘the old King is dead, long live the King.’ That is until the opulence and excesses would cause it to tumble.

For more than a decade Napoleon ruled and was loved, as Jesus was loved… "One minute I held the key, the next, the walls closed in " he has said. He reviews the similarities only to realize his demise was compassionate comparitively. One wonders if Napoleon “discovered that his castle stands upon pillars of salt and pillars of sand.”

‘A pillar of salt’ is a biblical reference to Lot’s wife disobeying authority and the punishment for doing so. The ultimate effect being to instill fear toward compliance of authority. Pillars of sand; What pillar can stand without a strong foundation? A pillar of Sand.  

End part I of Existential exercise.

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