Coldplay is a somewhat polarizing group in that you either love them or hate them, but they sure are popular. Today we look at the isolated vocal from their big hit “Viva La Vida” from the band’s 4th album of the same title. The song sold over 7 million copies worldwide and won the Grammy for Song of the Year in 2009, but it has been plagued by controversy. The song also has found much use by sporting teams all over the world.
There has been several plagiarism lawsuits by Joe Satriani and Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens) and others, but ultimately a professor of musicology showed that all the songs were similar to the composition “Se tu m’ami” by the Italian composer Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, who died in 1736. That said, here’s what to listen for.
1. Unlike many lead vocal performances in modern music, Chris Martin’s vocal isn’t doubled. It ends up sounding much more intimate as a result.
2. There’s both a delayed medium reverb that’s a tad on the dark side, as well as a separate timed delay to give the vocal some space.
3. The vocal is heavily compressed, more towards the end than the beginning of the song. There is a bit of sibilance that sounds like it’s being controlled by a de-esser, but that’s normal for a compressed vocal.
4. There’s a vocal glitch at 0:43 going from the verse to the B section the last verse phrase goes a little long against the obvious overdub of the B section.
5. During the chorus, a new stereo delay enters that’s panned hard left and right. The right side is longer and a little brighter than the left.