Coldplay - Prospekt's March
Record Label: Capitol Records
Release Date: November 24, 2008 (USA)
We’ve all seen it before; we may have even been suckered by it before: the re-release/b-sides album. Some money-hungry label sees the success of an artist’s record, and therefore, in order to milk every red cent out of an artist’s audience, releases another record by that same artist, with songs that are either b-sides of the album or “re-worked” versions of the songs on the album (e.g. The Bravery). So when I heard Coldplay was releasing Prospekt’s March, a sister EP of the band’s magnificent Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends, I was a bit wary. The EP could be a flop, full of crappy remixes and mediocre b-sides, or it could be a refreshing and delightful reminder of why Coldplay is such a spectacular band. Lucky for me, I was presented with the latter.
“Life In Technicolor II,” unlike my original hypothesis, isn’t a sister track to the original instrumental track that opens Viva La Vida. Instead, the instrumentals remain almost identical to the original (except for the bass, which is more prominent) and instead of being completely instrumental, Chris Martin sings. Needless to say, the vocals are melodic and pleasant, building a different atmosphere and melodic emphasis than the original. “Postcards From Far Away” unfortunately, is only a fleeting 48 seconds of piano before breaking into the glitzy and enamoring “Glass of Water,” a track owning verses feeling like they’re tied down by ropes before exploding with the chorus in commanding guitars and time changing drums. Indeed, the song marks the heaviest Coldplay has ventured in some time, but isn’t commanded by dark tones, instead feeling much like a celebration amid a backbone of guitars and spacey synthesizers. “Rainy Day” boasts a playful rhythm of percussive elements and piano, feeling less like the moody Coldplay of yesteryear. The chorus, again, evokes strong feelings of a giant sounding string section with beautiful back-up vocals from Emily Bart-Smith, coagulating as one and stirring brightly as a Coldplay song has never stirred before. The title track, "Prospekt’s March/Poppyfields,” raises the mood and winds the tempo down to slow, properly infusing Martin’s soft and soulful voice atop finger-picked guitar, eventually building a foundation of synthesizer and starry electric guitar; audio imagery of a field of poppies in the breeze.
The last track, “Now My Feet Won’t Touch The Ground"” seems to be the younger sister to X&Y’s “Kingdom Come” as both are siblings of the same musical idea of acoustic guitar and swooning vocals. However, the former, with a backfill of horns, is gentler, fuzzier, and more peaceful, but equally as delightful as the original. The two remakes, “Lost+” and “Lovers In Japan (Osaka Sun Mix)" aren’t nearly as moving as the rest of the album, with Jay-Z spilling rhymes for a verse on “Lost+,” and adding some different percussive elements and space-like keyboards on the remake of “Lovers In Japan,” both acting as throw-in tracks - nothing more, nothing less.
Prospekt’s March, which offers three remakes of previously recorded songs, possesses five other songs that are pleasant, refreshing, and at times, moving, perfectly supplementing Viva La Vida without tip-toeing across the wide road of re-release marketing schemes. Although Viva La Vida is an overall stronger album, the songs featured on Prospekt’s March have character and individuality and are darn good at that, and will be sure to find themselves in regular rotation on my iPod right behind their big sister Viva La Vida.
Pretty good review - except you overuse the sibling/sister metaphor a bit.
Overall, I actually wasn't very impressed with Viva La Vida. It wasn't a bad album by any means, but it failed to blow me away - Viva La Vida was far and away the best track and the others were unspectacular.