Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Backup Dancers From Hell: Coldplay - “Viva La Vida”

We start with what looks like the image of an unfolding rose, which is pretty and all, but then it sort of changes into…I don’t know what that is. But before I can figure it out, we cut to lead singer Chris Martin wearing a very serious expression and studying something off to his side that we can’t see. But we can see that something appears to be odd about the texture of the video, and this is confirmed when we get a closeup of somebody banging on a drum, and the drum skin has that crackle effect that was popular on walls a few years ago. Did Martha Stewart direct this video from her prison cell?

Chris sings for a while, as we get quick images of other band members banging and stroking instruments. Then the band members start shoving their guitars and such directly at us, very dramatically, so I’m thinking maybe this thing was supposed to be in 3-D, but somebody forget to do something important. Like make the 3-D work.

The technology glitch apparently doesn’t matter, because Chris is determined for us to get the effect anyway, constantly waving his arms around and thrusting his hands at the camera. He looks a bit overly-frenetic while he’s doing this, and his actions do nothing to dispel the odd rumor I once heard that Chris Martin is actually Paula Abdul on crack.

Chris also likes to bounce. I mean really, really bounce. And thrust about. Incessantly. I understand that the rhythm of the song is infectious, and some people naturally express their appreciation of a good song by shaking their groove thing, but really, Chris, do you need to make it look like you and Gwyneth are procreating another child, this one named Starfruit?

And there he goes with shoving his hands at the camera again. Despite the stirring emotion of the story, this bit of theatricality is starting to annoy me. I don’t like to feel mildly threatened while listening to a pop song with a Spanish title. It’s just not something that I look forward to. So stop it.

Short bit where Chris does pushups incorrectly.

And somebody else keeps banging on a cast-iron bell. Is it time for supper?

Then we slip into the really dramatic part of the song. Everybody is still basically doing the same things, it’s just louder. Oh, and they let us see the screen waving behind them, which has images just like the album cover. That’s a nice touch. I still don’t really understand what this song is about or why the band is dressed in vaguely French-Revolution era couture, but at least the confusion is consistent.Geez, that one dude really loves that damn bell. I wonder what happened in his childhood that led to this?

Oh no, it appears that Chris may have stepped on a live wire that some idiot left stretched across the stage. His arms are flailing and his eyes are rolling back in his head. Poor guy. I may not care for his dancing, but I certainly don’t wish him electrical harm. That would just be rude.

We cut away to the other band members, all of whom have that requisite “I’m really bored out of my skull but I’m going to pretend like I’m having a swell time when the camera turns my way” look, an expression that all non-lead band members have to learn how to make per union rules. I’m assuming we’re cutting away so that medics can rush out and patch up Chris so he can finish the video shoot. Time is money, people.

Okay, Chris is back singing, and for the first time I notice a giant “V” on part of his shirt that is mostly hidden by his French Lieutenant’s Woman’s jacket. I don’t know if that symbol was always there, or it’s the result of his recent shock therapy, or if he really, really likes sci-fi series concerning Lizard People taking over the planet and making us all wear uninteresting clothing. Whatever the case, Chris has modified his dancing to now emulate a mime on crack. Okay, maybe a mime that doesn’t understand he’s not actually supposed to speak.

Then Chris gets a really bad migraine and has to hold his head in his heads. (This is really just not his day.) Luckily, the moment passes just in time for Chris to pretend that he is a marionette during the “puppet on a string” bit of the song. He’s very convincing at not having any life in his body. He must have taken classes or something.

Whoa, where the hell did Chris get all those rubber bracelets? Has Madonna been doing some spring cleaning?

Anyway, the song goes on for a while, with nothing really new to discuss. Chris is still pogo-ing around the stage, the band members are thrusting violin bows and guitar arms at us, and supper is getting cold and the bell-ringer is getting frustrated with our tardiness. (There is one quick shot of Chris singing the “St. Peter” part of the song while grasping at his crotch. I would normally get three paragraphs out of a move like that, but it’s getting late and I don’t have time for that.)

Short update from the Weather Channel. Something about a hurricane headed toward where the band is playing. Then it’s over and no one dies. Yay.

We finally get to that fun group chorus thing at the end where the whole band sings together, and you can see that they were all waiting for this part. The rest of the band goes from Slacker Cool to Glee Club in two seconds, wailing away with really wide mouths and their heads thrown back like they’re in the throes of extreme personal satisfaction. Good for them.

The song ends, and then we get short clips of the individual band members. Each just stands there for a bit, then they look off to the left while what looks like little rose petals fly off their bodies in slow-motion.

I have no idea.


Click Here to Watch the Video on YouTube.

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