Viva La Vida

Album: Viva la Vida (2008)
Charted: 1 1
  • Frontman Chris Martin told Rolling Stone that he christened this song and the album "Viva la Vida" - meaning "long live life" or more literally, "the life lives" - after he saw the phrase on a painting by Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. He explained: "She went through a lot of s--t, of course, and then she started a big painting in her house that said 'Viva la Vida.' I just loved the boldness of it."

    The movie Frida, starring Salma Hayek, is about her life.
  • Both this and "Violet Hill" debuted in the Top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100 chart for week ending May 24, 2008. It is a rare feat for an act to have two songs debuting in the same week.
  • This song was released exclusively on iTunes, and was featured in a commercial for the music-download service that showed stylized images of the band performing the song. The spot hyped the song nicely, presenting the name of it at the end - helpful since the title doesn't appear in the lyrics.
  • Bassist Guy Berryman explained to Q magazine July 2008 about this song that features lyrics about cavalries, missionaries and kings: "It's a story about a king who's lost his kingdom, and all the album's artwork is based on the idea of revolutionaries and guerrillas. There's this slightly anti-authoritarian viewpoint that's crept into some of the lyrics and it's some of the payoff between being surrounded by governments on one side, but also we're human beings with emotions and we're all going to die and the stupidity of what we have to put up with every day. Hence the album title."
  • Q magazine asked Chris Martin about the lyric on this song "I know Saint Peter won't call my name." The Coldplay lead singer replied: "It's about… You're not on the list. I was a naughty boy. It's always fascinated me that idea of finishing your life and then being analyzed on it. And it's that runs through most religions. That's why people blow up buildings. Because they think they're going to get lots of virgins. I always feel like saying, Just join a band (cackles head off). That is the most frightening thing you could possibly say to somebody. Eternal damnation. I know about this stuff because I studied it. I was into it all. I know it. It's still mildly terrifying to me. And this is serious."
  • Drummer Will Champion told Q magazine February 2008 that many of the tracks on the album share a theme of "trying to remember what's important in your life, rather than being carried away by the trappings of other things."
  • Coldplay hired Brian Eno (David Bowie, Talking Heads, and U2) to produce this album. X&Y saw the end of what the band calls "Oldplay" and they felt they wanted to start off fresh and explore different directions. Guitarist Jonny Buckland explained to Rolling Stone: "We felt like the first three albums were a trilogy, and we finished that. So we wanted to do something different."

    Bassist Guy Berryman told Rolling Stone about working with Eno: "It wasn't so much that he brings like a sound or something to it. He brings lots of ideas about everything, even down to like how we structured our day."
  • When this reached to Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100, Coldplay became the first British male group to score a second top 10 hit on the Hot 100 in 17 years, (they'd previously reached #8 with "Speed Of Sound" in May 2005). In 1991 both Jesus Jones ("Right Here, Right Now" and "Real Real Real.") and the Escape Club ("Wild Wild West" and "I'll Be There") scored their second (and last) US Top 10 hits.
  • The album sleeve is a reproduction of Eugène Delacroix's painting Liberty Leading The People, which commemorates the French Revolution of 1830. The music video, directed by Hype Williams, features the guys performing in front of a blurry backdrop of the painting.
  • Chris Martin spoke to MTV News about this song: "I think everything we're trying to do at the moment is about not starting again so much as breaking down what we've built up before and trying to build something different and hopefully better, or worse in a good way. And this song is one of our favorites, because none of us are doing anything on it that we've ever done before. But we really enjoy playing it. The longer you go on as a band, the harder it is to surprise yourself."
  • A little-known US group called Creaky Boards accused Coldplay of stealing this song's melody from a number they wrote in 2007 called, ironically, "The Songs I Didn't Write." Andrew Hoepfner, Creaky Boards' singer and songwriter, alleged that Chris Martin attended a Creaky Boards concert in New York in October 2007. Coldplay vigorously denied the allegations claiming that on the night Martin was supposed to be watching them, he was actually working at the Air Studio in London. Additionally this song was written and demoed seven months before the night in question.
  • When this hit the summit of the US Hot 100 with Katy Perry's "I Kissed a Girl" as runner-up in June 2008, this marked the first time that Capitol has had the top two slots on the American singles chart in the same week for over 40 years. The previous instance had been in September 1967, when the label had Bobbie Gentry's "Ode To Billie Joe" at #1 and the Beatles' "All You Need Is Love" at #2.
  • Coldplay were the first British group to hit #1 on the Hot 100 for over ten years. The previous British group to top the US singles chart was the Spice Girls with "Wannabe" in February 1997.
  • The album broke the record for most iTunes downloads in a single day, previously held by Jack Johnson's Sleep Through the Static .
  • By the time this had reached #1 in both the UK and US, a promotional video had yet to be released to accompany it.
  • This was at least the eighth US #1 hit where the title was at least partially in Spanish, following "Bailamos," "El Paso," "I Adore Mi Amor," "La Bamba," "Livin' La Vida Loca," "Macarena" and "Tequila."
  • This was the fourth US chart-topper this century and the first by a group not to feature its title in the song's lyrics. The others have been "Dilemma" by Nelly featuring Kelly Rowland, "Foolish," by Ashanti and "Family Affair" by Mary J. Blige.
  • Chris Martin told The London Times November 28, 2008, he saw this song about a deposed dictator reduced to "sweep[ing] the streets I used to own" as being "really positive." He explained that he saw it as "more like a turning-over-a-new-leaf kind of song." Martin added that its like I've messed up, "and I don't mind being punished, but I can get redemption."
  • The Viva La Vida album was the most downloaded set of 2008 on iTunes, with more than 500,000 digital copies sold since its release in June. The second most downloaded album was Jack Johnson's Sleep Through the Static, followed by the soundtrack to Juno Meanwhile the title track of Viva La Vida was the second most downloaded single behind Leona Lewis' "Bleeding Love."
  • On December 4, 2008, the American rock guitarist Joe Satriani filed a lawsuit against Coldplay, accusing them of plagiarizing the melody of "If I Could Fly" from his 2004 album Is There Love in Space?. Satriani alleged that Coldplay had "copied and incorporated substantial original portions" of his instrumental track. It was announced on September 15, 2009 that the two parties had settled their legal entanglements and Satriani's lawsuit alleging copyright infringement had been dismissed, with both parties potentially agreeing to an out-of-court settlement.
  • This reached #1 on the Hot 100, Hot Digital Songs, Adult Top 40 Airplay, Triple A Airplay, Modern Rock Airplay and Adult Contemporary charts. It was the first song to reach the top position on all six tallies.
  • This won for Song of the Year at the Grammy Awards in 2009. Coldplay performed it on the broadcast, where the album also won for Best Rock Album. Beating out Metallica for the award, Chris Martin explained, "We're not the heaviest of Rock bands - we're more like limestone, a little softer, but just as charming."
  • Viva La Vida was the best selling album worldwide of 2008 with 6.8 million copies sold. AC/DC's Black Ice was the second best seller of 2008, followed by the Mamma Mia! soundtrack.
  • In addition to Joe Satrini's lawsuit, Yusuf Islam claimed this resembles his 1973 song, "Foreigner Suite," which he recorded under his old name of Cat Stevens. Coldplay drummer Will Champion responded to the claims of plagiarism to HamptonRoads.com by claiming the band are a victim of their success. Said Champion: "It's tough when people accuse you of stealing something, when you know that you didn't. So, we accept that it's part of the territory and know it is only for some reason, God only knows why, the successful songs that seem to be the ones that are accused of being stolen. So you go figure it out." Her added: "There are elements of our music that I've heard in other people's music. It's interesting but a very difficult thing to define. There are only eight notes in an octave and no one owns them. And there are probably about 12,000 songs that feature the exact same chord progression. I think it lies on an intent to steal, which we certainly have never done and never would. So, it's unfortunate but it's the way people are. That's that. We're confident we haven't done anything wrong."
  • This picked up the award for Song of the Year at the 29th Annual ASCAP Awards in London.
  • This was voted Festival Anthem Of The Year at the very first European Festival Awards held on January 13, 2010.
  • Weezer released a live cover of this song among a series of bonus tracks on the Deluxe edition of their album Hurley. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bertrand - Paris, France
  • Coldplay opened their set at the 2016 Super Bowl halftime show with a performance of this song. The were joined on stage for this segment by members of the Youth Orchestra Los Angeles (YOLA), which added strings.
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Comments: 98

  • Festive Satan from HellI do believe this is about many different things- the concept of religious revolution in general. However, when I listen to songs amazingly meaningful, yet so hard to decipher, like this one, I build stories in my head on them, and what follows is the story I built.

    We all forgot Lucifer was an angel, too. Lucifer Morningstar (he really needs a last name, and the repetition is nice for those who realize Lucifer and Morningstar both mean, literally speaking, "the sun"), the brightest amongst them- a prince, really. He hoped to soon become engaged to a female angel of about his rank, around 10 millenia ago, and he was feeling great. Like all the other angels, he had total faith in his Father, and wanted to help him in guiding this young, but surprisingly intelligent, human race- the garden of Eden was just a myth that wasn't even invented yet. The building of Heaven for the dead was a part of his job, as it was for the others.
    But when his Father began creating Hell, he kept it hidden. Lucifer, out of curiosity, accidentally discovered this strange realm, and confronted his father. This, among other ideas that had been recently troubling him, came pouring out.
    What Lucifer did not figure out was that this Hell would need an attendant, and his Father had yet to pick one. All he had to do was turn around, believing the disagreement forgiven, before he saw nothing but the ground and the sky as he spiraled to the ground, shining like the morning star.
    Years, decades, and centuries passed where Lucifer mourned- his Father's support was all he had, along with the companionship of the other angels. The others wouldn't talk to him any more, due to the lies his Father spread of him, and of sins which he had not committed (for the most part, anyway). His Father forced him into punishing the 'wicked', whether he liked it or not. Lucifer tried many ploys to gain his Father's approval, but never succeeded. Nevertheless, he and his Father both drastically grew in power- the belief of mortals in their existence being the source of much of their power. The other angels felt far less growth, but growth nonetheless.
    So centuries passed, lonely in Hell. Of course, Lucifer frequently left for the mortal world under the guise of "Luke", to do research, gather new information and materials, study and guide humans (he later served in the Civil War, WWI, WWII, and several other wars, as both a sharpshooter and a medic), and even search for love. Of course, no human would take him once they knew him for who he really was; his Father's lies extended even to mortal culture, and he wasn't fond of having holy water thrown at him (It wouldn't hurt him, mind you, it just smelled bad. You would too if you sat in a church for who knows how long).
    Finally, in the 1960s, he began to forget his obsession with recovering the approval of his Father, and soon after, things picked up. He even found love later on, in 2007-ish. Since the time of his fall, he had learned and observed how his Father ruled- with an iron fist, blind faith, indoctrination from birth, and dogmatic atmosphere (kinda like a lot of churches I know...). Keeping the angels busy with the rapidly growing number of deceased souls didn't hurt, as it gave them less time to think deeply.
    Near the end of 2010, Lucifer wished to ask, one last time, for his Father's approval. He would be getting married soon, and wished his bride's safety. Knowing she couldn't have it, he ventured to Heaven and asked his Father.
    It was then his Father told him he had only thrown him out for convenience. Not for some perceived wrongdoing, or Lucifer turning his back on blind faith, but for convenience.
    Having gained a cool head in his many years, Lucifer rarely exploded. But this destruction of something so fundamental, an ultimate truth in his world, pushed him too far. Lucifer declared ultimate war on his Father's domain, and was promptly thrown down for a second time.
    In the intervening time, Lucifer became obsessed with planning and analyzing tactics for the war, and during this time his now-wife had a child. When this child disappeared and became presumed dead, despite being the devil's daughter, Lucifer struggled to maintain focus.
    The war eventually came, and lasted weeks on end, with very little fighting. Heaven hoped to tire Lucifer (who was far more powerful than any of the other angels now, due to his enormous belief base) through lack of sleep, as Lucifer couldn't know when exactly they would attack. Fortunately, he had a copy of an old Bible. Having been the militant leader of Heaven so long ago, and unparalleled among the angels in that regard, most of his contingency plans were never changed. They were later transcribed (with many errors) in Revelations, and this gave him a distinct advantage, along with more combat experience than any other angel, throughout the war.
    They came in waves, one choir under the command of each of the seven Archangels; the first came on Saturday (Sariel), then the next Friday (Phanuel), and so on (Michael attacked on the Monday after Gabriel's attack. Sunday was a holy day).
    What changed, though, was the attack on a Wednesday, led by Uriel. Normally, the choir directed by an archangel would swarm Lucifer until he waded through them, and then faced down the archangel commanding them. This time, however, there remained one persistent angel he could not defeat, at least not whilst outnumbered. When the rest of the choir lay slain around him, and yet in one-on-one combat, the persistent opponent held their own (albeit barely), Lucifer began worrying- the lack of sleep was obviously getting to him.
    But when by chance he managed to separate the angel, clad in full plate armor, from their helmet, he was no less confused than he had been. Only the angel's ringing question clarified anything: "Of course you wouldn't recognize me. I doubt mother would either."
    With this he saw the undeniable resemblance, and reeled accordingly. Despite the specifics and unknown details of the situation, he hardly had time then to wonder how it all came about. The duel continued with haste, and what could only be described as unbridled rage drove his child to greater and greater risks, until finally the recklessness left them slain at their father's feet.
    The war continued until all the angels were defeated, including his one-time friend Michael. And on the day following Michael's defeat, Lucifer faced his own renounced Father.
    What followed was a battle both mental and physical, and all the angels (many having reincarnated since their physical deaths) knew was that the doors of the Celestial Church were blown down, and the windows shattered, as a startling wind blew every opening of the church wide open.
    The resulting feeling of exposure amongst the angels was accompanied by a chill not brought by the wind alone.
    Lucifer and his wife rejoiced his success- despite all odds, he had prevailed in his battle, proven his Father was not untouchable, and seized control of Heaven- to an extent. For fear of revolt, and because he had no desire to rule alone, he instead instituted a council composed of the archangels, rejoined their numbers (he kicked his replacement, Phanuel, back down to the rank of angel), and with them declared the shared responsibility for governing Hell.
    Resentment did not stop, of course. The same shattering of their fundamental truths that had so shaken Lucifer came when the Father did not return to them many weeks later. Their doubt only drove them to work harder towards what they knew the Father would want them to do.
    Michael had not the heart to lead a revolution. Knowing Lucifer, and the stresses he now endured so often and so regularly on a daily basis, he hadn't the heart to betray Lucifer, and Michael's own slight doubts concerning his Father's policy did not help this.
    With this soon plain to the angels, they turned not to Gabriel (as he was incompetent), but to the greatest tactician and one of the best combatants amongst the angels, despite her very young age (or at least, young relative to the other immortals).
    Before long, Lucifer found himself back in Hell, with the daughter that hated him so sitting on the throne of Heaven, swearing herself to continuing the duty of her grandfather.
    His mind broken by the sudden, revolutionary mental attack of the other angels, Lucifer fell back into his Father's service, carrying on the duty he had been assigned so long ago.

    Hope you enjoyed.
    :)
  • Elle from HoustonIt's ultimately up to the listener bit after playing it 60 - yes 60x - when I first heard & saw the song in the video, I sense that it is about Lucifer or Satan who fell from Heaven. He was supposedly beautiful and powerful and Chris Martins movements at the end of the song look like an angel literally "falling" - it's someone much more powerful than a King for sure. I just see Lucifer.
  • Rod W.bruyere from Los Angeles,californiaAnd formerly 'La Dolce Vida'
  • Rod W.bruyere from Los Angeles,californiaThis is purely an embellishment - a fantasy of life in the 'mean streets' of Vancouver Canada. It actually means having control of the mean streets and very quickly you can lose your position as king when somebody new with more quantity to sell and give away
    as well as ruling one day and the next being homeless, sleeping on the very streets you used to control.

    People on the mean streets are never honest and always lie and hustle you and just wait for you to fall again, thus 'revolutionaries waiting for your head on a silver platter.' St. Peter and Jerusalem's bells etc is when he was in coma at St. Paul's hospital for six days... And came out of it and realized he was just a puppet to all the street people and not in control of even himself.

    It's a very simple song about life in the mean streets of Vancouver, romanticizing a bad, ruthless, dirty, hopeless life.
  • Darcy from New JerseyYou guys are so funny. Most of you who listed different rulers as the subject of the song are correct. The song is actually Edom's song when Israel's kingdom returns and reigns the whole earth. The "Roman Calvary" makes it clear who's singing. The singer is an Edomite who knows his name won't be in the book of life. This is why the so-called "white people" love the song so much... and they don't really know why they feel they have a connection to the lyrics. If they knew what it meant mayyyybe they wouldn't like it so much... haha
  • Johnson from NoI always thought this song was about the crusades due to the mentioning of the "Roman Calvary" and "Jerusalem Bells."
  • Kaylen from Cary, NcThe songs in the album reminds me about life, and the world. It has a lot of meanings, like how bad things could be happening, or having a depressing life. having a relationship that's not really working out. Basically means about LIFE!
  • J from Longview, TxI think it's about humanity and how we realize our sin when Jesus comes back and that none of us are worthy of heaven.
  • Joshua from Antelope, CaSong speaks to me like crazy
  • Kimberly from Landing, NjRuling the world take Balls Balls of reality.

    World Turns and is tuning faster ten ever. Media Has its way of Reality Mixed with Politics.

    Agree the power of words are Diced into Political Revenue.
    sad to say but true.

    Just Keep Believing. *
  • Sts from Smithfield, NcIt's simple, Satan (the Devil & ruler of the present world) realizes he's going to hell & not heaven when Jesus returns...
  • Chrisian from Port Saint Lucie, FlWow, go Coldplay, and btw Cindee, what was wrong with Violet Hill, that song was amazing and a great addition to their abulm?
  • Elizabeth from Anytown, Ili know every word of this song! HORAY FOR COLDPLAY!
  • Cindee from San Diego, CaGreet song! I had my doubts after Violent Hill, but this song has regained my confidence in the upcoming album.
    check this: acoustic guitar lessons
  • K from Wilmington, Ncgeez, guys, I thought the song was about reincarnation. Going from one life to another and remembering. Maybe I'm not so deep or something. Guess I'm going to get hate mail for even mentioning that. *shrugs*.
  • Yourmom from Fidsofhos, Pai was curious so i looked it up on a few different sites, and the meaning that made most sense was that it's about the french revolution.

    http://www.lyricinterpretations.com/Coldplay/Viva-La-Vida
  • Imani from Englewood, NjAfter hearing all that you guys have to say about this song I have come to only one conclusion: it has many many allusions. So many that it is open to several interpretations. As a born again Christian, I had to hear what other people had to say about it because my first instinct was "Are they talkiing about God (Jesus)?" Maybe, maybe not. If they are, I'd like to make a point: this is not a "Christian song". I don't have evidence to deem it "blasphemous," but it wasn't written for God, despite the allusions. I'm not sure how I feel about this song (I don't want to claim it as a favorite because I don't know its meaning or what the songwriter's intentions are and I'm keeping my guard up), but it is clearly a work of art. Some of the best songs are ones that everyone can relate to and understand, but some of the best songs need to be deciphered (like The Beatles' "Come Together" for example.) Cool.
  • Cameron from Simi Valley, Aroh yeah....and there the only thikng tat ever ruled pretty much the whole world...or at least most of it...
  • Cameron from Simi Valley, ArI believe that it does talk about the fall of a "king", a certain king. Coldplay makes it sound more blatant than it really is. It talks about the Renaissance, I believe. The Bible quotes...more specifically "pillars of salt and pillars of sand". Look what you built the Roman Catholic Church on. "Never an Honest Word"...not putting down the church but this is talking about the church pre-Renaissance. Of course Coldplay will never confirm anything. You should think about it. Read the lyrics, and realize that the Renaissance tore a lie-machine, which this song describes. This song of course, applying to many things, I believe takes most from this. The "king" is more figuartive than a king, the king was the church. Don't listen to artists. They don't want you to know what their songs truly mean. ;)
  • Rick from Alamo, TxOh please, stop finding similarities between the lyrics of this song with world history, Shakespere or the Bible. We've all gone through certain struggles in our life whether it was being betrayed by a friend or losing our most earthly possesions. I've seen people with all the money in the world and all materialistic possesions eat dinner alone without a friend in the world. I've seen Supervisors who at one time gave orders to employees suddenly end up in the unemployment line. we've all been victims to back stabbers and traders. we've all desired having everything placed at our feet. but in the end none of those things will matter or make us who we are. some of the most happiest people in the world live a quaint and simple life not worrying about lifes expenses. this song is about you and your life. Long live Life "Viva La VIda"
  • Annika from Rowlett, Txwell....um i dont wantt to offend anyone, but if anyone has ever read Julius Caesar by William Shakespear. this song really does relate to the play.when it says "now the old King is dead! long live the king" is like after Caesar is murderedd, all the citizens of Rome still honor Caesar. "one minute I held the key" is like Caesar saying that he used to be loved by all of Rome. "next the walls were closed on me" he was stabbed by all his fellow countrymen. "Be my mirrormy sword my shield" Cassius tells Brutus that he will be Brutus' mirror so he can see himself. "never an honest word" is like the fact that neither Caesar and Brutus were told the truth throughout the play. "people couldn't believe what i'd become" is both Brutus and Caesar. People couldn't belive that Brutus would kill Caesar and people couldn't belive that Caesar would become so 'power-happy'. "just a puppet on a lonely string" Brutus was the conspiritors puppet and way to get to Caesar. "Roman calvary chiors are singing" is when Mark Antony and Octavius(the romans) fight against Brutus and Cassius(the conspiritors) and win which makes them happy and cheer which is like singing. "wicked and wild winds blew down the doors to let me in" would be Cassius who was the bad guy, going to Brutus showing Brutus that Caesar was going to use his power wrong thus making Brutus join in the conspiriacy. i may be 100% wrong, but this is what my english cass is talking about. so if you think im right or you think im wrong, thats ok. :)
  • Sarah from Columbia, ScTo me, this song is about the disciples and apostles of Jesus mentioned in the New Testament. "I used to rule the world" refers to the comfortable lives the followers had before they met Jesus. "I used to roll the dice, feel the fear in my enemy's eyes" could refer to Paul, who was a well-known killer and persecuter of Christians before he found Christ. "I discovered that my castles stand upon pillars of salt, pillars of sand" refers to a parable in which Jesus compares a life of sin to a house built on sand, in contrast to a godly life that is like a house built on a steady rock. "Pillars of salt" can also refer to the Old Testament, where a woman known as Lot's wife disobeyed God and was turned into a pillar of salt. "Be my mirror, my sword and shield" means to reflect God, and He will take care of you. "My missionaries in a foreign field" obviously refers to the Great Commission, which was Jesus's final commandment to go and tell others the Gospel. His disciples and the Apostle Paul shaped their lives around the Great Commission. "It was the wicked and wild wind, blew down the doors to let me in, Shattered windows and the sound of drums" could possibly refer to the earthquake that opened the prison doors and released Paul and Silas from their chains and prison. "Revolutionaries wait for my head on a silver plate" refers to the request a woman made for her mother--to have John the Baptist's head on a silver plate. This request was fulfilled. I have heard people debate the lyric "I know Saint Peter..."  Some say it's "will call my name", some say it's "won't". If it is "will", then that makes sense because the disciples and apostles know they are going to Heaven. If it is "won't", then that could mean that they don't feel they deserve to go to Heaven--a trait common in Christians awed by the holiness of God.
  • Leah from Brooklyn, NyHere's a comparison video between Cat Steven's "Foreigner Suite" and VIVA LA VIDA: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5GqBn8hP-QQ&feature=fvw
  • Leah from Brooklyn, NyHere's an interesting expert's analysis of the contention that Coldplay 'borrowed' Joe Satriani's "If I Could Fly" for VIVA LA VIDA: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OEGGFJLpbu4&feature=related
  • Shania from Gj, CoI never really liked coldplay, which is why I am shocked they came out with a song I LOVE!!! Personally, I think the song is about Napoleon, or maaaaybe Hitler. I mean, think about it. He may not have been a king, but he did, in a sense, rule the world for a while. I can imagine him singing this song before comitting suicide...but I admit that it a stretch of the mind. I would love it if the song was about Napoleon, simply because I don't think it's been done before. Anyway you look at it, it's still a great song.
  • Asdf from Asdf, OhCat Stevens claims this song steals from "Foreigner Suite" ?? I listened to a little of that old song on playlist. What a crappy song. I didn't see any resemblance. If I were a jury member, I would feel like suing that decrepit Cat Stevens for wasting my time ( and making me listen to the entire sh*tty song).
  • Mark from Montgomery, AlI think the correct lyrics are "Roman cavalry choirs are singing/"

    "Cavalry" is a group of soldiers fighting from horseback.

    "Calvary" was the hill where Jesus was crucified.

    And I think the king referred to is not Napoleon but Charles X, who ruled France from 1824 to 1830, and was ousted by the July 1830 revolution, depicted in the Delacroix painting "La LIberte guidant le peuple."

    Just can't help it--I'm a history major!
    Great song.
  • Fritz from Milwaukee, WiThe melody was stolen from Joe Satriani. It's a fact, and its par for the course for one of the least talented bands to come along in the last 20 years.
  • Dominik from Radevormwald, GermanyIf you are positive this song is ripped from Joe Satriani, I could certainly name a few other songs that sound similar. What I can find mathicng in "If I Could Fly" is three notes or something.
  • Roy from Granbania, MaA huge part of this song was clearly and undisputably plagiarized from Joe Satriani's song "If I Could Fly". Satriani's song, although lacking lyrics, contains the same exact melody in its chorus that is heard in the verses of "Viva La Vida". When the two songs are played overlapping each other, beginning both at the same time, these notes occur at the same exact point in both songs. Satriani's song was written over a period of more than a decade, and was released in 2004. This means that the melody was first used and written by Satriani. Also, both songs are in the same key and have similar cadences and musical theme throughout the parts which are not copied note-for-note. I hope that Coldplay at least acknowledges that Satriani wrote at least a portion of the song's melody. This is not about money. This is about giving credit where credit is due, the integrity of the music industry, and the intellectual property.
  • Joe from New York, NyIt reminds me of nebachadnezzar in the old testament,he was the king of babylon and the most powerful man on earth at the time.he bacame proud and boasted that it was by his own might and power that he had built his kingdom,the Lord saw his arragence and was not pleased,God spoke to nebachadnezzar and told him to repent for his self exaultation and the Lord said if he didnt confess that it was the Lord that had given him his kingdom and repent for his arragence, that God would take his sanity and that he would become like an animal and graze with the cattle in the field.A year past and nebachadnezzar never repented and God took his sanity and he grew claws like an eagle and walked on all fours and grazed with the cattle for 7 years until he finally confessed that it was the Lord God who had given him his kingdom and he praised and honored the Lord and God restored his sanity.
  • Zenia from New York, NyThis song is a confession it seems almost, telling the story of someone who was really great and loved but lost it all out of selfishness. Now he has nothing and he's remembering the times when he was a someone.
  • Carrie from Roanoke, VaI'm not even going to pretend that I know who this song is about, but the Louis XVI theory seems well thought out. This song does have strong personal significance for me because it reminds me of a friend that I had feelings for. He was the most popular member of our group, an incredibly charismatic fellow who was also a pathological liar. But now he's been ousted from the group and basically ruined his life because he lied and made some very poor choices. When I hear this song, I can't help but feel sorry for him.
  • Jeff from Oakland, CaWho is this king exactly,if you ask me i think it sort of sounds like God.Think of it the lyrics say "seas would rise when i gave the word",and it sounds like he's losing control of the situation in controling the caohos of the world and it also sounds like he wants you to get his back and to defend him to the end hence,"be my mirror,my sword,my shield."
  • Chloe from St. Louis, MoUsually, I'm not into modern music- it seemed to have lost all of it's passion and creativy decades ago. But this is truly a fantastic album, with a thought-provoking concept and some great music behind the lyrics. I'm going to irritate some people saying this, but the theme and general mood reminds me a tiny bit of Dark Side of the Moon- the trappings of modern day life.
  • Ron from New Harmony, UtHeys guys, the song that plays as "Viva La Vida" on Grooveshark is not correct. Try again.
  • Leeza from San Antonio, TxLuis, from Dallas, TX hit the nail on the head. (IMHO) We rule the world when we're young, and in our own minds we're nearly invincible. We grow up, become responsible adults, have our own children and see the world through very different eyes. It happens to almost everyone.

    It's then that we realize our children think they have all the answers, and we're too old to be relevant.

    How ironic that when a person has lived long enough to understand how the world works, his children are "ruling the world" and can't be bothered with that wisdom.

    Understanding only comes from making mistakes, and learning from them. Our kids will do it just like we did. VIVA LA VIDA!

    I love the song!
  • Charlotte from Antwerp, BelgiumI also think it is about louis xvi. I even never taught of Napleon. The cover af Viva la vida or death and all his friends is the first image you find when you enter révolution française in google images.
  • Jonathan from New York, NyThough there are clearly Latin (meaning Hispanic, not Roman) influences in the work (the chime-like effects, the drawn out ends of melodies), I think this some may actually be about the French Revolution BEFORE Napoleon? Everyone seems to think it's Napoleon, but Louis XVI ? the last Louis of the Capet ? yeah, I think it's Capet - is the better candidate. Remember that his grandfather Louis the 14th was known as the Sun King, in that the World revolved around him. His grandson, who stood to inherit the figurative world, was described as a puppet - always bullied this way and that before his head was literally given to the leaders of the rebellion (Eugene Delacroix's illustration) on a silver platter - it was chopped off by Madame Guillotine (the machine which could "cut a human head off like you can cut a string)... you read me?
  • Faro from Albany, GaGene from Chicago, did you really have to be such an a--hole?
  • Chase from Miami, FlThis is major plagorism listen to if I could Fly by the greatest guitarist ever(Joe Satriani) and you will see for your self. At forty nine seconds in If I could Fly Joe does part of the melody an octave higher than what Coldplay does(I used to rule the world...) . and the chord progression is the same. Its obviosly plagorised
  • Emily from Around Chicago, IlSome people may get mad at me for saying something totally unrelated to the song, but whatever; No problem, matt.
  • Jack from Denver, CoThis song is just cool. I do like Violet Hill a little more, and I'm probabaly the only one. Ha.
  • Matt from Houston, TxThanks for backing me up em.
  • Navarre from Akron, OhActually this song was written about the French revolution. The album cover is a famous piece of art depicting the French revolution. I think the title is The French Revolution. Plus there is a reference to King Louis XVI who was beheaded, by a group of people called the Revolutionaries."Revolutionaries wait for my head on a silver plate"
    Anyway those are just a few examples of how this song is logicaly written about the French revolution but it has emotional meanings just as any song does. I feel emotionaly it speaks about how you build up this empire in your life and then it just crumbles down whether because of greed,loss,etc.
  • Emily from Around Chicago, IlThank you for supporting my ideas, Mogi. And just for the record I didn't likes Gene's comment much either. I nearly wanted to do the same thing as you, but Matt has a point. People shouldn't just join to argue with others. Maybe you were expressing your opinion-and that's fine! That is the point of the comments! To express opinion and feeling. The rest of it, like Matt said, is to enjoy music. I signed up to do both. (by the way, i hope nobody here will argue with matt about music. without it, I would probably not be who i am. It's a huge part of my life.)
  • Matt from Houston, TxMogi, you registered just so you could tell gene your opinion of her? first off, she's not worth it if she's so ignorant and immature in your eyes. second off, she probably isn't on here anymore. and third, I registered because I love music in every aspect. heavy metal to shoegaze, you name it, I love it. And it seems disrespectful to me that one would join because of a comment. Your just proving your immaturity by showing her comment bothered you. and that's coming from a 14 year old.
  • Mogi from Wichita, KsFIRST OF ALL- I would like to express me embarassment and resentment toward Gene from Chicago. You are the type of person who gives teenagers, specially the all stereotypical 16 year old (like me), I bad name. You have proved to be extremely ignorant in your response to Luis of Dallas. I registered on this site for the sole purpose of expressing my frustration with you. Not only do you deride Luis for his very well thought out and researched analysis of the song, but you don't even provide an explanation of your own. This is a obvious sign of your immaturity, along with your unintelligent speech. I have all the respect in the world for someone who can compile their own, original analysis on anything, but I do not tolerate someone who does nothing but tear others down. For you to waste your time being solely destructive, without any sort of constructive comment, is a clear indication that you are not only that you are cynical, but unlearned as well.
    On a more positive note-- I also believe this song can be translated several different ways, depending on the listener. People often find meanings in songs that they most easily relate to (or remember sections of songs they most easily relate to. I think this is what makes music so popular and enjoyable. It gives musicians a way of expressing themselves, but it also inables the musician to provide others with a way of expressing themselves as well. This is the beauty of music to many musicians. I listened to this a year ago and deciphered an internal theme of love, but now I believe (similar to many of you) that it is the process of a self-evolution. The ups and downs of life, the constant progression of life.

    Although I respect your opinion, I do not share the opinion of those of you who think this is a literal song. I do not believe this is merely a song about a king, or simply a historical allusion (to Napolean or whoever). Maybe they are proving a metaphorical point by using the historical allusion, but I think the writers of Viva La Vida intended the meaning of the song to go much deeper than just a story, so to speak.

    I applaud all of you that shared your understand of the song. Its a great song. And I think Chris Martin (and the rest of Coldplay) intended to write the song with loose, tractable lyrics in order to enlighten us with a song that actually makes of use our heads!

    Well I hope that you read this, Gene. And I hope you can be a little more productive with your comments on this website and in life in general. Sorry for being somewhat harsh.
    Byee bye
  • Matt from Houston, Txor maybe it's their own personal reason. who are we to interpret the meaning if it is not our own song. I don't know why i'm defending a song I hate... oh, screw it, I can't beat ignorance
  • Matt from Houston, Txor maybe it's their own personal reason. who are we to interpret the meaning if it is not our own song. I don't know why i'm defending a song I hate... oh, screw it, I can't beat ignorance
  • Emily from Around Chicago, IlOk, what i think the song means is this:
    Regret. Screwing up, and regretting it. BUT that is NOT what the song means to me. At all. Music is something for everyone-meaning everyone has a different interpretation on it. So, Luis, if the song means to you the process of going through life-so be it! Flourish in your self-discovery! TJ-If this song has a deep religious meaning to you, then ok, it is for you! Nick too. Gosh guys there is no need to start a war of your knowledge over a SONG! Coldplay wrote this song for THEIR own meaning-and we accept the song for OUR own meaning. Does that make sense? And, Don, love is YOUR way of looking at this song! Don't you all see? It's crazy to be arguing over what the song means...instead, tell Songfacts what it means to YOU. Or maybe what you've heard it meant, like Mae from St. Paul. What does the song mean to me? To me, Viva la Vida represents...all of your ideas. I love to think of each one and you inspire me to listen to it again and again with each new interpretation. Well, not again and again...that would ruin the song. I love other music too. Anyway, more like each time I hear the song-it doesn't get boring because there are new ways to look at it. Even though I'm just 13, I think all of you should listen and stop arguing. (Besides, you type more that way and it takes forever to scroll back to the top of the page!)
  • Ethan from Tulsa, OkTJ: Jesus came to bring peace. He's called the Prince of Peace for a reason. The passages in which he's talking about division is saying that people who follow his message will always be at odds with those who don't. At the time, father was against son, mother against daughter. God wants peace between all people; eveyone is created in his image. And please stop insulting us hippies, that get's old REALLY quick. Maybe you should take a quick look at the Sermon on the Mount. Dang.
  • Nick from Metairie, La, La T J from Albuqueque and all:
    The song can be interpreted so many ways. Luis is very clear and he has his interpretation of the song and is a very good one. I believed that all Jesus attempted to do to bring peace and love on earth and hopefully he was getting there until the Romans felt he was a threat and they killed him. I dont know what Luke said about division because that does not make sense. Jesus was a man who had the greatest concept and idea bestowed on the walks of life at that time. For most of us it stands the the test of time but still there are evil doers who will bring down positive people who wants to do good for there fellow man.

    The song has hints of maybe what Jesus could have thought while he was on Gethsemane thinking he rule the world and now he will eventually suffer and toiled with the non believers of Peace and Love. Remember the Romans were warriors who would take from others by force and that was Kingly to the Romans. Jesus never wanted to be king , didnt seek it, but the followers thought that he would be able to overtake the Romans by spreading the word of peace and Love.

    Listen to John Lennon's Imagine. There is the rub. If we all can live with Jesus's philosophy, this will be a better world. But everyone wants to think Big and Powerful and force becomes the answer. Look at all of the religions that has popped up- it is sad.

    So that is all I have to say about that!

  • Estella from Somewhere, --This is definitely my favorite song!
  • Shay from Boston, MaThis is in response to Luis in TX. What you said made so much sense to me. I don't know why Gene from Chicago had to attempt to annihilate your version as this is what music is supposed to be...a connector to our lives and worldview. Anyway, yeah...I had been thinking of the days that I ruled the world or even my friend who is 45 and who is incarcerated...the days when he ruled the world. High on tobacco, staying up with nodoze, cigarettes and coffee. I also can take a look at my career...I was hot, did things on the fly and it all seemed to work...I was powerful, strong and tireless. Then in my very late thirties, a mental crises/depression overtook me and as I've come out of it, I too now have peace just like the character in the song sweeping streets. I've come down from the high and I live in quiet reality. I hardly would touch coffee, cigarettes, nodoze now. I go to bed pretty regularly...and I think I've come full circle because I'm even better at my job than I was because I am human. I really liked reading your perceptions and a lot of other people's too. I don't see any room for bashing someone else's perceptions. Gene, really, what is your story...you were so worried about him being wrong...what makes you better or smarter than someone else with a different life than yours? Walk a mile in someone else's shoes...come on dude.
  • Kevin from Salt Lake City, UtI really like Cold Play's style. Always upbeat even if I don't totally understand the lyrics. One site says it's "Roman Cavalry Choirs" and on this site it's "Roman Catholic Choirs". Anyone know which is correct for sure? It sounds like Cavalry.
  • Timmy from Mukilteo, Wai actually never liked this song, and to this day i still think its the worst song on the album, which really doesnt say much because because its a great album.

    too bad they ripped this one of from joe satriani though.
  • Fritz from Milwaukee, WiNot a good tune. Hopefully, Chris Martin goes to prison for this one. Not just for plagiarism though.
  • Mae from St Paul , MnHmmm. The lyrics just sound too specific, not like the commonalities that everyone suffers from. So many looking up to this person, creating denial/delusion, then watching the fall and abandoning. Behavior so bad that denial to heaven is expected with certainty.
    Shout out to TJ for defending the facts of the ancient faith!
  • Matt from Boston, MaMae in St.Paul...Redemption from the same thing many of us suffer from...excess. We all have our vices.
  • Tj from Albuquerque, NmMy comment is only a RESPONSE TO - Nick, metairie, la, LA:
    I can't tell if what you wrote is what you believe or what you think the artist believes. I don't know how you get all of that from that song. You have quite the imagination. Anyway in case that is what you believe let us be clear. When you said "Jesus was so confident Peter would call his name" I don't know what you mean by that, but Jesus told Peter he would deny him three times. Anyway in response to your hippie version of who Jesus was and is. That was not his mission. His mission was to make clear to humanity that he is divine (meaning he is God) and that he got off the throne in Heaven and made himself poor (made himself a man) so he could be the final unblemished sacrifical lamb for all who have sinned and all who believe (everyone knows the famous John 3:16). Now if you don't understand this then I suggest you read the entire Gospel of John, he makes it clear in first few passages. Also keep in mind that Jesus said he didn't come to bring peace, he came to divide. Luke 12:49 49 "I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!" Luke 12:51-53 "Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law." I had to clarify that because I'm tired of feel good hippie theology seeping it's way into Christianity, reducing my God to a mere teacher or a prophet. It's insulting! We are not called Christians because we want to be like our prophet our teacher. We have higher aspirations, we want to be like our God, our risen savior, our God of love, mercy and forgiveness, our God of righteousness, justice and all things good, we worship a God that hates all things evil. That doesn't sound like your hippie feel good theology.
  • Tj from Albuquerque, NmMy comment is only a RESPONSE TO - Nick, metairie, la, LA:
    I can't tell if what you wrote is what you believe or what you think the artist believes. I don't know how you get all of that from that song. You have quite the imagination. Anyway in case that is what you believe let us be clear. When you said "Jesus was so confident Peter would call his name" I don't know what you mean by that, but Jesus told Peter he would deny him three times. Anyway in response to your hippie version of who Jesus was and is. That was not his mission. His mission was to make clear to humanity that he is divine (meaning he is God) and that he got off the throne in Heaven and made himself poor (made himself a man) so he could be the final unblemished sacrifical lamb for all who have sinned and all who believe (everyone knows the famous John 3:16). Now if you don't understand this then I suggest you read the entire Gospel of John, he makes it clear in first few passages. Also keep in mind that Jesus said he didn't come to bring peace, he came to divide. Luke 12:49 49 "I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!" Luke 12:51-53 "Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law." I had to clarify that because I'm tired of feel good hippie theology seeping it's way into Christianity, reducing my God to a mere teacher or a prophet. It's insulting! We are not called Christians because we want to be like our prophet our teacher. We have higher aspirations, we want to be like our God, our risen savior, our God of love, mercy and forgiveness, our God of righteousness, justice and all things good, we worship a God that hates all things evil. That doesn't sound like your hippie feel good theology.
  • Nick from Metairie, La, La My first and only interpretation of the song that made sense was this:
    The lyrics are born out of what Jesus would be saying when looking back at it all ( when he was on earth and alive)

    His very own perspective of how his life made an impression on many and eventually millions and then only to see it all going bad due to self doubters , lack of faith, new religions popping up. And really the only goal Jesus ever want to achieve was the total focus on Love and Compassion for one another and refrain from the evils of the violent world in which he lived in. not ever wanted to rule the world. Romans were so afraid of him that he would dethrone the Romans, that he must be eliminated before he go too (Politically) powerful. His Power was to introduce unconditional love for each fellow man thereby making a better world for all. His clues all are in the song and I believe this was the songwriter's thought process when he sat down and wrote this. About St Peter , here Jesus was so confident that Peter will call his name and ,in fact, Peter denied him 3 times. Clearly, Jesus interpretation of what has happened to his teaching and beliefs and that he when all things were good (use to rule the world). Well done in that many people can have many interpretations about the song but That is my take on it

    Peace out
  • Gene from Chicago, IlRESPONSE TO: LUIS, DALLAS, TX
    alrighty pal looky here....you seem like a nice guy and stuff like your friends really like you and stuff but man from my perspective (don't know about anyone else here) um your wrooooong as hell! to me this song has nothing to do with love that's the traditional American thing to think about when you hear a song its like straight up impulse and stuff but at least your up to that. but dude out of all the information the artist is throwing at you like IN YOUR FACE like oh you know kings and revolution and head on a silver plate..Etc you know? it gives you that little tingly feeling like in your gut that HEY you know this has SOMETHING to do with the revolution I mean he didn't put his album cover of the French revolution just because its an awesome painting by Eugene Delacroix do you get me??? So this whole daddy day care thing you have going on doesn't make any sense...I have studied the song lyrics carefully and did historical research towards everything for a while now and you mentioned that you did that too am I right? Well??? What happened with knowledge and simple COMMON SENSE??? Dude seriously come on ok. In reality I'm 16 and I have a strong knowledge about this. Middle age crisis are you kidding me??? I don't want to put your self esteem down or anything but MY GOD from where in this mighty beautiful vast fantastic world did you pull this out of????? Where you having a NOT SMART moment?? I'm sorry, I was overwhelmed by your perspective and I could say it BLEW ME AWAY!! Totally threw off my groove bro come on wake up and face reality. And it certainly feels like the only thing that you could say is babies this and youth that and it has nothing to do with anything mister like WHOOOOOOA WAY OFF MAN. You know? Like calm down with that. Look I'm making a research paper and I could assure you that it would make a lot more sense than whatever it was that you have posted on this poor website no offense but a monkey could write something on this site while taking a dump in his hand and throwing it at people and still make a good point towards this song. Well sorry but I desperately had to take this out of my system and let you know how my emotions are towards this (in agony). Another thing, if you are at least expecting a moderate public humiliation on what you have posted I could give you credit for it because I'm pretty sure that point got through perfectly I'm sure most people had a "you should've had a V8 moment" and said OH ok he's just messing with us that's all and then laugh about it later. It's kind of like when you fall down and feels nothing but excruciating pain but then in a couple of days later you just laugh about...like that. Well my man peace (-<-)
  • Logan from Owensboro, Kyhey Galen from Oakland, you have an embarasing name and the satriani song sounds nothing like viva la vida...
  • Mae from St Paul , MnI can't imagine why a songwriter would sing about Napoleon. That would be a first. and if they did, there are so many things that don't fit Napoleon. If it is redemption, then the question is, redemption from what. Probably the best idea is the one about superstardom, but it would only make sense if they had fallen from it.
  • Matt from Boston, MaRedemption...Nothing more.
  • Christian from Gahanna, OhI believe that this song is about Napoleon. Who else in France had a shot at ruling the world.
  • Mae from St Paul , MnI finally had to look for a site about song meanings after hearing Viva la Vida because every time I listen to it, all I hear is a story about addiction, so I started to wonder who wrote it and if they suffered from addiction. A addict does think as if are "king" - they can do anything and control it all, then they realize that their life is all fake, and they have lost everything. They are a puppet to the addiction and everything they say is a lie. Addiction is a gamble (roll the dice), a battle (needs the sword and shield - tools and protection) and has definite spiritual issues to it (needs a missionary to help him because his life has become foreign). A person goes from a feeling of power to almost in the gutter, depending on how bad it gets, and others look at them and can't believe what they have become (who would want to be king?) They have hurt a lot of people and many are angry with them (head on a silver platter) Spiritual means are a common means to overcoming the addiction, hence the religious references and suggestions of condemnation. This interpretation just seemed so obvious to me, but I had (and have) no basis for it so I looked at some meanings web sites and am so surprised that nobody heard the song this way. I good thing,I guess, as I am probably wrong.
  • Zach from St. Lous, MoPeople who say Coldplay plagiarize crap well listen here people this is what bands do, they get inspiration from other bands. They take material from other bands and then use that to make it a a different( and sometimes better) song. Coldplay is a great band and I really could care less what anybody else has to say about them or if they "completely" plagiarized someone else's song, because if they did take a melody they made it sound better so how about tha theres my two cents worth.
  • Galen from Oakland, Caby the way, satriani is finally suing them. the melodies of Viva La Vida and If I Could Fly by Joe Satriani are almost the same. bout time.
  • Rachael from Caledonia, IlLike many, this song is very powerful. One of the bests I have heard in a LONG time. But I'm honestly not sure what it's about. It could very well be a metaphor for super-stardom. But I don't really think it is, because the orchestral arrangement sounds much to... epic to be about that. I think I think it's about a king who lost his kingdom. But I find it odd, that, I believe it is either one of the French kings [either Louis XVI or Napoleon Bonaparte, two of the most known kings of France], but the title is in Spanish. It's really however a person interprets it, though.
  • Don from La, CaSo I think you all are correct in what you say the song means to you. Thats whats great about music it sepaks to us each as individuals. The song speaks to me about love. Love can make you feel powerful like a king and give you the confidence to put fear in your enemies eyes. But when that love is gone how do you feel, like you sweep the streets you used to own.Anyways, simplistic I know.
  • Lenin from Panama, PanamaMy dear english spoken friends:
    Viva! in spanish, is like a cheer. Like Viva Fidel! (just to use an example) or Viva Panamá! or Viva México Cabrones!..is a cheer. And "La Vida", well is the life itself. I hope that from now on you can see the phrase Viva la vida! in other light.
  • Luis from Dallas, TxHey Guys: I'm fascinated by this song, and I honestly belive that there is way more than just the story of kink who lost his kingdom. I heard it a thousand times and anlyzed every songl;e word. This is my theory (just mine don't think I take this from anywhere):
    It's about life itself, the process ...and the final stage...death. "When he says he used rule the world, seas would raise when I gave the call" , well, no king could have ever done that...so it can't be that simplistic...it's how we all feel when we are young or when we first come to the world....when we are babies, we are the center of attention, our parents and relatives live and breath for us, we own our little worlds, also when we are young we have that feel...that we are invencible, all powerfull.."now in the morning I sleep alone, sweep the streets that I used to own"....could be a middle age crisis, we all have come to a point where we think that we have lost everything, lost in thing that used to be ourr....money, looks, charm...all of the dissapear with age.
    "I used to roll the dice
    Feel the fear in my enemies eyes
    Listen as the crowd would sing:
    "Now the old king is dead! Long live the king!"
    Once again, is that time when you are young. You have the feel that you can own people, enemies, rivals..your young state makes you feel that nobody can prevail over you. An this is important, notice how it says that he hears the crowd singing "Now the old king is dead! Long live the king!", that for me, is a straigh coment of how generations change, how the young one takes this world control over the old generation, and it can be seen as an eternal fight, the boomers taking it form the great generation, and the X gnerationers took over the boomers and soon the WHY or "y" genartion will take it from the X generation.

    One minute I held the key
    Next the walls were closed on me
    And I discovered that my castles stand
    Upon pillars of salt, and pillars of sand

    This is the transition, when youth fades away, we all had that feeling of "whe did it happened?" it seems that always this transitions is unxpected suddenly you are old, you feel an outsider, you time has passed...your castels (meaning all the power you had or you thought you had) dissappeared...because they were not real at all, they were as fragil as your youth ...pillars of sand holding castles....
    I hear Jerusalem bells are ringing
    Roman Cavalry choirs are singing
    Be my mirror my sword and shield
    My missionaries in a foreign field
    For some reason I can't explain
    Once you know there was never, never an honest word
    That was when I ruled the world

    Thee two parts of the chorus, show for the first time knowledge and wisdom from whoever is explaining the song....It's a beautiful explanation of how religion (jerusalem bells)and law and westernized socities and culture (roman calvaries)....dance along our lives, create wars within us, and at the same time it is what we hold for protection for meaning in our lives...I like the part of the misionaries, he callas them my misionaries...I feel it is a tribute to your friends and possible family, the persons who always extend you a hand in troubled times, always fighting for you...For some reason I can't explain
    Once you know there was never, never an honest word
    That was when I ruled the world......
    Again, this part denotes the misteries of life, and how we can't explain life...how we have things and then we lose them, if there is an order or nothing at all...never an honest word...meaning never the truth...and isn't that true to all of us? ...and I have the feel that he goes back to mentioning "that was when I ruled the world" because he would have had that knowledge when he was young not as normalyy happens....you understand life sometimes when it is too late.

    It was the wicked and wild wind
    Blew down the doors to let me in.
    Shattered windows and the sound of drums
    People could not believe what I'd become
    Revolutionaries Wait
    For my head on a silver plate
    Just a puppet on a lonely string
    Oh who would ever want to be king?

    This part for me is him expierencing what he had and did once, he got old, and has no more power,"People could not believe what I'd become", and that is what usually happen to all of us, once we are at the top, we got great things...but everything changes and suddenly we are not who we used to be...to our eyes and to the eyes of the others, how many times we have seen past idols with sadness when they get old...being old in modern society does not give us the respect and honor that it used too. We feel as if its is something we eill never have...Notice he uses the word "revolutionaries" ...revolution means change....once again there is a new king, a new generation that has taking over the world and the old one, has to accept it and let it....."just a puppet on a lonely string"...a victim of society, a victim of the circle of life, "Oh who would ever want to be king?" ...final realization of how having all was having nothing at all, once again that wisdom, probably that old people have and would like to pass it on to younger generations, but they know that it has to be as it has always been...and at the end the new generation will fall and experience the same,
    I hear Jerusalem bells are ringing
    Roman Cavalry choirs are singing
    Be my mirror my sword and shield
    My missionaries in a foreign field
    For some reason I can't explain
    I know Saint Peter won't call my name
    Never an honest word
    And that was when I ruled the world

    The change on this second chorus is also beatiful, because it denotes even more wisdom..even more than he had on the first chorus, Saint Peter holds the keys of heaven, so he sense after the ride of his life that death is soon, and he accepts his life as something good and something natural, as something thata had to happen, so he feels that saint peter won't call his name ...not because he did not was good enough for heaven, but only because he knows there is no list at all....life is a natural process, he thinks , it is kind of being ready to die, without fear for it...and he finishes once again goping bak when he was king ....wishing he knew all of that back when he was young...maybe we all would live different lives if we would have all the knowledege..a more fulffilling one maybe....but it is what it had to be...at the end a desire more than repentment, something like: "Ohhh I wished I knew this back then, but it's ok...it was what it had to be."

    Finally to prove my pint just check the title of the song "viva la vida".....hooray for live!!, with all its deception, the sadness, the doubts, the pain....it's still worth living it...

    Thanks guys, let me know if you liked this intepretation

  • Luke from Oshawa, CanadaAs for you guys that are talking about the king. I believe that certain king is Napolean Bonaparte. He was one of the few rulers who actually was not killed during his time and walked away from the position. Just exiled to some island. During his reign, religion was also a big part of France. Their are so many line that correlate with napolean. Like the one going on about sweeping the streets. When napolean was little he was nothing, just another person. Not a royal. Napolean was renowned for his military skills, this is why "he saw the fear in his enemies eyes". "Now the old king is dead." That is how Napolean gained is power. The death of King Louis. So much correlation to be tied with him. The cover contains a picture of the flag of france on it even.
  • Lissett from Dallas, Tx"Viva la vida" literally translated means "live the life." Its a pretty good song and i love the melody as well what it has to say.
  • Cris from Puebla, MexicoI think for this song, 'Viva la vida' means something close to 'hooray for/to life' but it can also mean everything else you've said before
  • Amy from Liverpool, United Kingdomit really made me think.... it seemed to mean (to me) that when you gamble one second you can be on top of the world and the next, youve got nothing. im neva gunna gamble. NEVA
  • Wiremu from Huntly,Great stuff, really powerful lyrics, gotta love Coldplay. His eyes are amazing in the video! "..And that was when I ruled the world.."
  • Amy from Liverpool, United Kingdomi really like songs that make me think and this is one of them! go coldplay!
  • E from Boston, MaI was listening to the radio one day, and the DJs were wondering what this song was about. This one guy called in from the Boston area and said the song was about Alex Rodriguez. Listening to it again, it makes sense!
  • Al from Baltimore, MdThis is one of those songs you can't get out of your head. It has more hooks than a fisherman's tackle box. I'm an older guy, and I think one of the knocks against Coldplay is that older folks like me (Beatles generation) find them so approachable. Now, about this song...I think it is about being a rock star who has had his ups and downs. You live by your fame, and you die by it too. Certainly Coldplay has had its ardent fans, and its vicious detractors. You go up the Pop Charts and you're King of the World...you get slammed and they want your head. The bridge gets a little too Jesus on Calvary for my taste, but I think Chris Martin feels at times he's been hung out and left to dry. So, this in the end is a song about regret, and a somewhat admirable acceptance of one's merited fate.
  • Sally from Sydney, AustraliaI heard that this song is about the fall of empires and a king without a kingdom. Apparently Chris Martin also dedicated it to America at some Music Awards.
  • David from Toronto, OnI heard a coldplay interview on the 99.9 mix fm radio station in toronto and according to the band, they wrote this song on the inspiration of the situation king louis XVI was in when the 1200 horse men came to his house to escort him to die by the guillotine. the french influence can be seen on the cover which is also a painting of the french revolution (la liberte guidant les peuples) by delacroix which depicted the revolutionaries during the french revolution. Also, many lines in the song hint towards the french revolutionary beheading theme.
  • David from Richmond, VaOn the front page of Borders.com, in a Borders.com exclusive interview (I work at a one and we have no other internet) Chris Martin described the band as the world's "worst, most enthusiastic plagiarizers." Hmm...
  • Faith from Liverpool, --This song is really great to listen to. Creative lyrics.
  • Ian from Seattle, WaA lot of people also claim that this song was allegedly ripped off of Joe Satrianis "If I Could Fly" because they have the same melody and chord progression.
  • Mitchell from Adelaide, AustraliaViva isn't live, we really don't have a word for it, the closest thing to it is long live.
  • Josh from New York, Ny"Viva la vida" could mean "live the life" also, if you want to look at it like that.
  • Mitchell from Adelaide, Australia Yeah, i'd definately agree that God has lost religion, religion rarely prays to any higher being anymore than just to wooden statues and symbols.

    I think the king in the song though, will manifest itself as whatever the person holds closely as their king.

    When I listen to this song, I think of bad days for everybody, like people think they're on top of the world and next they like owe lots of money, or are getting hunted down or anything like that.

    Of course I think it could also be about God if somebody wanted it to be, definately sounds like it with the references.

    But then again there is the beheading kind of theme... But that could easily be explained by a religious person as atheists wanting the 'head' of God, to show him off as not real, historical reference kind of thing. By head meaning destroy belief in him.

    Anyway, I believe in God, but am not religious I gave my interpretation, I should stop posing all the time I look so desperate for attention :(
  • Nick from Minneapolis, MnI realize Im in a minority here, but I can't find anything I like about this song.
  • Mak from Orlando, FlThe song clearly is a reference to a king losing his kingdom.... but I'm questioning exactly who this king is.

    Sounds a bit to me like this "king" is God who is lamenting over the loss of his "kingdom", religion, amongst his people.

    It's all up to interpretation, really.
  • Mitchell from Adelaide, Australia This song is pretty good, you've got to admit, nobody makes songs as good as coldplay these days, I mean you get a few random ones that are good from other artists, but Coldplay just chugs them out.

    I got the interpretation of this song straight away, KING LOST HIS KINGDOM, I mean come on, its that simple.

    This song doesn't really feel as new as I'm guessing Coldplay wanted it to be, but Violet Hill definately is, even though that's not as good as this song.

    Overall, Coldplay is awesome and make up for all the other crap that stupid sellout artists do. Coldplay isn't all *tap that* *smoke that* *want that*, you actually have to think about their music.
  • Krista from Austintown, OhI love this song! I think Coldplay's songs have unique meanings that other artists' lack.
  • Kathryn from Brooklyn, NyColdplay is one of my favourite bands and I think this song is absolutely brilliant.
  • 69-so-fine from French Lick, Indiana!!, InThis song is powerful and has meaningful lyrics and hopefully will win some grammies!
  • Audrey from Peace, AlThe album comes out in stores June 12. Why so long? By the way, I've never been the first to comment on a song, but it looks llike I have now!
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