Louis or Napoleon | Reviewer: cécile | 9/5/08

I pretty much agree with Lena, the song being about Napoleon and all. There's just one line that would be nonsense if it's really about Napoleon : "Listen as the crowd would sing "Now the old king is dead ! Long live the King"". This sentence would be perfect for Louis XVI. When Louis XV died, he was hated by the people, and Louis XVI's rise was seen as a rebirth of the country, like a solution to any problem Louis XV was supposedly the source of. Louis XVI was a young, healthy, religious, goodlooking king compared to the old Louis XV, who would surely burn in hell with all his mistresses. But, other than this line, the whole lyrics would be perfect for Napoleon.

One more thing, I've read about the cover of the album, being a reference to the French Revolution. That's not totally true, because the painting that is on the cover is "La Liberté guidant le peuple" de Delacroix (Liberty leading the people), and it was made about the 1848 Revolution, not the 1789 Revolution which broke down the French monarchy. Still, it's a big symbol of the French troubles to find a political system.

It is an amazing song, but... | Reviewer: Damhnaic Carithzna | 9/4/08

I just have to say, i love how many people never even looked at the lyrics. I thin i noticed about 8 different misquotes, which therefore wrecks most of what they were trying to prove. but i personally believe Lena is uncannily close, especially with the line 'I know Saint Peter will call my name' in reference to his eventual escape from Saint Helenas, and what he thought would be his chance to recapture control over Europe.

But more than this song having so many possible historical references, it's more than enything amazing, beautiful, and inspiring.

viva la vida | Reviewer: Anonymous | 8/27/08

i think this is a great song. first time i heard it i loved it. i think people need to not over analyse everything, like lena, TC, and the anonymous review. just listen to the song. no need to think of the historical relevance or irrelevance. another coldplay masterpiece.

st peter WILL call his name | Reviewer: Anonymous | 8/23/08

A dethroned, tyrannical king reflects on the time when he "ruled the world" as he approaches the end of his life, remorseful for his wicked reign and confident that he will not enter Paradise ("I know St. Peter won't call my name").

this is wrong
it says st peter will call his name...

Songs don't yet equal reality! | Reviewer: Ram | 8/15/08

Personally, even after having listened to this song over and over again (for it is beautiful, definitely a master piece), I see no relation between the lyrics and any factual historical event, it is in my opinion a song about power and its lose. Might or might not have been inspired by reality, otherwise I'd be asking "where" is the violet hill? We have to admit that song are poems and mostly written to make their readers/listeners feel certain emotions when exposed to it. Through metaphors!

something for everyone to love | Reviewer: john | 8/15/08

This song is simply amazing:

First the awesome imagery of someone who has lost everything or HIS/HER world.

Second the beat is so simple there is something for everyone to love. to the musician it has strings which is an instrument not usually found in most songs on the radio today (i havent listened to coldplay much lately until this song) for music lover its just simple which is great to hear.

the lyrics are very inspirational they serve as a warning to guard what you love, and to hold on so tightly that you will never let go becuase if you do its all over and you have lost your grip on your world.

From the source | Reviewer: TC | 8/13/08

A dethroned, tyrannical king reflects on the time when he "ruled the world" as he approaches the end of his life, remorseful for his wicked reign and confident that he will not enter Paradise ("I know St. Peter won't call my name").

1. Hiatt, Brian. "The Jesus of Uncool: Chris Martin Interview." Rolling Stone Online. 26 Jun. 2008.

Viva la Vida metaphoric meaning | Reviewer: Tito | 8/12/08

I would have to agree with Jann bellow me. It's probably not that specific. Personally when i read it, it seems like hes using this as a metaphor, like most music usually is. I think its about love personally. When i read it, thats what i got out of it.

Not Quite That Specific, I Think | Reviewer: Jann | 8/8/08

This song isn't quite about a specific event about a leader's downfall. The king losing power in this song is an emotional metaphor about losing something important to you.

If you put this song next to Coldplay's other songs, (or even just the songs in this album) using what you know about Coldplay, you can see that most of their songs are serious, emotional reflections of life. Applying that knowledge to this song, you can see underneath the metaphor of a ruler and his downfall for a slightly darker meaning. Have you ever felt on top of the world - or fully in charge of the direction of your life - and then watched your plans and hopes fail? Life has ups and downs - this song is about the descent.

Amazing song! | Reviewer: Lena | 8/1/08

When I first heard this song, I thought of Napoleon. "I used to rule the world" could be referring to the fact that Napoleon did, in fact, eventually conquer most of Europe. "Now in the morning I sleep alone" could be about his exile on Saint Helena after his reign as Emperor. The part about feeling "the fear in my enemies' eyes" could be about how he was so powerful and everyone in Europe feared him, especially those under his rule. "Now the old king is dead! Long live the king!" could be a reference to the death of Louis XVI and the French monarchy and the subsequent rise to power of Napoleon. "One minute I held the key, next the doors were closed on me" could be about how he essentially ruled most of the civilized world, then met his defeat at Waterloo. The part about the castles standing "upon pillars of salt, and pillars of sand" could be about how he thought he was unstoppable, but then everything fell to pieces around him. The "wicked and wild wind" could be a reference to the French Revolution, which "blew down the doors to let me in" (basically giving Napoleon the chance to seize power.) The Jerusalem bells and Roman calvary choirs could be an indirect, religious reference to Napoleon's feud with and then capture of Pope Pius VII. "People couldn't believe what I'd become" could be about how Napoleon rose from being a soldier all the way up to Emperor and arguably the most powerful person in Europe at the time. The part about "revolutionaries wait for my head on a silver plate" could be about the continuing political turbulence in France throughout Napoleon's reign, and how many were unhappy with the way he ruled.
However, I also do see how it could possibly be about Louis XVI. I would have to say whoever it is about would most likely be French, as referenced by the French flag on the album cover. But I don't know. Even if it isn't about anyone in specific, it's still an excellent song about power and the rise and fall of a leader. Let me know what you think!

Regardless | Reviewer: Allen | 7/29/08

I think a lot of you are putting a bit too much thought into this song. I don't think it's really a specific reference to any particular historical event/time/ruler. Just more about the rise and fall of a ruler, from revered to hated, powerful to powerless, and the turn of the people who you once lived for. Just my opinion.

My two cents | Reviewer: Rob | 7/27/08

I think the song symbolizes the changing of power in Roman society and any society that had a monarch. It symbolizes to me, that after a certain amount of time as ruler, each king goes from being popular to unpopular. When the king is dethroned and even killed in some cases, the new king that comes in does so as a very popular person. In the beginning of a new tenure as the ruler over a land, the new king has everything. In time, as enemies are defined, that same ruler that was so popular is now the one that they want to get rid of. The "revolutionaries coming for his head on a silver plate" reference refers to a coup where a group of people in society finally band together to overthrow the king and put another one in his place. This has happened hundreds of times in history.

Louis 16 | Reviewer: jeroen870 | 7/26/08

The line "who would ever want to be king" shows how after the revolution it was the end of monarchy in France and no one wanted to risk. And the line the seas would rise is a metaphor to describe king Lous 16 power. "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?"
It explains how Louis 16 was king but during the revolution when the French were against a monarchy he was executed on the guillotine and so the verse "head on a silver plate". And also the sound of drums were heard as he walked to the guillotine. It is not about christianity and the line Jerusalem bells are just a metaphor for an awaiting death.

King Herod +1 | Reviewer: Anonymous | 7/27/08

I agree completely with ken, the song most directly correlates with King Herod. Being one that studies history as an occupation, each piece can be easily connected to King Herod's rein during the early Roman Empire days. Also what some people seem to forget, Europeans were a bit ethnocentric at the time and called the Roman Empire/Europe "the world". Even know they knew of other civilizations like the Han and Indus River Valley.

Just my 2 cents.

GREAT SONG | Reviewer: The Guy - JUST CALL THE GUY! | 7/24/08

This is an AWESOME song. I personally don't care what it means, I tend to not give a crap in that area, but the lyrics of the song, as well as the AWESOME music, tunes, etc. Are AWESOME. Therefore, by the power vested in me by the State of Wintram, I give the Coldplay song "Viva la Vida" a AWESOME out of good. As in 100/10. Excellent, keep up the good work, especially since I find I am getting bored lately.

"The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity." ~ Ellen Parr