What is the new song "viva la vida" is all about?

http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=dvgZkm1xWPE

I read the lyrics http://www.metrolyrics.com/viva-la-vida-lyrics-col... and basically it says about some renaissance times.

So what you thing this song is about?

6 Answers

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  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    The band's lead singer Chris Martin gave some insight on the inspiration for the song in an interview, stating that it was about a king who messed up, realizing that he didn't do such a great job now that he sees the revolutionaries at his doorstep.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0sKpCMjH9jU

    Youtube thumbnail

    He also says that the artwork from the album was inspired by this song, which is Liberty Leading the People by Eugène Delacroix, depicting the French Revolutionary war. He also mentions seeing the play The Scarlet Pimpernel which takes place after the Revolution.

    Therefore, the lyrics can easily be fit to come from the point of view of King Louis XVI who was overthrown by the revolutionaries.

    The lyrics are as follows

    I used to rule the world

    Seas would rise when I gave the word

    Now in the morning I sleep alone

    Sweep the streets I used to own

    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!"

    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 could all refer to the power that the King once held and how although he was beloved at first, his indecisiveness and conservatism led some elements of the people of France to eventually hate him as a symbol of the perceived tyranny and he soon saw his reign slip out from under him, like salt or sand.

    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 not explain

    Once you know there was never, never an honest word

    That was when I ruled the world

    (Ohhh)

    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?

    -The chorus may be refering to Louis' ideological differences with much of Europe, and how he supported the Legislative Assembly who declared war on the Holy Roman Empire.

    The "wind" could be referring to the wind of change that swept threw the people and led to the king's demise. He was found guilty of treason and was executed by a public beheading (head on a silver plate)

    It could also reflects the revolution against King Charles X that accomplished rather little other than bring in a new king to power, Louis-Philippe. The painting “Liberty Leading the People” was purchased by the French Government of the time yet was not displayed until the final Revolution (1848) that dethroned King Louis-Philippe and placed the newly elected President, Louis Napoleon into power.

    I hope this helps!

    Source(s): Coldplay interview http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0sKpCMjH9jU
  • 1 decade ago

    I pretty firmly believe its about Napoleon. Now keep in mind that Coldplay has classicly been pretty cryptic. There will never be a "right" answer unless the band says so.

    I used to rule the world

    Seas would rise when I gave the word

    Now in the morning I sleep alone

    Sweep the streets I used to own

    -Napoleon was a ruler

    -He could command his army into cannon fire. He drove them through the Swiss alps at a grueling pace. Seas could be his armies.

    -He did get married but wanted to divorce her not long after marriage.

    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!"

    -Rolling the dice could be charging his troops into unimaginable odds, and winning. People feared, and with good reason, going up against the army that Napoleon led.

    -He overthrew many monarchies including the French and Spanish although he never called himself a kind to my knowledge. Could be a change to make the song flow?

    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

    -The key could be his near domination of the known world. Emperor of Europe.

    -The walls closed in his final exile.

    -His castle being his great empire and the salt and sand would be all of his generals and lieutenants that didn't share his military genius.

    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 not explain

    Once you know there was never, never an honest word

    That was when I ruled the world

    (Ohhh)

    -He did in fact go to Jerusalem and the Roman Cavalry choirs would be from his occupation of Rome.

    -His missionaries is a tough one. A shot in the dark is all the French fur trappers in North America, but I could be way off there.

    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?

    -The wicked and wild being the ones who helped him overthrow the government and the doors would be the government.

    -The shattered windows and drums are leading to his exile. People were unhappy about the armies he'd forced across the Alps. Many people died in Napoleons conquest. That would certainly lead to unease.

    -This part about revolutionaries is a bit of a trick. They were the Holy Roman Empire (German). Reason being is that the silver plate suggests wealth. The HRE certainly wanted him removed since he was destroying the idea of a monarchy and a noble "divine" class.

    -Not entirely sure about the puppet. Perhaps a puppet of his own thirst for conquest?

    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 not explain

    I know Saint Peter won't call my name

    Never an honest word

    And that was when I ruled the world

    (Ohhhhh Ohhh Ohhh)

    -Saint Peter won't call his name because, at this point in his life, he isn't known as a great leader and savior. He's known as a heretic and a traitor. Heretics certainly don't go to heaven.

    So theres my thoughts on it. I've also heard suggestions about it being Louis the 16th but I've seen more problems in that then in Napoleon. Hope you guys agree or have more imput

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I found this analysis a few weeks ago, and I strongly agreed with it, hope you do to...

    If we analize the lyrics, the song has obvious biblical references and I think it's a song about Jesus Christ.

    I used to rule the world

    Seas would rise when I gave the word

    Now in the morning I sweep alone

    Sweep the streets I used to own

    All catholics should know that Jesus Christ gave the word and he controlled the seas - I think that the line now in the morning I sweep alone clearly means that Jesus Christ was betrayed and had to endure many things alone! The first verse is talking about a decline from wealth and fame to a nobody, just like Jesus Christ experienced on his life! He used to be a king, but he had to die for all human beings..So on a certain way he turned over his kingship (I used to rule the world). Clear reference of someone giving God kingship over his life.

    I used to roll the dice

    Feel the fear in my enemy's eyes

    Listen as the crowd would sing,

    "Now the old king is dead, long live the king!"

    One minute I held the key

    Next the walls were closed on me

    And I discovered that my castles stand

    Upon pillars of salt, pillars of sand

    The line upon pillars of salt and pillars of sand, possibly is a reference to the sermon on the mount where Jesus speaks of a wise man building is house on a rock while the foolish man builds his house on the sand, only to be washed away.

    Those days, there were different kings! Ones thought the king was Jesus Christ himself, others thought the king was the Roman authority and other thought the king was the Jewish priests.

    I hear Jerusalem bells a 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

    Jerusalem bells and Roman Cavalry, it's obvious it's a biblical allusion. I think the line Be my mirror my sword and shield, it's a praying to God for strength. Also, the line my missionaries in a foreign field, has to do with the idea of taking the message of God and Jesus Christ all around the world. Finally, never an honest word, meaning the betrayal to Jesus Christ and his subsequent death.

    I know St. Peter won't call my name, referring to the fact that Saint Peter denied Jesus 3 times.

    It was the wicked and wild wind

    Blew down the doors to let me in

    Shattered windows and the sound of drums

    People couldn't 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 wanna be king?

    This could be a reference to John the Baptist of the New Testament.

    In The Book of Mark, John is noted as the one that comes before Jesus to announce His coming to Earth. A lot of people thought he (John) was going to be their Messiah, however he corrected them and told them that it was the One after him that would fill that role. I, also, argue that point because it is said somewhere that John's head was brought to king Herod on a Silver Platter.

    Blew down the doors to let me in, meaning when Jesus Christ got furious because they turned the temple into a market!

    EDIT: After thinking about it, the line "The old king is dead, long live the king" could be a reference to Jesus being on the cross. All of the people mocking him, and King of Jews above his head.

    (",)

    Source(s): Previous Questions that I answered.
  • 1 decade ago

    Hi, I whole heartedly disagree with the other answers, lol. My school of though comes from listening to way too many Bob Dylan interviews where he says his songs don't mean anything. It's kinda true. I use that example because this song reminds me other a lot of Bob's songs. They/it aren't about any one person, they are just about a type of person/story/situation/whatever that can be applied to lots of situations.

    To me this song is just about not having control. The guy in the song is a King of the whole world, but he can't even stop his own corruption. The images in it some of which are biblical, are mostly generic or even cliches; they are something that we are all familiar with and can imagine or relate to, so it makes sense to use allusions to Jesus, King Herod, Napoleon, or whatever, but it is not about any one of them. For example, twice he says, " for some reason I can't explain it...", even he doesn't know what went wrong. The whole song, including the melody and beat, has a sweeping, rhythmic style to is, it pulls you in and flies past. just like his time as king did. He also says, "I held the key, Next the walls were closed on me," meaning his own castle, which stands for his power, is containing him.

    On the other hand, you could say that this song is about having a chance to to something great and wasting it. I don't think that is really it, though, since the song is mostly in the present tense and talks about what happened, and does not mention any regrets that he has now. That's also why I don't think that it is about having something and losing it.

    I suppose, if you really need a political interpretation, the furthest I could go is to say that it is about how power inherently corrupts, and how it happens again and again. That way you can use any reference to Jesus, Napoleon, the French Revolution, whatever you want. I think there is a lot of that in there, but I like to stay more vague and stick to the idea that we/he/Napoleon(if you want) just had no control.

    This is the beauty of a great song and literary analysis, though. I can make it about anything. I could say it is symbolic for a man who abused his wife and lost her. You see, he was the "king". He abused his power and now has lost it. All the bells and choirs are just his ego. In the line, "My castles stand upon pillars of salt and pillars of sand", the castle his is home and therefore his marriage (man's home is his castle, right), which he though was set in stone, and that he could do what he pleased with it, but was it not. Now, this is a stretch, but you can see how easy it is to prove that something has a set meaning, and maybe, some guy somewhere will be able to relate to this song in that way. It can have different a meaning to everyone, that's what makes it great.

    Now, as for the Jesus interpretation, I think that, line by line, s/he made some good points, but did not bother to look at the whole song, and so missed a lot of things, and is somewhat misguided, but that' just what I though! I could actually go on more about why i don't like that analysis, but I won't.

    Oh man, I could so go on about this song for pages.

    *edit*

    I realized during the night that it's weird that no one has applied the song to Chris Martin's own life, that I've heard anyways. Being rock star is a lot like being a king. But, that's what I mean, if he wanted the song to be about any one thing he would have made it about that. It is more about taking one experience and set of emotions and using it to create something new, and letting other people apply it to their own situations.

    Source(s): English major, I'm supposed to be studying the Poetic Adda, thanks for making me procrastinate...lol
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  • 1 decade ago

    I think it's about him once a king and when he fought with an enemy,he lost and he has to be the slave of the new king so he's sweep the streets and other slavery stuffs and this song about Greek ancient thing i guess.It also sing about Revolution!

  • 1 decade ago

    The first answer is totally right. This song is about Jesus Christ, and his life basically. I never knew that. I am glad that there is a song about that.

    Source(s): The Bible
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