Artist: Coldplay Track: "Viva la Vida" Album: Viva la Vida Listen

Though I'm a Coldplay fan -- writers tend to fall squarely on one side of the fence -- I thought I was going to hate this album because this album comes with an uber-snobby pair of titles. The new record, officially, is titled Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends. Amateur poets often do this, and it's dumb. You worked hard on something -- pick a GD title.

However, my detest for their indecision, perhaps influenced by the uber-snobby habits of co-producer Brian Eno, soon melted away once I played through this record. It's a stunning, lush, layered portrait of a band reaching for -- and achieving -- new heights. People often have two complaints about these Brits: Chris Martin can't write good lyrics, and the everything sounds like strings.

Viva, though it has contains many string-like sounds and some tacky wordsmithin', complicates the boundaries into which the band is repeatedly placed. Much of the sounds and words are dynamic and inventive and soothing like early-morning fog hovering above a remote lake. Together, these ballads and sound sketches -- meeting midway between Eno's ambient work and Coldplay's more straightforward albums -- form an album immediately likeable (good for tours) and primed for many listens (good for home).

My favorite songs so far: 1. "Strawberry Swing" 2. "Viva la Vida" 3. "Life in Technicolor" 4. "Cemeteries in London" 5. "Violet Hill"