Coldplay: Viva La Vida Meaning
Song Released: 2008
Covered By: Taylor Swift
Get "Viva La Vida" on MP3:Get MP3 from Amazon
Viva La Vida Lyrics
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 enemy's eyes
Listen as the crowd would sing
Now the old king is...
anonymous Mar 13th, 2010 3:35pm report
Actually, a painting of a revolution in France (the July Revolution) but not the "French Revolution" per se. Has nothing to do with Louis XVI or the beheading. Of course, no matter the allusions in the song, it is a song about how life changes as you get older. There are references to Christ - some obvious and complimentary and some more veiled and sinister (puppet on a lonely string). There are references to Caesar (initials are JC, BTW) and the death of a king (the old king is dead, long live the king is an ancient declaration after a king dies) and other biblical and apocryphal references. But the song is about change. Changing from someone who exploits others and the world into someone who cares for others.
The song “Viva La Vida” by Coldplay represents the downfall of the speaker’s life which is symbolized by many events in human history. The narrator’s life used to be superior and it is shown when he exclaims that he “used to roll the dice”. However, that was all soon to change because he has entered a major breakdown and the world is looking down upon him with cruelty. He discovers that his life was built “upon pillars of salt and pillars of sand” which symbolizes the base his life has crumbled beneath his own feet leaving him desperate. Many allusions are inserted as in the fall of Louis XVI because he was living a fabulous life until the world around him ruptured bringing to his ruin. As is now seen, the narrator is facing the hardships of loneliness while his world is collapsing down all around him.
The song "Viva La Vida" by Coldplay is a very powerful piece, in that it represents the downfall of any person in the world. The speaker is anyone who is going through a hard time in their life or has lost something of great importance to he or she. The song states, "Seas would rise when I gave the word / Now I sleep alone". This shows that a person may have everything they want and needs, but then in a split second it could all be gone. The author writes, "And that was when I ruled the world". This line doesn't have to be taken in its literal meaning. This song could represent the loss of multiple things: power, money, a loved one. It also tells us that no one person has troubles worse than anyone else. The song is saying that everyone has low points in his or her lives. We see a sense of hopelessness and remorse, but at the same time the speaker seems to feel like he's done all he can. "Viva La Vida" is a song that represents every human being.
The song " Viva La Vida" by Coldplay describes the French Revolution and the downfall of King Louis XVI. The Speaker of the song is King Louis XVI himself. " I used to rule the world... Now in the mornings I sleep alone sweep the streets that I used to own" This is describing how Louis used to be a well respected great king and now he is just a joke. During his reign he took chances,because of that a group of revolutionaries " want his head on a silver plate". The song provides specific evidence from the French Revolution but I think it could be more general than that , it could be referring to any revolution. The album cover depicts a french painting from after the big french revolution with Viva La Vida splattered across it. So the moral of the song is take chances in life , but don't misuse power.
“Viva la Vida” can be interpreted in many different ways based on who the speaker is, the tone or attitude, and the main message or theme of the song. The speaker in this song is someone who “used to rule the world” but has lost his power. The tone of the song is regretful because he used to be the king but now his “castles stand upon pillars of salt and pillars of sand.” This quote means that he thought he was ruling something great but in reality it was just sand and unstable, eventually his control of the “castle” is lost. There are many allusions in this song that gives the listener a feel of what the song is about. The speaker used to be very proud of his self but he “used to roll the dice,” or took chances and made bad decisions without thinking. The speaker went from being on top of the world one day to his downfall the next day because of his past.
"Viva La Vida" has a deep meaning intensified by the tone of the speaker. The speaker in Coldplay's song is basically anyone who has experienced a downfall. The most obvious would be King Louis XIV, but this song may also be applied in a much broader fashion. The speaker's tone is easily described as mournful or despairing. The allusion in the song "And I discovered that my castles stand/ Upon pillars of salt and pillars of sand," gives a sense of disappointment and depression. It's almost as if he feels the "rug has been pulled out from beneath him." He is surprised by the fact that he wasn't as strong and he didn't have the sturdy foundation he thought he once had. The speaker's tone sets the stage for his main message that life can change in an instant. You must be prepared and never assume that everything in life is sturdy and reliable. As the song says, he "used to rule the world," but now he "sweeps the streets he used to own." One day he was on top of the world and the next he is doing the work of a lowly peasant.
jessdake218 Jan 19th, 2010 1:19pm report
The song “Viva La Vida” is a song about King Louis XVI during the French Revolution. The speaker of the song is King Louis himself as he talks about how he used to have power and suddenly lost it all. The speaker says, “One minute I held the key / Next the walls were closed on me” which describes how King Louis was in charge, and then lost all of his power and was imprisoned. His tone throughout the song, as is to be expected, is depressed and reminiscent of the past. The speaker says, “Revolutionaries wait / For my head on a silver plate / Just a puppet on a lonely string / Oh who would ever want to be king?” which could symbolize how King Louis was just a tool at the end of his reign and eventually beheaded (“UpPastMidnight” on lyricinterpretations.com). King Louis was not very careful when he ruled and then he lost it when the people revolted. Therefore, the message of “Viva La Vida” is to be careful when you have power.
fantasyfanatic Jan 19th, 2010 1:19pm report
Viva La Vida is about the French Revolution, and Louis XVI’s doom. Louis is the speaker and sings about his fate that the Revolutionaries would kill him. He also sings about how he was once so powerful, and then forced to watch his kingdom crumble in front of him. He says “My missionaries in a foreign land” which symbolizes that the Revolutionaries were unchristian and his missionaries weren’t the to help save him. He also mentions “Never an honest word” meaning those who controlled the Revolution weren’t honest to those who followed them. He’s depressed throughout the song, because of his loss of power. The song plays a depressing and regretful melody that adds to Louis’s mournful tone. Overall, the song shows what the revolution was like from Louis’s point of view.
In Coldaplay's "Viva la Vida," the speaker makes references to things such as King Louis XVI and how he was beheaded indireclty by French revolutionaries. "Revolutionaries wait/ for my head on a silver plate." It also gives a mention to risk and how power can change someone, even the people you think it cant. "That was when I ruled the world," he had power but he lost it somehow. In verse 4 after the first chorus, he describes himself being wicked and wild and "People couldnt believe what i'd become." The power changed him to the extent that people started to take notice. Coldplay has songs that don't necessarily mean what they say, you need to dig up the meaning within the words themselves.
magana_alyssa55 Jan 15th, 2010 1:13am report
The song “Viva La Vida” by Coldplay is open to a variety of interpretations.
However, after much analysis an average listener would agree that the song does not depict the speaker to have a specific gender or age. It simply describes a person who has underwent a major downfall within their life. The speaker uses numerous metaphors by relating their downfall to the execution and dethroning of the French King, Louis XVI, during the French revolution. “I used to rule the world…now in the morning I sleep alone.” These lines from verse one demonstrates how that at one point of the speaker’s life everything was occurring in their favor but because of a mistake, they were left feeling alone, regretful, and defeated as their life turned toward the worst. The speaker uses a metaphor by illustrating how the French King had also lived a life of glory and happiness, but later dealt with being dethroned and executed. The song’s overall tone is regretful and oppressing because the speaker describes having lost their once “perfect life” because of a past mistake that caused their life to swirl out of control. “For some reason I can’t explain. I know Saint Peter won’t call my name.” These lines from verse nine shows how that the speaker had made a regrettable mistake. He or she describes how their mistake would made them ineligible to be forgiven and be called by Saint Peter to be brought to heaven.
The metaphor used in verse nine relates with the French King when he called out toward God to be his guide and forgive him for past decisions during the time of his execution.
The main message of the song is to not take your life for granted when it's at it's best because at any moment it can lost.
AlyseElaine Jan 10th, 2010 1:14pm report
Although there are many disputes about the theme and actual meaning of this popular song, I believe that Coldplay wrote it to refer to the end of a high point in one's life. Yes, UpPastMidnight does give many agreeable and logical information that the song is exclusively about the French Revolution. However, talking about just an event in history is not exactly Coldplay's "style." The intent of the band's lyrics are to have listeners relate their lives to the song. All people can identify with having heald positions of esteem, power, wealth and/or admiration and then falling or losing everything through their own actions or through no fault of their own. This quote from the song exemplifies this perfectly."One minute I held the key Next the walls were closed on me."
The somber tone depicted by this song should ring a bell for the people in our country feeling the painful effects of the current recession. When Coldplay says "I here Jerusalem bells are ringing Roman cavalry choirs are singing" they mean the speaker is pleading to a higher than Earthly power. Often times when one is at the end of his or her rope, one turns to god.
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