What does Viva La Vida mean?

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Coldplay: Viva La Vida Meaning

Song Released: 2008

Covered By: Taylor Swift

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Viva La Vida Lyrics

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 enemy's eyes
Listen as the crowd would sing
Now the old king is...

  1. AlyseElaine
    click a star to vote
    Jan 10th 2010 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.

  2. jaspreetsidhu
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    Jan 10th 2010 report

    The song "Viva La Vida" by Coldplay is a song about the reign of Louis XVI during the French Revolution. It is about his hardships and his feelings during that time. Each line in this song has a very deep meaning to it. The line "I used to rule the world" means that Louis XVI used to rule France. "Seas would rise when I gave the word" means that people would always quickly obey his words. "Now in the morning I sleep alone" means that people have revolted against him and he has been isolated into a room. "Sweep the streets I used to own" means that his words are of no use and he is not needed anymore. "I used to roll the dice" means that Louis XVI used to make all of the big and small decisions. He would also take a lot of chances. "Feel the fear in my enemy's eyes" means that people would be too afraid to not obey him. "Listen as the crowd would sing "Now the old king is dead! Long live the king!"" means that people obeyed and respected the king and his power of authority. "One minute I held the key" means that he held the key to his nation, France. "Next the walls were closed on me" means that everything was taken away from him. "And I discovered that castles stand upon pillars of salt and pillars of sand" means that he discovered that the foundation for his kingdom is bad. The chorus, "I hear.....My missionaries in a foreign field," means that he wants god to protect him from his upcoming death. The lines "For some reason.....and that was when I ruled the world" means that he never said anything honestly and he was being killed for unjust reasons. Louis XVI believed that it wasn't his fault and he was not guilty." Revolutionaries wait for my head on a silver plate" means that people are going to behead him. "Just a puppet on a lonely string" means that he is being mistaken for the enemy and he is alone for that reason. The lines "For some reason I can't explain.....that was when I ruled the world" means that he will not be send to heaven and he is fully aware of it. Overall, "Viva La Vida" has a very deep meaning to it.

  3. anonymous
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    Dec 22nd 2009 report

    This is an add on to the masonic interpretation

    "For some reason I can't explain
    Once you were gone there was never
    Never an honest word"

    In the early stages of masonry the initiate is intentionally lied to in regards to the meanings of the symbols and rituals of masonry. As the mason ascends into the higher degrees he is taught the real meanings. So in the early stages there is "never an honest word" in regards to the true meanings of rituals and symbols.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  4. anonymous
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    Dec 20th 2009 report

    This song sounds like the lamenting of a disenfranchised freemason who realizes he has made a tremendous error in embarking on the path of masonry.

    "I used to rule the world. Seas would rise when I gave the word" the feeling of entering the first degrees of masonry...empowerment, thrill, excitment..perhaps also a reflection of the decline/pacification of the freemasonic powers

    "now in the morning I sleep alone, sweep the streets that I used to roam"

    the duldrums of someone who now serves the lodge with no enthusiasm but is forced to carry out its rights, possible feeling lonely in a higher degree amongst lower ranking masons. perhaps also the decline of freemsonic revolutions and war to a period of mere servitude to the empires which were built on masonry.

    "I used to roll the dice
    Feel the fear in my enemy's eyes
    Listened as the crowd would sing
    Now the old king is dead long live the king"

    again the excitment of someone entering the early degrees of masonry, possible learning of the french revolution and other revolutions cause by freemasons. also the decline of masonry from a revolutionary period into a period of stagnation

    "one minute I held the key, next the walls were closed on me"

    perhaps a falling out within a lodge, loss of privelege
    or favor, maybe realizing the emptiness of masonry and understanding their is no real foundation for truth within it. furthermore the degeneration of masonry from a movement against tyranny into what it is today, complete tryanny.

    "I hear jersualem bells are ringing roman calvary choirs are singing"

    the crusades, the knights templar, the temple of soloman, heretics/horsemen from the catholic church, etc...

    "be my mirror" a reference to the fraternity enjoined amongst masons. "my sword" a masonic symbol,again fraternity, brothers in arms, revolution. "my shield"
    keep my secrets, protect my interests, a possible reference to the oaths of masonry, oaths of allegiance, secrecy, fraternity.

    "my missionaries in a foreign field"

    possibly the spread of freemasonic ideals into realms what where once ruled by christiandom and monarachy

    "For some reason I can't explain
    Once you were gone there was never
    Never an honest word"

    perhaps refering to the loss of the masonic brother who initially recruited him and feeling disenfranchised and decieved by those who were still around

    "but that's when I ruled the world"

    again the initial high brought on by a discovery as large as entering into free masonry (a terrible mistake in my opinion)

    "It was a wicked and wild wind
    Blew down the doors to let me in"

    wickedness begots wickedness, it seems he is reflecting on how only a wicked wind could have opened the doors of the freemasonic lodge in order for him to enter.

    "Shattered windows and the sound of drums"

    disturbance and celebration (due to the news of his entering into masonry)also revolution and war, the freemasonic golden period (french revolution, american revolution)

    "People couldn't believe what I'd become"

    people couldnt believe that he became a mason

    "Revolutionaries wait
    For my head on a silver plate"

    perhaps his falling out in the lodge, or plottings against him by other masons, maybe he showed his is displeasure with something within the order, perhaps competing factions of masonry struggling to seize power in europe and the new world, again french revolution american revolution

    "Just a puppet on a lonely string"

    refering to the reality that no matter how high in masonry you may ascend you are simply a puppet of a greater agenda, while satan is the puppet master. also the kings and presidents of masonic nations are mere puppets on a lonely string

    "Oh who would ever wanna be king?" who would want to be a very high ranking mason, it seems he is reflecting on the perils and pitfalls of such an endeavor

    Perhaps these two lines together are a reflection of how masonry controlled the kings of europe, "just a puppet on a lonely string who would ever wanna be king?" who would want to be king when you could control the king as a freemason, when the king would be a mere puppet of yours...

    "I hear Jerusalem bells ringing
    Roman Cavalry choirs singing
    Be my mirror my sword and shield
    My missionaries in a foreign field
    For some reason I can't explain
    I know St. Peter won't call my name"

    again the templars in jerusalem, the oaths and fraternal agreements amongst masons, the onset of masonry starting in jerusalem and spreading through masonic missionaries into many foriegn realms all of this juxtaposed by the realization that masonry would lead its practicioner to the fire of hell. He doesn't know why but he is sure that his name will not be called at the gates of heaven, due to embarking on this path. again a mason lamenting about his folly and becoming disenfranchised.

    furthermore the song itself is goes goes back and forth from feelings of excitment, discovery, energy and enthusiasm to one of lamentation, melancholy and regret. This further fueled my conviction that this song is about a freemason realizing his grave error, unfortunately it doesn't appear that anywhere in the song that the mason decides to turn away from his disaster path...my big question is...is chris martin a freemason? I think he may be. may Allaah guide him...ameen

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  5. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Dec 13th 2009 report

    Ok, when I looked at the lyrics, I also saw it as the point of view of God and his experience as He/She loses people. Think about it, once He/She was a huge influnce, beloved by all. Then He/She lost power, as the King of France lost his power because of the French Revolution. It could be a despirate cry for help for people to be His "mirror" (for our ideals of life to relfect His/Her's), his "sword and shield" (to protect and defend Him), and "missionary". Just think about how it feels to have all the love of the world and watch it slowly slip away from your hands. I know how crappy it feels to love someone and not be loved back, now imagine the agony of God to not be loved by his own creation. I'm not huge into religion or anything, this is only another way of interpreting the lyrics. I also don't mean to undermine other religions or offend anyone by any means(once again, just another interpretation). please tell me what you think.

  6. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Nov 18th 2009 report

    I believe that this song is about Rupert Murdock.

  7. The13ThHour
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    Nov 15th 2009 report

    In my opinion it is not necessarily about louis XVI, the french revolution,or jesus, but about somebody, whoever it is, that had everything they ever wanted, they had power and wealth, they practically "ruled the world", and then somehow lost it all and is feeling regret, but accepting his fate in the end.

    ive also heard that this song is about what louis XVI was thinking about before he died

  8. amandasmother
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    Oct 3rd 2009 report

    I think the song is about the angel we know as the Devil now, his fall from grace.
    It can also mean anyone's fall from grace
    How you can get power with lies and live high and then drop completely to the bottom.

  9. anonymous
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    Sep 12th 2009 report

    Seems to be about a dope dealing addict. All caught up in self righteousness and all that goes with someone deep in their addiction.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  10. anonymous
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    Aug 31st 2009 report

    I have no doubt the song is about King Louis XVI and concur with everything UpPastMidnight wrote, with one additional interpretation: The protagonist hears the Bells of Jerusalem and the choirs of Roman Calvary, so in his view he will die like Jesus on the cross, mocked, derided, killed on trumped charges, but in his final moment he admits to himself and God that his past sins cannot be forgiven, that even though he dies like a martyr, this is not enough to make up for them and he won't go to Heaven. Chris Martin himself said it was about religion and the crimes people do in God's name, that the preachings "kill the enemies of God and you go straight to Heaven" are not true.

  11. anonymous
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    Aug 19th 2009 report

    Viva la Vida is a song about the beauty of modesty...

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  12. anonymous
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    Aug 11th 2009 report

    i agree that the song could be about both the French king and Jesus. However, I think that the phrase "my head on a silver plate" refers to John, who baptized Jesus. He was beheaded and his head put on a silver plate.

  13. anonymous
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    Aug 10th 2009 report

    Not to downplay any of the interpretations posted here (I think the great majority of them are really good!), I reckon the best way of going about interpreting a good song is to see how it applies, or what it means, to you and your life - the experience is better this way. So whether it is about Napoleon, King Louis the XVI, George Bush (hmm..) or whoever else isn't that important. Especially because unless Chris Martin actually posts his own interpretation on this thing (unlikely.. but crazier things have happened :P), we're never going to know exactly what every line was written to mean.

    But that's the beauty of music.. It means something different to every individual, so let's not get too specific with the lyrics, otherwise we might exclude some people from finding any meaning in them for themselves. For myself it's quite personal - I sacrificed parts of myself to rise to the top of my social circle ("rule the world") and went from being a good studious lad to getting into heaps of bad stuff ("It was the wicked and wild wind, blew down the doors to let me in"). Although it was great for a long time, it inevitably backfired (revolution) as I wasn't being completely honest with myself ("never an honest word") and I lost respect with people who'd known me my whole life like my family ("people couldn't believe what i'd become"). It says to me that even kings (perhaps especially kings) need to question the real value of their lives. Sorry to get all soppy on you :P

    Also, referring back to what someone said earlier.. I'm a bit of a muso myself and have written a few lyrics - not quite as good at it as coldplay :( but if all the lyrics in a song rhyme, I reckon you can be pretty sure they don't all have a perfect correlation or consistency with the intended meaning.. I could be wrong but I just think this would be quite a substantial coincidence! After all they are 'pop-rock', so catchiness and rhythm in the lyrics play a pretty big part.

    Absolutely awesome song though.. Despite my little self-analogy back there I actually find it really uplifting. Why can't Satriani just be flattered!

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  14. anonymous
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    Jul 17th 2009 report

    there could be many reasons. french revolution and the saying what comes up most come down. when you are always above people and intimidating, in the end, the wall breas

  15. anonymous
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    Jun 11th 2009 report

    Love your explanation UPpastmidnight about Jesus, you are right on.

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