Coldplay live in 2005
Coldplay spent most of 2004 out of the spotlight, resting from touring, and recording their third album. In terms of particular musical influences for it, bassist Guy Berryman said, "We were listening to lots of different stuff during the early stages [of X&Y] from Bowie, Eno and Pink Floyd to Depeche Mode, Kate Bush and Kraftwerk. And U2 as we usually do." In May, Chris Martin and his wife, actress Gwyneth Paltrow, celebrated the birth of their daughter named Apple.
X&Y was released in June 2005 in UK and Europe. This new, delayed release date had put the album back into the next fiscal year, actually causing EMI's stock to drop. It became the best-selling album of 2005 with worldwide sales of 8.3 million. The lead single, "Speed of Sound", made its radio and online music store debut on 18 April and was released as a CD on 23 May 2005. The album debuted at number one in 30 countries worldwide and was the third-fastest selling album in UK chart history. Two other singles were released that year: "Fix You" in September and "Talk" in December. The latter is set to the melody of "Computer Love", which was released in 1981 by the German synthpop band Kraftwerk and had in the previous year been revived by Norwegian guitarist Erik Wollo. Despite the commercial success, the critical reaction to X&Y was less enthusiastic than that of its predecessor, with New York Times critic Jon Pareles describing Coldplay as "the most insufferable band of the decade". Comparisons between Coldplay and U2 became increasingly common. Chris Martin later revealed that the negative remarks made him feel "liberated".
From June 2005 to July 2006, Coldplay went on their Twisted Logic Tour, which included festival dates like Coachella, Isle of Wight Festival, Glastonbury and the Austin City Limits Music Festival. In July 2005, the band appeared at Live 8 in Hyde Park, where they played a rendition of The Verve's "Bitter Sweet Symphony" with Richard Ashcroft on vocals. In September, Coldplay recorded a new version of "How You See the World" with reworked lyrics to War Child's Help!: A Day in the Life charity album. In February 2006, Coldplay earned Best Album and Best Single honours at the BRIT Awards. Two more singles were released during 2006, "The Hardest Part" and "What If". "White Shadows" was released in Mexico during June 2007.
Chris Martin playing a concert in So Paulo, Brazil
Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends (2006–present)
The band began to work on their fourth studio album, Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends, in October 2006, with Brian Eno as producer. Coldplay took a break from recording and toured Latin America in early 2007, including shows in Chile, Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico. The band revealed that the album seemed to be shaping up with Hispanic influences, after having recorded in churches and other areas in Latin America and Spain during their tour. The group spent the rest of the year recording, mainly with Brian Eno.
Martin described Viva la Vida as a new direction for Coldplay: a change from their past three albums, which they have referred to as a "trilogy". He said the album featured less falsetto as he allowed his voice's lower register to take precedence. Some songs, such as "Violet Hill", contain distorted guitar riffs and bluesy undertones. "Violet Hill" was confirmed as the first single, with a radio release date of 29 April 2008. After the first play, it was freely obtainable from Coldplay's website from 12:15 pm (GMT +0) for one week (achieving two million downloads), until it became commercially available to download on 6 May. "Violet Hill" entered the UK Top 10, US Top 40 (entering the Top 10 in the Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart) and charted well in the rest of the world. The title track, "Viva la Vida", was also released exclusively on iTunes. It became the band's first number one on the Billboard Hot 100, and their first UK number one, based on download sales alone. On 16 June, Coldplay began their Viva la Vida Tour with a free concert at Brixton Academy in London. This was followed two days later by a 45-minute performance that was broadcast live from outside BBC Television Centre. "Lost!" became the third single from the album, featuring a new version with Jay-Z.
On 15 June 2008, Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends topped the UK album chart, despite having been on sale for only three days. In that time, it sold 302,000 copies; the BBC called it "one of the fastest-selling records in UK history". By the end of June, it had set a new record for most-downloaded album ever. In October 2008, Coldplay won two Q Awards for Best Album for Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends and Best Act in the World Today. During an interview with Zane Lowe for BBC Radio 1 on 16 October, Martin suggested that the band were trying to book Knebworth House in Hertfordshire for a concert in 2009.
The band followed up Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends with the Prospekt's March EP which was released on 21 November 2008. The EP features tracks from the Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends sessions and, as well as being available on its own, was available as a bonus disc with later editions of Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends. The song "Life in Technicolor II" was released as a single on 9 February 2009.
On 20 January 2009, it was announced that Coldplay had been nominated for four BRIT Awards: British Group, British Live Act, British Single ("Viva la Vida") and British Album (Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends). At the 51st Grammy Awards on 8 February 2009, Coldplay won three Grammy Awards in the categories for Song of Year for "Viva la Vida", Best Rock Album for Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends, and Best Vocal Pop Performance by a Duo or Group for "Viva la Vida".
Coldplay performed the opening set on 14 March 2009 for Sound Relief at the Sydney Cricket Ground and then played a sold-out concert later that same night. Sound Relief is a benefit concert for victims of the Victorian Bushfire Crisis and the Queensland Floods. Appearing with Coldplay at the Sydney concert were Eskimo Joe, Hoodoo Gurus, Icehouse, Josh Pyke, Little Birdy, The Presets, Wolfmother, You Am I, Kings of Leon and additional artists.
Before heading to the Japanese leg of their Viva la Vida Tour, the band announced on Twitter that they had worked with Brian Eno on new material. In March 2009, the band announced that they were postponing plans to re-enter the studio in order to take a break after a long stint on tour, with Buckland claiming that "there's no time to do proper justice to a new project."
On 1 May 2009, the band announced on their official website that they would be giving away a live CD, entitled LeftRightLeftRightLeft, at the remaining concerts of their Viva la Vida tour. The album is also available as a free download from their website beginning 15 May 2009. The nine tracks were recorded at various shows during the tour.
Coldplay's musical style has been defined as alternative rock, being compared to Jeff Buckley and Oasis. Lead singer/songwriter Chris Martin once labeled the band's music as "limestone rock". The band's music has been called "meditative" and "blue romantic"; it "[reflects] on their emotions" and Martin "endlessly examine[s] his feelings". Martin's lyrical wordplay has been called feminist, similar to Andrew Montgomery of Geneva.
The tone of the band's first studio album, Parachutes, was defined as melodic pop with "distorted guitar riffs and swishing percussion". It was also described as being "exquisitely dark and artistically abrasive". In a review for A Rush of Blood to the Head, the songs were considered to contain "lush melodies and a heartbreak" and that they had a "newfound confidence." The music on X&Y has been considered to be "ruminations on Martin's doubts, fears, hopes, and loves."