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Song Stories

“Viva la Vida”

Coldplay | 2008

With its sweeping arrangement, "Viva la Vida" became an insta-hit, giving Coldplay their first Number One song in both the United States and United Kingdom. The Spanish title, translated as "long live life," makes reference to an artwork by Frida Kahlo. With its many historical and religious references, it alludes to themes of pain, strength and anti-authoritarianism. At the time, Chris Martin felt it was a make-or-break endeavor for the band. “This could be our last shot at the big time," the singer admitted. "It's something in my head, as in artistic relevance."

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Song Stories

“Vicious”

Lou Reed | 1972

Opening Lou Reed's 1972 solo album, the hard-riffing "Vicious" actually traces its origin back to Reed's days with the Velvet Underground. Picking up bits and pieces of songs from the people and places around him, and filing his notes for later use, Reed said it was Andy Warhol who provided fuel for the song. "He said, 'Why don't you write a song called 'Vicious,'" Reed told Rolling Stone in 1989. "And I said, 'What kind of vicious?' 'Oh, you know, vicious like I hit you with a flower.' And I wrote it down literally."

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