Album Review: Coldplay, “A Rush Of Blood To The Head” (2002)

I bought A Rush Of Blood To The Head sometime last Spring. I listened to the CD once, got bored halfway through, and stuck it back on my shelf, where it sat untouched for months. Finally, as with Strange & Beautiful, I needed some background music to play while writing, and I decided to give Coldplay another chance.

Sure, at first listen, the CD seems like a bit of a bore. Chris Martin’s voice tends to fade into the background a lot, and some of the songs do seem dull and uninspired. But there are a few songs on the album that make it worth listening to, and the ones that aren’t noteworthy still provide nice background music.

Politik opens the album with loud piano and heavy chords. In fact, the song is so loud, that I just had to turn the sound down in fear of my speakers suffering. Anyway, this song is obviously a political/social commentary (the chorus contains the simple repetition of “open up your eyes”), though it’s more exciting musically than lyrically. The music softens during the bridge, and then picks back up to the dramatic piano chords during the chorus. Martin’s voice is wonderful here, and he does a great job of inflecting the emotion of the song with his vocals.

In My Place follows, which was the first single released from this album. This is more of the Coldplay that I was familiar with before hearing Politik; this song is composed of the soft piano, drums, and vocals that have become synonymous with Coldplay’s music. God Put A Smile Upon Your Face starts off with a simple guitar hook which plays throughout the song. The song isn’t anything too spectacular musically or lyrically but still works well.

The main reason I bought the album lies in The Scientist, which could possibly be included on the list of my favorite songs. It starts off quietly, with just the piano, and then Martin comes in with hushed vocals. The melody here is absolutely amazing; sad, yet beautiful at the same time, and goes along well with the melancholy lyrics. My favorite line lies in the chorus (“Nobody said it was easy/No one ever said it would be this hard”), though the rest of the lyrics are as thoughtful and honest. Though the song tells the story of a relationship that’s ending, it means a lot more to me. This is one of the few songs that actually made me cry, and as I’ve said before, anything that evokes such an emotion in me, or anyone else, is amazing. The song picks up during the end, and Martin sort of freestyles his way with his trademark wailing/singing, but it only adds to the beauty of the track. Did I mention that I love this song?

Chris Martin in Hong Kong

Another single from the album was Clocks, which also happens to be a favorite. The song starts off with another great piano solo and leads into an upbeat melody. Unlike The Scientist, the lyrics are very vague here, and as a few other people mentioned, I’m not sure what this song is about (which makes the line “confusion never stops” a bit ironic). However, the song is such a treat musically that it doesn’t really matter. The song seems like a jumbled mess with the piano, drums and vocals sporadically dancing around, though it all works together perfectly.

The album slows down a bit with Daylight. By now, the piano seems a bit played, and this song doesn’t hold much to make it worth listening to. Even the chorus isn’t memorable, though Martin’s falsetto is nice to listen to. Green Eyes isn’t much better; however, the guitar is nice, and since I have a personal tie to the song, I like it a lot more. Lyrics like “The spotlight shines upon you/And how could anybody deny you?” are very sweet and romantic, and this song actually reminds me a lot of Sparks, a song included on Parachutes.

Another of my favorites is Warning Sign. Again, the song starts off slowly with piano and guitar, but some additional strings are included this time. All production strips down during the verses, as Martin sings about looking for the signs of the end of a relationship. Like some of my other favorites, this song isn’t anything amazing; there are no thought provoking or deep lyrics, or soaring instrumental breaks, but the subtly of the track is what makes it so great.

The album comes to a close with three tracks that are quite forgettable. A Whisper is a song that I’ll occasionally be in the mood to listen to; it’s very spastic, with odd lyrics and loud production, and it’s rare that I actually desire to hear the song. The title track, A Rush Of Blood To The Head is less annoying, though doesn’t stand out much. The song starts off with just Martin’s vocals, which seems promising, but once the piano and guitars are added in, the track loses steam and just sort of fizzles down.

Amsterdam is another less interesting track, though it’s very beautiful to listen to. I’m quite a fan of Martin’s voice, and it’s highlighted nicely here. The lyrics almost seem to disappear once you focus on the soothing music. Though the track is incredibly subdued, it’s a nice end to the album.

A Rush Of Blood To The Head has its hits and misses. There are some tracks that are worth buying the album for, and even though some of the songs don’t stand out, the strong tracks seem to make up for it.

Rating: 3_stars.svg

Track Listing
1. Politik
2. In My Place
3. God Put A Smile Upon Your Face
4. The Scientist
5. Clocks
6. Daylight
7. Green Eyes
8. Warning Sign
9. A Whisper
10. A Rush Of Blood To The Head
11. Amsterdam

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d020hcWA_Wg]
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