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Coldplay - A Rush of Blood to the Head Print E-mail
Tuesday, 27 August 2002

A Rush of Blood To The Head
format: CD
label: Capitol
release year: 2002
performance: 8.5
sound 8
reviewed by: Paul Lingus

ImageAlthough Coldplay drew initial comparisons to Radiohead, their latest album, A Rush of Blood to the Head, puts those comparisons to rest, affirming that the band possesses its own unique sound and marking them as an exciting U.K. import. While more upbeat than Coldplay’s Grammy-winning debut Parachutes, the new album still reflects the band’s brand of emo-rock and self proclaimed sociopolitical leanings. It is this emotional connection that makes Coldplay more akin to Morrissey and Embrace than to the increasingly cerebral Radiohead.
Lead singer Chris Martin was recently quoted as saying that the idea behind Coldplay was a band that “wanted to be a reaction against soulless rubbish,” and both the music and lyrics reflect that attitude. There is even a section of the rather sparse liner notes devoted to the idea of fair worldwide market trade, which the band has become involved in. They want their listeners to get a positive message out of their music, which is something clearly lacking in a great deal of the music world.

A Rush of Blood to the Head is quite soulful, without as much of the musically melancholy leanings of the first album. More guitars and up-tempo beats punctuate the album in songs like “Daylight,” “God Put a Smile Upon Your Face,” and the very accessible singles “In My Place” and “Clocks,” which are the quintessential Coldplay songs: heartfelt, longing, and catchy.

The album was originally recorded last fall and finished in December. However, unwilling to feel that they were rushing out their second album, the band went back and recorded more music in Liverpool, leading to three of the tracks that ended up on the album, including “The Scientist,” “A Whisper,” and “Daylight.” “The Scientist,” which recently made its debut at #10 on the U.K. charts, is a simple, haunting ballad about lost love and the difficulties of reclaiming it. Simple piano chords dominate initially, swelling into a pulsing guitar and percussion rhythm that will break your heart, reflecting the pain and anguish of the subject matter. The simple but poignant lyricism reflects the music to great effect, making it the perfect song for a rainy day.

Coldplay has co-produced both of their albums with Ken Nelson. While this has made for a distinct sound, one wonders whether the band can keep making the same sort of music for too long. Even the fact that they delayed the release of the album to polish it up, while contributing greatly to it, indicates that they might not be open to experimenting at all. While the new album is jazzed up, this sometimes leads to overproduced songs, like “A Whisper,” whose vocals are lost amid a cacophony of guitars and synthetic sounds.

In a recent interview, a member of the band said that they “wanted to get it all out” on this album, both musically and emotionally. Indeed, while the music itself is good, A Rush of Blood to the Head also has its emotional ups and downs and will get you thinking about your world, your life, and how you think the whole mess is going.

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