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by Dan Grote

In the past few years, America has welcomed a slew of British pop acts who, besides being needlessly compared to Radiohead, tend to have a penchant for penning sometimes dreary, sometimes beautiful pop ballads. To the average ear, disseminating between bands like Travis, Coldplay, and Starsailor can be like trying to the tell the difference between the Backstreet Boys, NSync, and 98 Degrees, or even the Strokes, the White Stripes, and the Hives (there, I said it).

For the purposes of this article, however; here’s the selling points for each band: Starsailor write the really personal songs (Daddy was an alcoholic), Travis write the quirky songs (“Why Does It Always Rain on Me?”), and Coldplay write the songs with the most pop cache, i.e. the band’s late 2000 breakout hit “Yellow.”

Coldplay’s first U.S. album featured a band fresh out of college writing simple yet well-crafted pop songs with one word titles like “Spies,” “Spiders,” and “Shiver.” On their sophomore album, the Brits have to go and make things more complicated by creating lengthy titles like “God Put a Smile upon Your Face,” and “A Rush of Blood to the Head.” And perhaps that’s a reflection of the direction in which the band is headed, as lead singer Chris Martin has begun trading in some of his simple rhyming lyrics for verses about unfair international trade laws (“Politik”) and finding reasons to start wars (“Rush of Blood”). In fact, “Rush of Blood” finds Martin at his most destructive, singing, “I’m gonna buy this place and burn it down” and “I’m gonna buy a gun and start a war,” blaming both actions on the titular rush, which sounds like a 17th century quack malady or what happens when you stand up too fast.

Which isn’t to say that Coldplay have given up on writing simple pop songs altogether. The lead single, “In My Place,” picks up where “Yellow” and “Trouble” left off, reintroducing the band as those guys who wrote “Yellow” and “Trouble.” The only difference is that, this time around, the engineer in the studio decided it would be a good idea to turn up the drummer’s track. This is true of much of the album, as Coldplay’s rhythm section seems a little more prominent on several tracks of A Rush of Blood…, especially early on.

VERDICT: Coldplay have matured since Parachutes and released a second album full of beautiful songs. Pieces like “In My Place” and “Daylight” capture the innocence and simplicity of the first album, while “Rush of Blood” and “God Put a Smile” capture a dark side that will help the band evolve even further in future endeavors. A Rush of Blood to the Head has the potential to sell as well as the gold Parachutes and allow the band to stake the largest claim of the Brit balladeers.

CD Info 

Coldplay: A Rush Of Blood To The Head
Label: Capitol Records
In My Place 
God Put A Smile Upon Your Face 
The Scientist 
Green Eyes 
Warning Sign 
A Whisper
A Rush Of Blood To The Head 
Listen to samples and Purchase this CD online

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Dan Grote is a feature writer for the iconoFAN Network
Photos Courtesy Capitol Records - All rights Reserved.


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