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.
A Rush Of Blood To The Head
here to listen to "One I Love" - a song that didn't make it onto the CD!
Samples and Purchase Coldplay's new CD
the Official Coldplay Website for more on the band, tour dates and other
Dan Grote is a feature writer for the iconoFAN Network
Photos Courtesy Capitol Records - All rights Reserved.