Friday, February 28, 2014

Coldplay 2: A Rush Of Blood To The Head

Any young band coming off a mildly successful debut album is faced with an immediate quandary for their follow-up: deliver more of the same, and risk charges of redundancy, or stretch out in another direction, and confound the skeptics? More adventurous bands might choose the latter option; Radiohead did and watched it pay off, while Weezer did too, and took a sabbatical in the where-are-they-now file.
Coldplay always comes off as being just as dialed in to what their fans and critics say, while still trying to maintain their integrity as artists of substance. With A Rush Of Blood To The Head, they managed to deliver their stated brand without repeating themselves.
The angry, edgy guitars that begin “Politik” hint at a new direction, and one to make people notice, but that’s a red herring. “In My Place” provides a keening ballad in the tradition of “Yellow”. The edge comes back on “God Put A Smile Upon Your Face”, with a pounding snare and one-note riff that will separate the fans from the pans.
And it pretty much goes from there, from the sensitive yearning of “The Scientist” to the stadium-ready “Clocks”, both built around basic yet insistent piano parts. “Daylight” recycles the pattern of track 3, and the droning “A Whisper” is anything but; meanwhile, “Green Eyes” (written and recorded well before Gwyneth Paltrow became a fixture) revives the folk strums of Parachutes.>br> The piano would gain prominence in their overall sound, without a guitar hero to otherwise hog the spotlight. For example, “Warning Sign” begins as a strum, but is reduced to piano and vocal by its drawn-out end. The title track mixes all of the tricks in their bag so far, leaving a surprising finale with “Amsterdam”, starting quiet and building to a finish that screams second encore.
A Rush Of Blood To The Head appealed to a post-9/11 audience seeking something that at least appeared to have meaning. Arty videos helped, of course, depicting the photogenic frontman emoting, leaving one’s recognition of the rest of the band as spotty as ever. It’s a good toe-tapping, knee-jogging album to have on in the background, even if it doesn’t reveal much with close inspection. Thus, they were slowly on their way to world dominance. (In their quest to be the next U2, the CD booklet included a page full of pleas and websites relating to various world charities.)

Coldplay A Rush Of Blood To The Head (2002)—

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