Everyone loves a bit of Coldplay. They're one of the most accessible alternative rock bands out there today, and even if you hate them, you still really do love them. Coldplay weren't always the band with big dancey anthems that could overtake the radio waves. They had their hits on their earliest albums that made them huge, but they also had an underlying motive when it came to their music.
The band's critically acclaimed sophomore album A Rush Of Blood To The Head put the world's fears into words. The album was a massive success building off the success of the band's single from their debut Parachutes, 'Yellow.' It generated some big hits, but where it really resonated was in its meanings. The sessions of A Rush Of Blood To The Head began once the September 11 attacks happened. At that time, the whole world was in disarray. No one could quite feel safe, and that theme appeared consistently in the art of that time.
The sentiments of fear and panic are expressed in the opening track 'Politik.' The dramatic intro brings in urgent, punchy guitars, drums, and an orchestra to back its mood. Listening to the song gives you an almost uneasy feeling. Chris Martin eerily brings the song in by chanting, "Look at earth from outer space / Everyone must find their place / Give me time and give me space / Give me real, don't give me fake," putting the state of the world into one set of words. He's essentially saying to look at the state of the world; we cannot push people to a quick answer when there is none to be found yet. The chorus chants "Open up your eyes" with the same drama as Radiohead's '2 + 2 = 5,' telling the world's leaders and inhabitants to look at the state of us all. The answer isn't simple, but we can find it if we unite. The song resolves into a dreamy, orchestral explosion in the end, emotion riding high as Martin exclaims that his priorities lie with love and family. Perhaps that was his message: hounding and anger isn't the answer, but love is.
A Rush Of Blood To The Head has a wider narrative than just that of the context that came with 9/11. There's a wider commentary on humanity itself, too. Perhaps the most revealing is from the massive hit 'Clocks.' The song's signature piano intro and sweet, flowing melodies made the song a huge hit, but its meaning is often looked over. The song revolves around the paradox of time with humanity: how we are obsessed with being punctual all the while wanting to savor each and every moment. Similar in idea to the panic of 'Politik,' 'Clocks' also presents some thought-provoking thoughts: "Am I a part of the cure or am I part of the disease" perhaps being the most powerful. The groovy 'God Puts A Smile On Your Face' shares a similar message, the song being about appreciating life as it comes, as it is so short.
You can't have a Coldplay album without some loving. A large part of A Rush Of Blood To The Head revolves around the ins and outs of a relationship. The lead single and the song that heralded the desire for the band to record a second album, 'In My Place,' is the first of these tracks, where Martin battles not facing the challenge of having to change for the woman he's in a relationship with. Songs sometimes come in pairs: the mysterious, moodier track 'Daylight' is all about the realization of falling in love, whereas title track 'A Rush Of Blood To The Head' is about a desire for revenge and coping with the loss of a relationship. Another pairing comes with 'Warning Sign,' a song about realizing that she might be the girl of Martin's dreams, and the powerful 'The Scientist,' which finds Martin analyzing a broken relationship (and alluding to Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Birthmark).
It's easy to hate Coldplay, but it's also easy to love them. A Rush Of Blood To The Head proved that the band was much more than just another pop rock band that can bring hits; the album put the fears of the world into words while delivering powerful, beautiful melodies to its listeners. When all seems lost and there is no clarity, regardless of its as personal as a relationship or as global as widespread hysteria, music will always be there to provide a guiding light for us - A Rush Of Blood To The Head proves that.
Favorite Tracks: Clocks, The Scientist, Politik
Least Favorite Track: Green Eyes
Rating: 83 / 100
Buy or listen to A Rush Of Blood To The Head here: