Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Album Review: A Rush of Blood to the Head

Is it worth a listen? Yes.

Coldplay is (or was) a unique band. Their first major release album, Parachutes, was a unique blend, consisting of soulful, piano-driven melodies, along with some punchier, indie-influenced songs. This album is their sophomore effort, and it takes the band's strong points, and runs with them, achieving a soaring beauty which is not easy to find in the rock/alternative genre. Coldplay's somewhere in between U2 and Radiohead in style: mellow out U2, and mix in Radiohead's softer side from The Bends, and you basically have Coldplay. The opening track, Politic, hits with some driving and repetitive chords, but before long lead singer Chris Martin (i.e. Mr. Gwyneth Paltrow) opens up with his soulful voice about looking for love over all other things. The sense of yearning for beauty is palpable. Throughout the album, Coldplay writes some memorable songs, filled with aural bliss. The band loves to dwell in echoey, ethereal guitar chords, punctuated by drums. In regards to lyrics, Coldplay has pseudo-Christian lyrics. While nothing explicitly Christian is mentioned, Biblical influence can be found all over the place, with lyrics like "Honey, you are a rock/upon which I stand." and "God gave you style, and gave you grace / God put a smile upon your face." They never stoop to profanity or vulgar language.

Coldplay's only serious flaw is that they tend to have a couple songs that don't musically progress. There are only two less-than-amazing songs here: Daylight and A Whisper, both victims of repetitive and overly simplistic chords that drag on for 3-5 minutes. If they could only learn to foster a little more improvisation in those songs, this album would be flawless. Instead it's merely great. Go and listen, if you have any interest at all in mellow, piano-driven rock with integrity.

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