Coldplay cares deeply about its music. Do you?[more:]
The powers that be in the Coldplay camp made a fine choice of releasing "In My Place," with it's driving rhythm and it's stirring string arrangement, as the introductory single for their latest album, A Rush of Blood to the Head. This choice, however, could not have been too difficult considering the paucity of standout material from which to choose.
Liam Gallagher, recently speaking of Coldplay's frontman Chris Martin, was quoted in October's Rolling Stone as saying, "I believe him when he sings. He means it." Perhaps we cannot doubt that Coldplay is making music that they care about, but the real question of whether or not Coldplay has made a collection of songs that we care about is not quite so easily answered.
Coldplay's sophomore effort contains admirable emotion but uninspiring execution that at its best sounds like the Dave Matthews Band minus the playful charm and impressive musicianship. Most songs follow a formula of monotonous, droning electric guitar chords played over equally lifeless piano, paired with ignorable bass and drum components. For a band that seems to stress in every interview that its goal is to make a passionate music with popular rock appeal, Coldplay introduces a product that seems to fall short on both counts. The lyrical and instrumental aspects of the album are both far too bland to hook the pop crowd or to impress those seeking passionate poetry.
The album's first track, "Politik," for example, is aimed as a social commentary on the inequity of international trade laws. Yet, without the album's explanatory liner notes, the actual lyrics fail to articulate the message at all: "Give me time and give me space/ Give me real, don't give me fake."
A Rush of Blood to the Head has the feel of a somewhat respectable EP stretched into a bloated full length. Oddly enough, the handful of keepers on the album, the twangy, acoustic-driven "Green Eyes" for example, are the tracks that seem to stray the most from the Coldplay formula. Perhaps the boys would be better off if they spent less time emulating U2 and spent more time honing their own style. Whatever the case, this is an album that, to be enjoyed, will require a sturdy skip button on your CD player.- 2002