When Coldplay released its first album “Parachutes” in the UK, it sold like hotcakes. But as per usual, it took more convincing to make the US buy into it. Then came the video for “Yellow” followed by extensive touring and America was finally sold making it go platinum. After a whirlwind of more touring, squabbling amongst themselves in the British tabloids and a Mercury Music Prize nomination (which they lost to Badly Drawn Boy) the band went on the ever notorious hiatus that so many band who suffer overexposure do to write new material and “rest”.
Where most bands may never return from this, Coldplay actually went and immediately started working on their follow up. And now we have “A Rush of Blood to the Head”. And Coldplay have left no doubts as to their staying power.
The album starts off much more dense and dramatic than their previous with “Politik” then rolls into songs that are less ballad and more structured and layered than on “Parachutes”. The next few songs are some of the best, “In My Place”- their first single and “God Put a Smile on Your Face” as well as “Warning Sign” may be the album’s strongest songs, but the rest of the album quite frankly filled with songs that are none the less good. There really isn’t a weak track on the entire album. The piano is also more present on this album for more than one track as their last on the songs “The Scientist”, “Clocks” and the final track “Amsterdam” giving the album a less “guitars only” and more of a broad sounding feel to it.
Another thing that does work well for this album too, is the lack of that “acoustic guitar strumming with a band backing” sound they employed on the last album, this album sounds more written in jams and practice sessions than their first did. It sounds far more cohesive and seems more a full collaboration of the entire band as opposed to that one man writes it while the rest of the band adds layers that so many bands have these days.
It’s rare that a band has as acclaimed a first album as Coldplay did and then actually make a sophomoric follow up that’s as good if not better than their first. Coldplay have shown they deserve the praise they’ve gotten in the past and will get in the future. They aren’t a one album wonder, and it seems the future is bright for this band.