Tuesday, April 29, 2008
No. 473: A Rush of Blood to the Head
Album: A Rush of Blood to the Head
Why Rolling Stone gets it right: A huge record that cemented Coldplay as a huge band, "A Rush of Blood to the Head" was a giant hit. Featuring three huge singles, the album sold 3 million copies.
Why Rolling Stone gets it wrong: I think this album doesn't belong on the list, but the record is often slammed for no good reason.
Best song: "The Scientist" is lush and pretty.
Worst song: I don't like "God Put a Smile upon Your Face."
Is it awesome?: I really like this album.
(Let me first disclose something: Coldplay has a cameo in my favorite comedy film of all time. On one of the post-zombie news reports in "Shaun of the Dead," Coldplay makes an appearance touting a fictional Zomb-Aid charity record. I will always like them a little for that appearance.)
Coldplay gets a lot of shit around indie rock parts because of their incredibly earnest songwriting style. Pitchfork's review of "A Rush of Blood to the Head" called the album "boring," almost entirely in comparison to "Parachutes," the band's debut.
I'm not going to argue that "A Rush of Blood to the Head" isn't boring. It is. Coldplay isn't rewriting the rule book on rock and roll. Being a British band, Coldplay never put huge roots down in college radio and indie blogs, though "Parachutes" was revered by both camps.
Again, it's trendy to mock Coldplay, partially for the band's popularity, partially for lead singer Chris Martin naming his kid "Apple" and partially because he's politically outspoken (in the British way of writing "fair trade" on his piano).
Still, "A Rush of Blood to the Head" has highlights. The grand example is the rabid worldwide popularity of entirely British "In My Place," a tome on social class, friendships and life. "Clocks" is a rapid-pace tour de force with a great Martin vocal and piano line. "Politik" has a deluge of guitar, fitting the LOUDquietLOUD thing. "The Scientist," literate and charming, is based on the combination of a George Harrison song and Nathaniel Hawthorne short story.
The record isn't great. The production is a little thin and the tail end of the record is repetitive. Still, it's often shit upon and I don't think that's fair.