AROBTTH
REVIEWS

Rolling Stone 4/5 stars

Summary:liked it, but rather ignorant review and was disssing Parachutes at the same time

Coldplay arrived in 2000 with the smash power ballad "Yellow," an instant classic of trembling guitar ripples, ridiculous stargazing lyrics, anthemic choruses and the forlorn vocals of Chris Martin. The guy's voice sounded like a puppy kicked down a flight of stairs, one step at a time, and then kicked back up the flight of stairs. But even as he bravely flirted with outright dippiness ("Look at the stars/Look how they shine for you" -- egads), his heartfelt yodel won you over. Like similar-minded U.K. bands such as Travis and Starsailor, Coldplay took the basic sound of Radiohead and pumped it full of emotion, using those loud-quiet-loud guitar textures to soothe and console you, rather than to alienate your jangled nerves. Sweet boys, really. Martin isn't your typical rock star, either -- he proudly admits he doesn't drink (dislikes the taste) and didn't start having sex until after he'd written his first hit. But then, "Yellow" isn't a very rock & roll color, is it? Sheila E. had a great song called "Yellow," but aside from a submarine here or an electrical banana there, rockers usually think it's too boring to even sing about. Coldplay might be out of step with rock orthodoxy, but their sheer conviction has made them a global sensation.

Coldplay's debut, Parachutes, was perhaps too mellow for its own good, too sedate in its good-vibes homogeneity to stand up to repeated listens. But A Rush of Blood to the Head is a nervier, edgier, thoroughly surprising album. The guitars are still full of Pink Floyd, but the band has figured out how to let loose and rock out, something Floyd never learned. The same influences are here: the Radiohead of The Bends and OK Compute, the U2 of October and War, the Smiths of The Queen Is Dead. But where Parachutes was the clumsy diary of a high-strung kid, A Rush of Blood sounds more like a band with the confidence to test its own limits. Jonny Buckland comes into his own as a guitar hero, while Martin has grown gratifyingly adult in his sobs and growls. He's still got plenty of angst to vent, though, wailing about death ("Amsterdam"), war ("A Rush of Blood to the Head") and lost love (damn near everything).

"God Put a Smile Upon Your Face" is the slinkiest and best thing Coldplay have ever done -- while the acoustic-guitar figure may be a little too transparently based on Roxy Music's "Out of the Blue," the band whips it into a head-spinning trip of aggressively strummed paranoid folk rock. The folkie shuffle "Green Eyes" sounds like hippie Christian singalong time, but it works, while the fantastic piano ballad "The Scientist" is an overt sequel to "Yellow" ("Let's go back to the star")(its start dumbass) with a cataclysmic falsetto finale that could raise every hair on the back of your neck. Buckland shines in excellent psychedelic rockers such as "A Whisper," "Clocks" and "Daylight." When you're not in the mood, Coldplay are still too mellow: In the soggier songs, such as the unfortunate first single, "In My Place," the choked vocals can make Coldplay sound like nothing more than a trans-Atlantic breed of Counting Crow. But with A Rush of Blood, Coldplay do more than fulfill the promise of "Yellow" -- they surpass everything they've done up to this point, making first-rate guitar rock with some real emotional protein on its bones.

 

Entertainment Weekly Grade: A

Summary:Smart insiteful review

The dramatization of the old Manchester indie rock and rave scene in ''24 Hour Party People'' is an occasionally enlightening slice of alt-rock nostalgia. It also offers a few educational lessons on England's newest hitmakers. Back then, as the movie demonstrates, the throbbing, intense sonics of the bands mattered. But so did the personalities, be they Joy Division's pale-rider frontman, Ian Curtis, or Happy Mondays' own 24-hour party animal, Shaun Ryder. They may have been ''new wave,'' or whatever phrase we used at the time, but they were also rock stars in the old-fashioned, attention-getting sense.

Manchester's days as a hugely influential music community may be over, but guitar-wielding U.K. bands aren't; in the last few years, one boat after another loaded with musicians has docked on our shores. But as striking as some of that music has been, from the ingenious quirks of Clinic to the six-string symphonics of Doves, you'd be hard-pressed to name a single band member or picture one of their faces. Call it Oasis Syndrome: Act like an overbearing, entitled pop star, and you risk alienating as many people as you attract, so best to keep a low profile. The current, post-Oasis bands, taking a cue from the Gallagher brothers' ascent and crash, seem to purposefully refrain from putting themselves out there. They'd much prefer to hide behind waves of enveloping sound, thank you very much, as if the idea of rock conquering all were just a distant, baffling memory.

Coldplay appeared to be part of this trend when ''Parachutes'' arrived two years back. Sober, mildly rocking university types with a singer who was a sucker for his own falsetto, they were immediately labeled Radiohead Lite, and with good reason. But didn't their ''Yellow'' and ''Trouble'' age better than most of Radiohead's meandering ''Amnesiac''? Wasn't Coldplay's lead singer, Chris Martin, in some ways a cut above his peers in the charisma department, a sort of rock Rupert Everett? And could Coldplay actually have more to offer than some of their competitors?

The answer to all three questions is yes, and the proof lies in A Rush of Blood to the Head. Second albums are problematic, never more so than when their predecessors are sleeper sensations. But as sophomore discs go, ''A Rush of Blood'' is strikingly wonderful, if not immediately striking. If one were to choose a ''Parachutes'' track as a starting point, it wouldn't be the blaring riff from ''Yellow'' but the mel-ancholic vibe of ''Trouble.'' The songs are built on gentle, stately pianos and elementary guitar patterns. Even when tempos accelerate, as in the tribal stomp of ''Politik,'' a dewy-eyed appeal to some higher power to save us, the music remains restrained and mournful.

And for once, there's nothing wrong with that. Displaying a cohesion rarely heard in albums these days, ''A Rush of Blood'' bobs from one majestic little high to another. Songs like ''In My Place'' and ''Warning Sign'' marry lyrics imbued with deep regret and mistakes (''...You were an island / And I passed you by'' in the touching latter song) with lyrical melodies and guitar hooks that twinkle and sparkle. (Momentary sunniness is provided by the fairly jaunty ''Green Eyes,'' about a relationship that actually seems to have stuck.) At a time when so many bands, Brit or American, are intent on cramming as many genres as possible into each song, it's a relief to hear music that revels in the joys of a simple, graceful melody. The overall effect is tuneful and hypnotic -- ambitious, but in the sneakiest, quietest way.

Using his falsetto to sublime effect, Martin never overdoes it or turns cloying, an accomplishment in itself. Much like ''Parachutes,'' the new album still has plenty of outside reference points: ''Clocks'' has a rushing-waterfall piano straight off a Moby album, while ''A Whisper'' delves into a space-rock artiness reminiscent of a '60s hippie-flick soundtrack. But Coldplay manage to pull off an even grander gambit: In their hands, the new low-profile Brit rock actually has a profile.

Blender 4/5

Summary:Another good review

 

People Magazine

Bottom Line: No sophomore slump for these lads

Fame is treating Coldplay well: gigs opening for U2, celebrity fans like Gwyneth Paltrow and a Grammy for best alternative music album for the Brit quartet's shimmering 2000 debut, Parachutes. Luckily, as this textured, understated follow-up demonstrates, success doesn't seem to have gone to the heads of former University College London chums Chris Martin, Will Champion, Guy Berryman and Jonny Buckland.

Toning down the Radiohead-iness, Coldplay creates moments of absolute poetry on Rush, blending moody guitars and bass, subtle percussion and emphatic keyboards on tightly wrought dissections of political and personal disasters. "I'm going to buy a gun and start a war/ If you can tell me something worth fighting for," frontman Martin declares on the rueful title track. Elsewhere, on the heartbreaking, piano-driven ballad "The Scientist," Martin grieves for a lost love in his most mournful tenor: "Tell me you love me/ Come back and haunt me/ Oh and I rush to the start." His pain is pure listening pleasure.

Bottom Line: No sophomore slump for these lads

NME Magazine 9/10 stars

"Mature" Follow-up More Than Lives up to Bestselling Debut

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