A Rush of Blood to the Head
The irony of Coldplay opening an album with a song called “Politik” is hopefully not lost on too many out there. Coldplay, the flagship of the second new wave of British guitar bands, has churned out another album of mid-tempo radio hits, a series of comfortable and mainly dull songs, mimicking the global smash of their debut release, Parachutes. But where that first album had some pretty grand moments stuck in — “Yellow,” “Shiver,” “Trouble,” and “Don’t Panic” — this time around there are only the generic and inconsequential stuff left.
Well, just about. First single out is “In My Place,” and it’s nothing but a slab of pure, perfect pop brilliance, a huge but modest track that deserves every top chart position it’s going to get. But that, frankly, is the exception. There are a few other relatively fine songs on here — “Politik” is one of them, “A Whisper” and the title track are others — but everything beyond that is mind-numbingly plain, the sound of a band in a rut, Coldplay-by-numbers, tired, insignificant, uninspired. You get the idea.
There are, admittedly, a couple of attempts to branch out on here — both “Daylight” and “A Whisper” see the band trying to add some new sounds and styles to the established strum-and-a-chorus formula. But there’s just no life to it, the attempts at broadening and opening up sound half-hearted and forced, as if the band would rather go back to what they know and what the radio programmers love.
It’s a shame, obviously, because Coldplay have so much potential and ability. Singer Chris Martin has a great and unassuming voice, while the band is both talented and restricted. But when both the songwriting and the playing seem tired and repetitive, when we get a band running on auto-pilot, when there is close to nothing of interest to be found on here, both Coldplay and its audience should probably consider moving on.
Capitol Records: http://www.capitolrecords.com