Off-Key with Eric D.

Eric D'Orazio

Since day one, Coldplay has been drawing comparisons to Radiohead, and rightly so. The band started its major label career by winning a Radiohead sound-alike contest, and its independent EPs were reflective of the band’s earlier work. Even the 2000 debut album, “Parachutes,” was like a compilation of Radiohead’s later, more subliminal albums. However, with the release of the bands sophomore effort, “A Rush Of Blood To The Head,” Coldplay has procured a sound all its own, with a message just as unique.

As it goes with many albums nowadays, the best material on Coldplay’s new record lies within its first few songs. To put it lightly, “Politik,” the first track, is an all-encompassing, awe-inspiring piece of musical genius that almost perfectly balances the intrinsic angst of alternative and the lighthearted melancholy of Britpop. The song’s lyrics, like its title, are of an obvious political nature. Its driving chorus of “open up your eyes” seems to be a call towards finding global injustice and putting an end to it. Combined this with the fact that Coldplay’s memebers have donated to fair trade and evironmental charities and the song’s potential comes fruition.

The next piece of sonic brilliance on the album is its second song and first single, “In My Place.” Obviously, this is the huge international smash that has given the album a good start on the charts, as well as garnering enough airplay to make the average pop-star well nauseated. Yet, the song is actually much more than that. It is a truly deep love song, remaining pensive and moving, both physically and emotionally. Its lyrics deal with longing for a lost love and waiting forever for its return. Like “Yellow,” Coldplay’s debut single, “In My Place” utilizes a simple, yet powerful, guitar hook that enthralls the listener and encourages thoughts upon numerous proverbial questions, such as those touched upon in the song itself.

Another amorous adventure can be found in the album’s fourth track, “The Scientist.” Unlike most of the other affectionate songs on the record, “The Scientist” speaks of love as if it were a science. It deals with numbers and figures through time spent together, and the lack of progress that leads towards a break-up. In truth, it sends the message that if love were a science, then we would be the scientists. To add to the song’s emotional element, the band uses a buildup of instruments, culminating in a spectacular outburst of musicianship and harmony, allowing the song an eminence that few others hold.

Over the years, Coldplay has come a long way. Not only has the band survived the faceless fodder of the long-dwindling Britpop genre, but they have revamped it to be more sensitive and in-tune with real issues. Coldplay has also managed to release a modern day classic with its debut album and four subsequent hit singles. However, the band’s greatest accomplishment is “A Rush Of Blood To The Head.” With this album, Coldplay overcomes the dreaded “sophomore slump” and produced an effort that is, in every way possible, stronger than the last. Having released this new classic and found its own voice, it is quite apparent that Coldplay is on fire.