A Rush of Blood to the Head

external image coldplay-a-rush-of-blood-to-the-head.jpg
By Coldplay

Year of Release: 2002
Record Label: Capitol, Parlophone
Producers: Coldplay and Ken Nelson
Genre: Alternative Rock

The album cover was taken from one of Sølve Sundsbø’s published designs. Chris Martin found the image in a fashion magazine Dazed and Confused and received permission from the artist to use the image as the cover art for A Rush of Blood to the Head.

Coldplay's website: http://www.coldplay.com/

The BandBand members (all songs written by band members):
(From left to right)
--Chris Martin: vocals, guitar, keyboard--Will Champion: drums--Guy Berryman: bass--Jon Buckland: guitarexternal image coldplay_1_2.jpg

Background (band):
Coldplay, the British alternative rock band, formed in 1997 at the University College London. The four members—Chris Martin, Jonny Buckland, Guy Berryman, and Will Champion—were all students at UCL and formed a band originally called “Starfish”. A year later, they took the suggestion of a local student and changed the name of the band to “Coldplay”. They established an Alternative Rock music style, taking much of their inspiration from bands like U2, Oasis, Radiohead, Jeff Buckley, and Travis.
Coldplay has a reputation for creating thoughtful and profound lyrics with underlying global or humanitarian messages. The band does not want to undermine the integrity of their lyrics and therefore has been cautious of how their music is advertised in the media. They have turned down multi-million dollar contracts from companies who wanted to use their music for product endorsements. They did, however, allow “Viva La Vida” to be featured in an iTunes Store commercial because it did not demean their music in any way; it only helped advertise the digital download of the song.
Coldplay is widely known for its activism in social and political causes. The band has continually donated 10 percent of their profit to charity. In addition, the band is a strong supporter of Amnesty International. Its lead vocalist, Chris Martin, is a huge proponent of fair trade. Chris has also been a supporter of Oxfam’s Make Trade Fair campaign, which lobbies against trade policies that are detrimental to developing countries. Chris has traveled with Oxfam to developing countries and wears a “Make Trade Fair” wristband during concerts and other public appearances.

Background (music):
Alternative Rock. Alternative Rock is a collective genre of several subgenres, including grunge, Britpop, gothic rock, and indie pop, that emerged in the 1980s. In the 1990s, the grunge and Britpop movements became increasingly popular and spawned the formation of many alternative rock bands.

Coldplay's music is fairly recent and therefore its influence on future artists and bands is unknown. However, the band has been influenced by U2, Jeff Buckley, Echo and the Bunnymen, Radiohead, and Travis.

Background (album):
After the September 11 attacks in the US, the band began recording the album in London. The tumultuous events that occurred in the US gave them inspiration for their new music: "The new songs are reflective of new attitudes. [They tell listeners] not to be frightened. Anybody can achieve whatever they want to.” They eventually relocated to Liverpool, where the recording of their first album Parachutes was held. Their first recorded song was “In My Place” which spawned the rest of the album.

Initially, the band completed the album in June of 2002. But they were not satisfied with its outcome and therefore chose to postpone the release of the album. They wanted to make sure that the songs of their new album were innovative and that the collective whole sounded different from their previous album Parachutes.
The album title “A Rush of Blood to the Head” means “doing something on impulse”; the album it is about urgency and emphasizes the value of time.

Technical detail:
The album A Rush of Blood to the Head was produced by Ken Nelson and Coldplay. Ken Nelson had a preference for classical recording techniques, including the use of microphones on drums and pianos. This recording style emphasizes the placement of microphones to create ranges of sound and vibrancy. The album was recorded in stereo and released on a CD. It consists of ballads and acoustic songs, with a variation in instrumentals. There is extensive piano and guitar, along with percussion and strings.

Vital Statistics
The album was a huge accomplishment for Coldplay. Its hit singles include: “In My Place”, “The Scientist”, “Clocks”, and “God Put a Smile upon Your Face”. It deputed number one in the UK and placed number seven of the country’s 20 biggest selling albums. In the US, the album deputed at number five with over 4,650,000 copies sold. The album won two Grammy Awards in 2002 for Best Alternative Music album and Best Rock Performance by group for “In My Place”. A year later, the album won a Grammy Away for Record of the Year for “Clocks”. The album surpassed Coldplay’s first album Parachutes in its overall commercial success and acclaim.

Track List
In My Place
God Put a Smile Upon Your Face
Scientist, The
Green Eyes
Warning Sign
Whisper, A
Rush of Blood to the Head, A



noun, often capitalized
politics based on practical and material factors rather than on theoretical or ethical objectives

“Politik”, the opening track of the album, is a passionate song with a personal and global message. The song may be about love and finding meaning in relationships, or about politics and our place in the world, as in our obligation to care for ourselves and humanity. The song was written after the September 11th terrorist attacks in the US, which served as an impetus for Coldplay’s global inspired lyrics. I believe that Coldplay is trying to reach out to its listeners about peace and stability, and challenge them to face hardships with strength and rationality. I think the underlying meaning of the song is the opposite of realpolitik, the term describing practical policies based on power and personal interests rather than ethical or idealistic concerns. I think that Coldplay is asking us to “open our eyes” and look at the world from an objective, peripheral viewpoint. The line “Tell me your politik” means share your vision of the world. This song also supports Coldplay’s humanitarian involvement in the Make Trade Fair campaign. The final stanza stresses love over war or hate: “Oh give me love over, love over, love over this…” The September 11th attacks, the economic turmoil in third world countries, war, crime and hatred itself should not only be dealt with, but conquered with love.

--“Clocks” (one of my favorite songs of the album)

“Clocks” is a leading single of the album. Chris Martin took inspiration from the band Muse when creating the cyclical piano riff. He wrote the song’s lyrics and the piano riff while A Rush of Blood to the Head was nearing completion. Initially, “Clocks” was intended to be worked on after the release of the album. However, in keeping with A Rush of Blood to the Head’s theme of urgency, the band postponed the release of the album and rushed to include “Clocks” to the compilation. The inclusion of “Clocks” for A Rush of Blood to the Head was an intelligent decision, for it received wide acclaim and won the 2003 Grammy for Record of the Year. Interestingly, when Chris Martin accepted the 2003 Grammy, he dedicated the song to the US presidential candidate John Kerry.

The extensive use of piano serves as an interesting variation from the extensive guitar use in “Green Eyes” and “God Put a Smile on Your Face”. The song is about love and the fragility of time. It has a very whimsical, dream-like sound with profound lyrics. The meaning behind the lyrics is not explicit which leaves it up to interpretation.

“Clocks” was the inspirational record for Coldplay’s third album X & Y.
----"The Scientist "----"In My Place"