Some time in 2004, on a whim, I bought Coldplay’s album A Rush of Blood to the Head. I don’t think I had heard a single song from their first album, Parachutes – “Yellow,” “Don’t Panic,” “Shiver,” whatever – and probably the only song I had heard from A Rush is the Grammy-winning song “Clocks” (and even with that, I’m not sure).
Simply put, I loved it. With the exception of, oddly enough, two of the first three songs (I’m just not a fan of “Politik” or “God Put a Smile Upon Your Face”), it’s a really fantastic album and on the whole one of my favorites. A couple of years later (and a year after it was released), I borrowed (and borrowed, and borrowed…) X&Y from a local library, which as usual I greatly enjoyed. (Then, of course, Coldplay blew up the world with Viva La Vida or Death and all His Friends, which as usual I greatly enjoyed). Over the years, their sounds have changed – a lot of the songs on A Rush are small, which sort of continues in the Y-half of X&Y (which was divided into 6 ‘X’ songs, most of which [with the main exception of “What If”] seem larger, and 6 ‘Y’ songs the hidden “‘Til Kingdom Come” track, most of which [with the main exceptions of “Speed of Sound,” my second-least favorite Coldplay song, and “Twisted Logic”] are more intimate), but is really turned on its head in Viva La Vida. Frankly, I generally like the softer side of Coldplay, with a few exceptions, as will be seen in this Top 5, with the #5 spot being held by…
5. “The Hardest Part/Postcards from Far Away,” LeftRightLeftRightLeft
Now, this one’s kinda cheesy because (1) it’s two songs, and (2) it’s a live track (“The Hardest Part” comes from X&Y, “Postcards from Far Away” from the Prospekt’s March EP). Yet, it’s so ridiculously beautiful – a stripped-down version of “The Hardest Part” and “Postcards from Far Away,” a minute-long piano instrumental that sounds like a work from the 18th, rather than the 21st, Century. The ability to seamlessly combine these, furthermore, deserves some form of commendation.
4. “Fix You,” X&Y
This song I like largely because it begins piano and organ (or at least keyboard-made-to-sound-like-organ)-led, and then goes into a guitar-driven song, and is incredibly heartening.
3. “Green Eyes,” A Rush of Blood to the Head
“Green Eyes” has sort of grown on me in the past few months as I’ve been listening to A Rush more frequently. I originally didn’t think much of it, but it is a nice, little, underrated song.
2. “Violet Hill,” Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends
This is the antithesis to all of the songs on this list – it’s a rock song, to be sure, basically a song detailing a covert revolution, yet with a fairly soft-spoken ending. It was the first song to be released from the Viva La Vida album, so my love of the song may just be lack of new material for a long period of time, but I doubt that.
1. “The Scientist,” A Rush of Blood to the Head
The song that really made me a fan of the band, “The Scientist” is a plaintive song, much like “Fix You” beginning piano-driven and ending mostly led on guitar. It’s a fairly simple song (I was able to perform it, which shows how simple it is), but packs so much emotion. And the reverse-narraive music video was pretty cool, too.