The band wrote Politik in the immediate wake of the September 11 attacks, moved by the atrocities of that day. Chris Martin described the band’s desire to write a song “where we just hit our instruments as loudly as possible”. Naturally, the track opens both the album and was the opening song (with an extended string intro) during the A Rush Of Blood To The Head tour.
Written at the end of the Parachutes recording sessions, In My Place could have made it onto the band’s first album, but they chose to save it for A Rush Of Blood To The Head instead. Chris Martin, mucking around on a pump organ, wrote a “sea shanty” tune which evolved into In My Place. The track was the most difficult to record with over a hundred versions done before the band were happy.
One of the earlier tracks written for the album, the song was originally titled Your Guess Is As Good As Mine (now a lyric in the chorus). After finishing the Parachutes tour (which was largely acoustic material), the band felt a desire to add a louder, bouncier song to their repertoire, and God Put A Smile Upon Your Face was born.
Chris Martin called The Scientist the turning point of the record. After listening to George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass, Chris tried to teach himself Harrison’s Isn’t It A Pity on an out of tune piano in Liverpool. The Scientist’s “lovely” chord sequence arrived instead. The piano and vocals were recorded soon after in Liverpool, while the guitar, bass and drums were recorded later. Chris’ favourite moment on the album is Jonny’s guitar line after the final chorus.
Written late in the album’s recording sessions, Clocks was almost left off the album entirely. Drummer Will Champion thought the song was “absolute rubbish”, but eventually warmed to it. Coldplay’s fifth member Phil Harvey championed its recording and inclusion on the album, and the band recorded it “very, very fast”. Chris Martin mentioned British band Muse as an inspiration.
Written during a productive writing and recording session in Liverpool (that also gave the band The Scientist), Daylight was recorded “really fast”. Chris Martin admitted he didn’t know where the track came from, but was “very lucky” to have it.
Chris Martin wrote Green Eyes about an American friend he met at a Dave Matthews concert in New Mexico, USA. According to Chris the track is a “silly song about a girl” and the song he now feels furthest away from on A Rush Of Blood To The Head.
Described as an “old song”, Chris Martin didn’t want Warning Sign to be included on the album (it was written during a bad time in his life) but was outvoted by his bandmates. It took guitarist Jonny Buckland more than a year to write a part for the song, and he eventually “wound up playing maracas on the recording”.
A Whisper was written in Liverpool in early 2002. The band wrote the track after deciding they needed a song in 3/4 timing. Coldplay considered it the album’s most likely b-side, but included it because of a “very nerdy, technical thing that we did with the synthesizer sound”. Despite a gap of twelve years, the band played A Whisper live for the second time in its history in 2014.
A homage to Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan and Hank Williams (the “great men” with guitars), Chris Martin wanted to “sing a song in a low key”. A Rush Of Blood To The Head took the longest time to write of any of the tracks, despite Chris calling it the simplest song on the album.
Written during one of the album’s first sessions, Amsterdam takes its title from the city in which it was composed. A relatively hassle-free track, it came together “very quickly” according to guitarist Jonny Buckland. Despite the title, Amsterdam’s powerful ending was actually written in Iceland.
After the release of Parachutes and a global tour, Coldplay returned to the studio to write and record their second album, 2002’s A Rush Of Blood To The Head. The live experience helped shape the album, the band writing heavier and more anthemic tunes. Dissatisfaction with early recording sessions reunited the band with producer Ken Nelson in Liverpool, where tracks were discarded and a flurry of inspiration gave birth to some of the album’s biggest songs.