"In my place, in my place were lines that I couldn't change … I was lost, I was lost, crossed lines I shouldn't have crossed … I was scared, I was scared, tired and under–prepared, but I'll wait for it/If you go, if you go and leave me down here on my own, then I'll wait for you."
— from "In My Place"

Coldplay's shimmering sophomore effort (a Grammy winner for Best Alternative Music album) is one of those projects that maddeningly blurs many lines, not just between pop and art, but also between songs of earthly love and spiritual yearning. The average listener will surely lean to the former interpretation because of the vagueness of the lyrics, but as with the music of Lifehouse, there seems to be much more at stake here than a simple unrequited crush.

The search for purpose, meaning, and (above all) love, is a recurring theme set–up by the majestic "Politik" — "Give me strength, reserve control/Give me heart and give me soul … but give me love over this." The first radio single, "In My Place" (cited above), is as honest a confessional as any modern worship song or Psalm. The second single, "Clocks," similarly expresses a prodigal's humility and longing to return home — "Lights go out and I can't be saved/Tides that I tried to swim against/Have brought me down upon my knees/Oh, I beg, I beg and plead." The chorus of the song is simply "You are" and the bridge "Nothing else compares."

Strangely enough, "God Put a Smile Upon Your Face" offers the album's most definitive and yet cryptic references to the Almighty: "Ah, when you work it out, I'm worse than you/Yeah, when you work it out I wanted to/Ah, when you work out where to draw the line/Your guess is as good as mine." Perhaps Chris Martin is singing about the fine line between sin and pleasure, stating that everyone is sinful and falls short and that there are no degrees. A few lines later, he sings of God's mercy: "Don't ever say you're on your way down/God gave you style and gave you grace/And put a smile upon your face."

According to various interviews and articles, Chris was raised in a Christian home — the son of a minister, in fact — but has since expressed bewilderment with people's interest in it. Yet A Rush of Blood to the Head is filled with little examples of contrition and redemption. The closing song, "Amsterdam," expresses depression and the state of mind of a man at the end of his rope — literally or figuratively, it's not entirely clear — but someone cuts him loose at the song's end. Is this freedom from depression, or does it refer to a deeper bondage? Much of A Rush of Blood to the Head is abstract enough to leave it open to interpretation, but the themes are just as applicable to matters of faith as they are to matters of the heart.

Unless specified clearly, we are not implying whether this artist is or is not a Christian. The views expressed are simply the author's. For a more complete description of our Glimpses of God articles, click here.