Nostalgia Tracks: How I Found Solace Within Desperation on Coldplay’s “Amsterdam”

Coldplay © 2002
Coldplay © 2002
Released back in 2003, Coldplay’s groundbreaking sophomore album ‘A Rush of Blood to the Head’ concludes with a message of hope on “Amsterdam” – a song reminding us that this, too, shall pass.
Stream: “Amsterdam” – Coldplay

Back in the day, I would rummage through my parent’s CD and cassette collection, trying to find the next best thing to listen to.

Whether it be some of the timeless classics they hoarded in their college days, such as Steely Dan, Bob Seger, and Linda Ronstadt, or some of the recent, more contemporary finds they would compulsively purchase like The Radio Dept, Norah Jones, and Coldplay. Out of all the albums in their extensive collection, the one that stuck out the most was Coldplay’s second album in 2003, A Rush of Blood to the Head.

A Rush of Blood to the Head
A Rush of Blood to the Head

The entire album embodies a variety of emotions and blends seamlessly together while telling sentimental stories of heartbreak and lust, and even has slight political undertones. “Amsterdam” is the final song and stands out due to the melancholy piano chords and captivating lyricism that transports the listener to a world of introspection. From the first listen, the song leaves a lasting impression as the record ends and becomes a cherished piece of music that I and others hold near and dear to our hearts.

Come on, oh my star is fading. And I swerve out of control. If I, if I’d only waited. I’d not be stuck here in this hole.

Throughout the song, the narrator engages in an internal dialogue about feeling hopeless and desperate to find significance in life. The emotions oscillate between different states of mind, one being a sense of turmoil and the other having this determination to push forward and not give up.

But time is on your side. It’s on your side now. Not pushing you down and all around, it’s no cause for concern.”

This continues until the bridge enters with a slight burst of bright piano chords, anticipating the build-up to the finale. It feels like you finally arrived at a crossroads, unsure which direction to head towards, but your mind starts racing back and forth until suddenly you are in a free fall, grasping for something to catch you.

Stuck on the end of this ball and chain and I’m on my way back down again. Stood on a bridge, tied to a noose, sick to the stomach. You can say what you mean, but it won’t change a thing. I’m sick of the secrets. Stood on the edge, tied to a noose, you came along, and you cut me loose.”/p>

Growing up in a small-ish town in upstate New York was challenging at best, especially feeling like I was “different” at an early age.

I started to have this sensation that a target was on my back when I finally started to express comfort in my sexuality, style, and interests. The one thing I could always rely on to shut out society was popping on my headphones attached to my cherry red Sony-D-EJ360 CD player and cranking the volume up with whatever music catered to how I felt at the moment.

Coldplay was a standout because they had a collection of songs with an array of emotions, and no matter which track I selected, it was a real emotion I yearned to release. Lead singer Chris Martin possesses a uniquely elegant voice that matches the sounds he produces through a piano or guitar. You can sense the vulnerability in his lyrics, which depict themes of love or grief but almost always contain an underlying inspirational message that always hits home.

Coldplay © 2002
Coldplay © 2002

As time passed, I learned that the people surrounding us are the ones who dissipate all the troubles, hate, and tedious crap we deal with daily.

They take the reins and lead us in a direction of enlightenment. Waiting becomes the most challenging part, but you discover there is so much more in the world worth fighting for. The feeling of that edge is terrifying, but meeting past and future friends or cultivating a community with like-minded individuals always lifts you back on your feet.

“Amsterdam” resonates with me so vividly because I always felt it at the center of my soul. It felt like the song was written for me when I felt miserable and wanted to give up. It is a true spectacle of simplistic songwriting with a powerful message of ignoring your inner despair and buckling your seatbelt on the ride called life.

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Stream: “Amsterdam” – Coldplay

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A Rush of Blood to the Head

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