Coldplay's second album is possibly 2002's best rock album. But I gave it a 4 anyway.
Coldplay doesn't deserve to be put on a pedastal yet, based on some 2 years worth of albums. Of course they've been around longer; however, they've only bothered with two full-length albums.
Listening to Rush of Blood is like a feeling of deja vu: the band hasn't improved by leaps and bounds over their sound from Parachutes; however, the name of this album's game is consistency and maturity.
Parachutes hit the listener with longings and desires (title track, Yellow, etc.) conveyed by undeveloped lyrics and basic musical sound. Rush of Blood is somewhat similar, but only to the casual listener. Martin has improved as a songwriter (check out The Scientist, Politik and God Put a Smile on My Face), and the band has more of the ambient beauty that endeared them to us the first time around (Amsterdam, Warning Sign, Clocks).
However, they're not the godsend many people will have you believe.
While you listen to this album, make sure to avoid confusing the band's talent with "the most beautiful compositions of our time." The music sounds great, yes, but - to quote many Coldplay fans - they're no Radiohead. Yorke's band seems to thrive off experimentation, while Martin's goes along with a tried-and-true formula on their sophomore effort. It seems too many people get hung up in the bathos the album may inspire within.
Grab Rush of Blood if you liked Parachutes or you're in love with the two singles--it'll be worth your time and money. However, don't expect anything out of this world from this album. The music is indeed beautiful, but not the epic orchestrations other reviewers will have you believe. They're not there yet.