I must admit, after hearing some of the great songs from A RUSH OF BLOOD TO THE HEAD, I didn't totally warm up to PARACHUTES. The first time I listened to it, it seemed like a good freshman effort, but nothing more. RUSH seemed more ambitious and more memorable overall. And yet, after a while, PARACHUTES started to grow on me. Sure, all its songs are, in a way, love songs, but they are all done in a style that is totally and unmistakably Coldplay---certainly the yearning vocals of Chris Martin is not something you'll hear in other love songs. That, and the lyrics make an admirable attempt to be something much more than the usual "love song," to touch on things more universal than a man's unrequited love. From the line "We live in a beautiful world" in the opening song "Don't Panic" to the repeated impassioned cries of "Everything's Not Lost," this is music that touches the heart and soul in a way more pop-packaged, audience-friendly music hardly attempt to do.
Despite the fact that I gave 4 stars to A RUSH OF BLOOD TO THE HEAD, I still believe it to be a better album that PARACHUTES, simply because its great songs---its first six tracks, especially---trump almost anything on this first effort of theirs. But PARACHUTES is admittedly more consistent in quality, and has some memorable songs of its own (my personal favorites are "Trouble" and "Everything's Not Lost," and of course almost everyone knows "Yellow"). As such, I believe it deserves the highest rating. May Coldplay continue to rock on with its unique musical style! Recommended.