God Put a Smile upon Your Face

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"God Put a Smile upon Your Face"
Single by Coldplay
from the album A Rush of Blood to the Head
B-side "Murder"
Released 14 July 2003 (Canada, EU)
Format CD
Genre Alternative rock, folk rock[1]
Length 4:58
Label Parlophone
Writer(s) Guy Berryman, Jonny Buckland, Will Champion, Chris Martin
Producer(s) Ken Nelson, Coldplay
Coldplay singles chronology
"Clocks"
(2002)
"God Put a Smile upon Your Face"
(2003)
"Moses"
(2003)
Audio sample
file info · help

"God Put a Smile upon Your Face" is a song by British alternative rock band Coldplay. It was written by all members of the band for their second album, A Rush of Blood to the Head. The song is built around an acoustic and electric guitar sound, that accompanies it with uptempo drumming. The song was released in 14 July 2003 as the fourth single from A Rush of Blood to the Head.

Regional singles were released for Canada, Europe, Australia, and an enhanced version for Taiwan. Promo singles were released for the United Kingdom and United States. Since only promo copies were released, the single was only able to chart at number 100 in the UK.

Background[edit]

When writing "God Put a Smile upon Your Face" Coldplay vocalist Chris Martin said: "That came out of playing live and wanting to have something with a bit more bounce. We were really getting into things like PJ Harvey and Muse – things with a bit more energy."[2]

When asked about the development of the song, during a track-by-track reveal, bassist Guy Berryman said:

When we came to record it in the studio we struggled because there was something just not quite right about it and I wasn't happy about where we'd left it and where we were happy to leave it and we couldn't put our finger on what it was and so it was a really nice day one day, me and Chris were just trying, I was actually just trying to record bass at the time and me and Chris were just sitting down trying to brainstorm it and work out what was wrong and so I started trying to just do a few different bass lines and stuff. Between the two of us we came up with just this kind of groove, which stays on the same note as opposed to change, it's quite technical but it kind of added a bit of bounce to the song and it made it roll along in a much more fluid way. It was a bit mechanical before and it's just interesting how something small like that can really change the whole vibe of a song. It was just nice because from there on it was one of our favourite tracks and it almost didn't get on the record but it's now one of our favourite tracks.[3]

Composition[edit]

The song features an acoustic and electric guitar sound. The song starts with a hushed acoustic ballad, the song then builds into a roar of an electric guitar and soaring with vocals.[4] The song also includes an uptempo metronomic drumming rhythm.[5][6]

The first line of the third verse allude to a definitive moment with the cryptic reference to God: "Now when you work it out, I'm worse than you/Yeah, when you work it out I wanted to/Now, when you work out where to draw the line/Your guess is as good as mine."[7] Greg Kot of the Chicago Tribune commented that the lyric "God gave you style and gave you grace," Martin sings as if "cataloguing the attributes he only wishes he had".[8] When the song is performed live, guitarist Jonny Buckland begins a long ripping off guitar riffs while Chris Martin plays an acoustic guitar.[9]

Release[edit]

Coldplay performing "God Put a Smile upon Your Face" during their 2005 Twisted Logic Tour

Coldplay released "God Put a Smile upon Your Face" in the UK on 7 July 2003.[10] This was followed with releases in the US and Canada on 14 July 2003.[10] The song was later released on 21 July 2003 in Australia and Taiwan.[10][11] When the song was released, it featured the B-side "Murder".[12][13] The single cover features bassist Guy Berryman, art-directed by Sølve Sundsbø.[10][12] Regional singles were released for Canada, Europe, Australia, and an enhanced version for Taiwan.[10][12] Promotional singles were released in the UK and US.[10][12]

Reception[edit]

Critics were positive towards the song. In the Rolling Stone review of the album, critic Rob Sheffield wrote: "'God Put a Smile Upon Your Face' is the slinkiest and best thing Coldplay have ever done."[14] Adrien Begrand of PopMatters wrote: "Buckland's lead fills highlight the wondrous 'God Put a Smile on Your Face', as the song's chorus reaches heights that rival those of their fellow countrymen Doves."[15] Ted Kessler of NME wrote: "Over a pounding garage tattoo Martin poses a deep, mortality-based teaser ('where do we go from here?'), asserts some self-belief ('God gave me style, God gave me grace') and then hits upon the bottom line as the song's mood suddenly improves with another fat and glorious chorus: 'Yeah, when you work it out I'm the same as you....your guess is as good as mine.'"[16]

"God Put a Smile upon Your Face" was featured in the band's live album, Live 2003.[17] The song is available on Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock video game as a downloadable song. The game also includes other Coldplay songs such as "Yellow" and "Violet Hill".[18] Plan B sampled the track on his 2007 mixtape Paint it Blacker. The song was also covered by Mark Ronson on his album Version,[19][20] which he performed live with Adele at the 2008 Brit Awards.[21]

The song was also covered by Matt Jorgensen +451 on their album Hope release on Origin Records.

Music video[edit]

The music video was released in October 2003,[22] and features a narrative theme. The video opens in a black-and-white feature, then intercuts a performance of the band footage with the story of a businessman who is humiliated and horrified to find that he is gradually disappearing after bumping into a mysterious stranger with no shoes. The businessman is played by actor Paddy Considine. The band collaborated once more with director Jamie Thraves, who previously directed the band's third video "The Scientist".[12][23]

Track listing[edit]

CD Single
No. Title Length
1. "God Put a Smile upon Your Face" (Live) 4:58
2. "Murder" (Live) 5:36
Australian CD Single
No. Title Length
1. "God Put a Smile upon Your Face" (Live) 4:58
2. "Murder" (Live) 5:36
3. "Politik" (Live) 6:44
4. "Lips Like Sugar" (Live) 4:52

Charts[edit]

Chart (2003) Peak
Position
Australian Singles Chart 43
Dutch Top 40 38
New Zealand Singles Chart 35
Polish Singles Chart[24] 3

See also[edit]


References[edit]

  1. ^ Sheffield, Rob (26 August 2002). "Coldplay - A Rush Of Blood To The Head". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 7 April 2014. 
  2. ^ "Coldplay E-Zine: Issue 6" (PDF). Coldplay.com. Archived from the original on 8 April 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-31. 
  3. ^ Jenkins, Will (2002-09-08). "Coldplay Interview". Crud Magazine. Retrieved 2008-09-02. [dead link]
  4. ^ Chonin, Neva (2002-08-20). "Coldplay opens up vast yet intimate world". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2008-09-03. 
  5. ^ "Coldplay — A Rush Of Blood To The Head Review". Sputnik Music. Retrieved 2008-09-03. 
  6. ^ Cheal, David (2006-10-12). "Perfect Playlist: Coldplay". The Daily Telegraph: 030. 
  7. ^ "God Put a Smile Upon Your Face Lyrics". MTV. Retrieved 2008-09-03. 
  8. ^ Kot, Greg (2002-09-20). "A variety plate of upcoming shows". Chicago Tribune: 3. 
  9. ^ Kaufman, Gil (2005-08-10). "Coldplay Dazzle Crowd With Blinding Lights And Dorky Dancing". MTV. Retrieved 2008-09-03. 
  10. ^ a b c d e f "Coldplay Ezine: Issue 9" (PDF). Coldplay.com. July 2003. p. 2. Archived from the original on 3 February 2007. Retrieved 2008-09-17. 
  11. ^ "Coldplay, hot band". Los Angeles Times (The Age). 2003-07-12. Retrieved 2008-09-17. 
  12. ^ a b c d e "Coldplay E-Zine: Issue 10" (PDF). Coldplay.com. Archived from the original on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 2008-08-31. 
  13. ^ "Coldplay to release singles boxed set". Music Week. 2007-02-01. Retrieved 2008-09-03. 
  14. ^ Sheffield, Rob (2002-08-26). "Coldplay: A Rush Of Blood To The Head Review". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 19 June 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-31. 
  15. ^ Begrand, Adrien (2002-09-06). "Coldplay: A Rush of Blood to the Head". PopMatters. Retrieved 2008-08-31. 
  16. ^ Kessler, Ted (2002-08-22). "Coldplay: A Rush Of Blood To The Head Review". NME. Retrieved 2008-08-31. 
  17. ^ Anderman, Joan (2003-11-19). "Coldplay doesn't let passion get lost in popularity - Coldplay tries to pull off being popular, but not middle of the road". Chicago Tribune: 3. 
  18. ^ Brudvig, Erik (13 June 2008). "Coldplay gets Emotional with Guitar Hero 3". IGN Xbox360. News Corporation. Retrieved 2008-06-13. 
  19. ^ Sinclair, David (2008-02-16). "Mark Ronson live reviews". The Times. London. Retrieved 2008-09-05. 
  20. ^ Cantiello, Jim (2007-06-21). "DJ Mark Ronson Compiles His Versions Of Songs". MTV News. Retrieved 2008-09-05. 
  21. ^ Green, Thomas H. (2008-02-25). "Party time with Mark Ronson". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2008-09-05. 
  22. ^ "Coldplay - "God Put a Smile upon Your Face"". Mvdbase.com. Retrieved 2008-09-04. 
  23. ^ MTV News staff report (2003-07-15). "For The Record: Quick News On P. Diddy And Hammer, Ja Rule, White Stripes, Coldplay, Joe Strummer, Shakira & More". MTV News. Retrieved 2008-09-05. 
  24. ^ "Polish Singles Chart |". 

External links[edit]