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God Put a Smile upon Your Face

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"God Put a Smile upon Your Face"
GodPutASmileUponYourFace.jpg
Single by Coldplay
from the album A Rush of Blood to the Head
B-side"Murder"
Released14 July 2003 (2003-07-14) (Canada, US)
Genre
Length4:58
LabelParlophone
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
Coldplay singles chronology
"Clocks"
(2003)
"God Put a Smile upon Your Face"
(2003)
"Moses"
(2003)
Music video
"God Put a Smile upon Your Face" on YouTube

"God Put a Smile upon Your Face" is a song by British rock band Coldplay. It was written by all members of the band for their second studio album, A Rush of Blood to the Head (2002). The song is built around prominent acoustic and electric guitar riffs with accompanying up-tempo drumming. The song was released on 14 July 2003 as the fourth and final single from the album.

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 reached only number 100 in the UK Singles Chart.

Background[edit]

Coldplay vocalist Chris Martin said, about the writing of the song, "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 before building 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 riff 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]

Music video[edit]

The music video, released in October 2003,[22] is shot in black-and-white and has a narrative theme. The video is directed by Jamie Thraves, who had previously directed the band's third video for "The Scientist".[12][23]

The video intercuts footage of the band performing the song with the story of a businessman (played by actor Paddy Considine), who is walking when he bumps into a mysterious barefooted stranger. As the businessman continues walking, he drops his briefcase, and when he attempts to pick it up, he is shocked when his hand goes through it. After eventually managing to pick up the briefcase, he walks into a restaurant to have a meal with his colleagues, and sits looking uneasy while they enjoy themselves. During the meal, a glass of water falls through the businessman's hand and shatters on the floor, much to the amusement of his colleagues. Humiliated, the businessman quickly goes to the bathroom, looks in the mirror, and is horrified to watch his hands disappear. Placing the spaces where his hands were in his pockets, he rushes out of the restaurant, leaving his briefcase behind, as his colleagues call after him. The businessman keeps running until his feet disappear, causing him to collapse onto a mattress in an alleyway. The businessman writhes in horror as the rest of him disappears, leaving only his empty suit.

Personnel[edit]

Track listing[edit]

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

Charts[edit]

Chart (2003) Peak
position
Australia (ARIA)[24] 43
Italy (FIMI)[25] 46
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[26] 38
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[27] 65
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[28] 35
Poland (LP3)[29] 3
UK Singles (OCC)[30] 100
UK Rock and Metal (OCC)[31] 12
US Adult Alternative Songs (Billboard)[32] 15

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 (PDF) on 8 April 2008. Retrieved 31 August 2008.
  3. ^ Jenkins, Will (8 September 2002). "Coldplay Interview". Crud Magazine. Archived from the original on 20 December 2003. Retrieved 2 September 2008.
  4. ^ Chonin, Neva (20 August 2002). "Coldplay opens up vast yet intimate world". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 3 September 2008.
  5. ^ "Coldplay — A Rush Of Blood To The Head Review". Sputnik Music. Retrieved 3 September 2008.
  6. ^ Cheal, David (12 October 2006). "Perfect Playlist: Coldplay". The Daily Telegraph: 030.
  7. ^ "God Put a Smile Upon Your Face Lyrics". MTV. Retrieved 3 September 2008.
  8. ^ Kot, Greg (20 September 2002). "A variety plate of upcoming shows". Chicago Tribune: 3.
  9. ^ Kaufman, Gil (10 August 2005). "Coldplay Dazzle Crowd With Blinding Lights And Dorky Dancing". MTV. Retrieved 3 September 2008.
  10. ^ a b c d e f "Coldplay Ezine: Issue 9" (PDF). Coldplay.com. July 2003. p. 2. Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 February 2007. Retrieved 17 September 2008.
  11. ^ "Coldplay, hot band". Los Angeles Times. The Age. 12 July 2003. Retrieved 17 September 2008.
  12. ^ a b c d e "Coldplay E-Zine: Issue 10" (PDF). Coldplay.com. Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 31 August 2008.
  13. ^ "Coldplay to release singles boxed set". Music Week. 1 February 2007. Retrieved 3 September 2008.
  14. ^ Sheffield, Rob (26 August 2002). "Coldplay: A Rush Of Blood To The Head Review". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 19 June 2008. Retrieved 31 August 2008.
  15. ^ Begrand, Adrien (6 September 2002). "Coldplay: A Rush of Blood to the Head". PopMatters. Retrieved 31 August 2008.
  16. ^ Kessler, Ted (22 August 2002). "Coldplay: A Rush Of Blood To The Head Review". NME. Retrieved 31 August 2008.
  17. ^ Anderman, Joan (19 November 2003). "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. Archived from the original on 14 June 2008. Retrieved 13 June 2008.
  19. ^ Sinclair, David (16 February 2008). "Mark Ronson live reviews". The Times. London. Retrieved 5 September 2008.
  20. ^ Cantiello, Jim (21 June 2007). "DJ Mark Ronson Compiles His Versions Of Songs". MTV News. Retrieved 5 September 2008.
  21. ^ Green, Thomas H. (25 February 2008). "Party time with Mark Ronson". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 5 September 2008.
  22. ^ "Coldplay - "God Put a Smile upon Your Face"". Mvdbase.com. Retrieved 4 September 2008.
  23. ^ MTV News staff report (15 July 2003). "For The Record: Quick News On P. Diddy And Hammer, Ja Rule, White Stripes, Coldplay, Joe Strummer, Shakira & More". MTV News. Retrieved 5 September 2008.
  24. ^ "Australian-charts.com – Coldplay – God Put a Smile upon Your Face". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved 1 February 2015.
  25. ^ "Italiancharts.com – Coldplay – God Put a Smile upon Your Face". Top Digital Download. Retrieved 1 February 2015.
  26. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 31, 2003" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40 Retrieved 4 August 2020.
  27. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Coldplay – God Put a Smile upon Your Face" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 1 February 2015.
  28. ^ "Charts.nz – Coldplay – God Put a Smile upon Your Face". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 1 February 2015.
  29. ^ "Notowanie nr1127" (in Polish). LP3. 5 September 2003. Retrieved 22 March 2019.
  30. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 23 December 2015.
  31. ^ "Official Rock & Metal Singles Chart Top 40". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 4 August 2020.
  32. ^ "Coldplay Chart History (Adult Alternative Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved 9 January 2018.

External links[edit]