Definitions

wearing a smile

God Put a Smile upon Your Face

"God Put a Smile upon Your Face" is a song by English 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 an uptempo drumming. The song was released in July 14, 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 #100 in the UK. This song was also released as downloadable content for the game Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock on June 19. The track has been widely sampled by various artists.

Background

When writing "God Put a Smile upon Your Face" 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.

When asked about the development of the song, during a track-by-track reveal, 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.

Music and lyrics

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. The song also includes an uptempo metronomic drumming rhythm.

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." The fourth verse in line two emphasize the line between sin and pleasure, in which Martin sings about everyone is sinful and falls short and that there are no degrees: "Don't ever say you're on your way down/God gave you style and gave you grace/And put a smile upon your face." When the song is performed live, Jonny Buckland begins a long ripping off guitar riffs while Chris Martin plays an acoustic guitar.

Release

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

The music video was released in October 2003, 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".

Reception

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. 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. 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".

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". Plan B sampled the track on his 2007 mixtape Paint it Blacker. The song was also covered by Mark Ronson on his album Version, which he performed live with Adele at the 2008 Brit Awards.

Track listing

International CD

  1. "God Put a Smile upon Your Face" – 4:58
  2. "Murder" – 5:36

Australian CD

  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

References

External links

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