Song of the Day #225: ‘The Scientist’ – Coldplay

coldplayIt seems the really provocative and interesting videos are all directed by the same group of people. Spike Jonze and Michel Gondry are definitely in that group, and so is Jamie Thraves, who directed Radiohead’s video for ‘Just’ and is my connection to today’s song, ‘The Scientist’ by Coldplay.

Inspired by the lyric “Oh let’s go back to the start,” Thraves came up with the reverse-action concept for this video, his goal being to tell a tragic tale with a happy ending. It’s a powerful bit of filmmaking, all the better for the lovely song it accompanies.

Coldplay is an odd case. Their debut album Parachutes was a neat little collection of elegant piano pop, but nothing that signaled the success they would find in later years. I remember seeing Chris Martin in the video for ‘Yellow’ and thinking he was the most pathetic looking rotten-toothed little troll. The fact that he’s now married to Gwyneth Paltrow and popping up in magazine ads is hilarious.

The band’s second album, A Rush of Blood to the Head, was a minor masterpiece and earned them lavish critical praise and the beginning of their star status. Songs such as ‘In My Place,’ ‘Clocks’ and this one became instant favorites.

They reached a peak in their popularity right before they released X&Y, a somewhat disappointing follow-up to Rush of Blood. ‘Speed of Sound’ was a fine first single but the rest of the album was mostly forgettable. Then came the backlash, and it was suddenly not cool to like Coldplay anymore.

But their latest album, Viva la Vida, made them cool again. It won a ton of Grammys, stayed high on the charts and earned plenty of rave reviews. Its charms have eluded me, however… I don’t hear enough songs on the album. I’m still waiting for them to put out another Rush of Blood to the Head.

Come up to meet you,
Tell you I’m sorry,
You don’t know how lovely you are

I had to find you,
Tell you I need you,
Tell you I set you apart

Tell me your secrets,
And ask me your questions,
Oh let’s go back to the start

Running in circles
Coming in tails
Heads are a science apart

Nobody said it was easy,
It’s such a shame for us to part
Nobody said it was easy,
No one ever said it would be this hard
Oh take me back to the start

I was just guessin’,
At numbers and figures,
Pullin’ the puzzles apart

Questions of science,
Science and progress,
Do not speak as loud as my heart

Tell me you love me,
Come back and haunt me,
Oh, what a rush to the start

Runnin’ in circles,
Chasin’ tails,
Comin’ back as we are

Nobody said it was easy,
Oh it’s such a shame for us to part.
Nobody said it was easy,
No one ever said it would be so hard.
I’m goin’ back to the start.

4 thoughts on “Song of the Day #225: ‘The Scientist’ – Coldplay

  1. Amy says:

    I just learned more about Coldplay in the last thirty seconds than I’ve ever known. Guess I must have been actively retaining my ignorance. I do know he has two kids named Apple and Moses, for what that’s worth 😉

    I actually like this song, which surprises me as I’ve got it in my mind that I DO NOT LIKE COLDPLAY, though I have no particular reason for feeling that way – other than the mild annoyance at hearing them lauded so frequently

    As for the whole telling the story backward thing, it has still been doen most effectively by Kurt Vonnegut in Slaughterhouse-Five :).

  2. Clay says:

    Oh yes, I love that chapter!

  3. Dana says:

    I actually meant to say this yesterday, but…THE Jamie Thraves?? As in Martin Scorcese, Francis Ford Copella, Rob Reiner, Ron Hoard, Spike Lee, and Jamie Thraves????

    Okay, got that off my chest…

    I don’t like Coldplay, and I find this song fairly boring. It’s nothing I would have any desire to hear more than once. I find them overrated and overlauded.

  4. Clay says:

    But how do you really feel? 🙂

    For the record, I’d never heard of Jamie Thraves either before looking up the past two videos.

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