Chris Martin, lead singer of Coldplay, is curious about evolution in the shy “Speed of Sound.”
Oceanic strings open the single, creating a peaceful atmosphere. However, it’s soon undercut by taut drums.
In the first verse, he wonders when he actually gets a chance to view Earth from underground. His friend is afraid of what they might find and hesitates on his answer. He wants to experience the rush of being at one with nature. Where would he find the connection to the tremors, earthquakes and hurricanes? He tells his friend that if he doesn’t go with him, he’ll never find out why he’s here. The analyzing and questioning has taken over his life. How long before I get in?/Before it starts, before I begin?/How long before you decide?/Before I know what it feels like?/Where to, where do I go?/If you never try, then you’ll never know/How long do I have to climb,/Up on the side of this mountain of mine?
A cordial piano solo follows.
He tells his friend to study the night sky and watch as the stars explode and cosmos zoom by. He also suggests to his friend to climb the highst tree in his free time. Then, he will be at one with the Earth. Martin has grown tired of being naive. He yearns to be educated, although he knows it will be tough to get rid of his lifelong beliefs. Look up, I look up at night/Planets are moving at the speed of light/Climb up, up in the trees/Every chance that you get/Is a chance you seize/How long am I gonna stand/With my head stuck under the sand?/I’ll start before I can stop/Before I see things the right way up.
In the chorus, he notes that without exploration, he never would’ve discovered himself. He comments that birds are an example of nature working. However, if his friend could only see where the birds sleep maybe he wouldn’t be as cynical about it. All that noise, and all that sound/All those places I got found/And birds go flying at the speed of sound/To show you how it all began/Birds came flying from the underground/If you could see it then you’d understand?
Next, another piano solo.
In the third verse, he says without man certain ideas wouldn’t have been realized. The telephone may not have been invented, nor the computer. Without people learning more about gravity, buildings wouldn’t be able to tower. Countries would be in constant darkness if electriciy did not exist. It’s right there in front of people’s eyes. While he believes in science, he is still confused by many other things in the world. Ideas that you’ll never find/All the inventors could never design/The buildings that you put up/Japan and China all lit up/The sign that I couldn’t read/Or a light that I couldn’t see/Some things you have to believe/But others are puzzles, puzzling me.
In the bridge, he knows he didn’t see the answer to his own questions because he didn’t want to before. People can rationalize their beliefs to make them true. Some beliefs are released to the press and then become true. All those signs, I knew what they meant/Some things you can invent/Some get made, and some get sent/Ooh.
The last half of the chorus ends the single.
“Speed of Sound” seems to be addressing the idea of creationism versus evolution. It’s a challenging topic for a four minute single. However, the cryptic single manages to allude to it without nailing down a specific topic. The major fault is that it attempts to talk about something important but does not mention anything. It’s mysterious for the sake of being mysterious, thereby making it self-indulgent rather than effective. ED/PUB:LM