Meaning of Paradise by Coldplay
The Meaning and Message of “Paradise” by Coldplay
“Paradise” is one of the most popular songs by Coldplay, a British rock band that has been active since 1996. It is the second single from their fifth album, Mylo Xyloto, released on September 12, 2011. The song reached number one in several countries, including the UK and Norway, and was certified multi-platinum in Australia, Canada, Italy, and New Zealand. It also won the award for Best Rock Video at the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards. The song is about a girl who dreams of paradise as a way of escaping from her oppressive and disappointing reality. In this blog post, I will explore the artist’s perspective, the listeners’ interpretations, and the historical and societal context that influenced the song. I will also analyze the lyrics and the music of the song, and discuss its meaning and message.
The Artist’s Perspective
According to Chris Martin, the lead singer and songwriter of Coldplay, the meaning of the song is easier to explain in the context of the album Mylo Xyloto. He told MTV News that the album tells a story: “It’s supposed to be about two people who grow up separately in a very big oppressive city, and they each are a bit lost in their lives.” He added that the pair meet in a gang and fall in and out of love before getting back together at the end. Martin said: “Paradise’ is about a girl really, the female half of the album, just about being a bit lost in the world and escaping through fantasy.”
The song was inspired by Syd Barrett, the former member of Pink Floyd who suffered from mental illness and left the band in 1968. Martin said: “He was one of our great heroes. We wanted to make a record that was sort of a musical equivalent of ‘The Wall,’ but not really about us.” He also said that he wanted to write a song that would appeal to his daughter Apple, who was six years old at the time. He said: “I was trying to write a song for her. I wanted it to have all these complicated chords that she would like.”
The song was written by Martin and his bandmates Guy Berryman, Jonny Buckland, and Will Champion, along with producer Brian Eno. The song features Martin on vocals and piano, Berryman on bass guitar, Buckland on electric guitar, Champion on drums and percussion, as well as guest musicians Jon Hopkins on keyboards and Ian Dench on string arrangements.
The Listeners’ Interpretations
“Paradise” is a song that has resonated with many listeners who have found different meanings and messages in it. Some have interpreted it as a personal statement, expressing their own feelings of longing for someone or something that is missing or unreachable. Some have related it to their own experiences of alienation or disillusionment with society or themselves. Some have simply enjoyed it as a catchy and uplifting song.
The title of the song is a common word that people use to describe an ideal or perfect place or state of being. It implies a desire to escape from the troubles or limitations of reality and to find happiness or fulfillment elsewhere. The chorus of the song repeats the lines “This could be para-, para-, paradise / Para-, para-, paradise / This could be para-, para-, paradise / Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh oh-oh-oh”, which convey a sense of possibility and hope.
The verses of the song describe how the narrator feels about the situation, using metaphors and questions. The first verse asks “When she was just a girl / She expected the world / But it flew away from her reach / So she ran away in her sleep”, which suggest that she had high hopes and dreams as a child but they were shattered by reality. The second verse asks “Did they get you to trade / Your heroes for ghosts? / Hot ashes for trees? / Hot air for a cool breeze? / Cold comfort for change? / Did you exchange / A walk-on part in the war / For a lead role in a cage?”, which criticizes the choices that she made or were forced upon her by others, resulting in loss of identity, freedom, and meaning.
The Historical and Societal Context
“Paradise” came at a time when Coldplay was at the peak of their popularity and fame, but they were also facing some challenges and changes. Their previous album, Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends, released in 2008, was a huge success, becoming one of the best-selling albums of all time. It established Coldplay as one of the leading bands in the alternative rock genre, which combined elements of rock, pop, and electronic music. It also explored themes such as war, revolution, and death with a diverse and experimental use of instruments, sounds, and styles.
However, the success of Viva la Vida also brought a lot of pressure and expectations to the band. They had to deal with legal and artistic disputes with other musicians, such as Joe Satriani and Cat Stevens, who accused them of plagiarism. They also had to cope with the demands of touring and recording, which took a toll on their physical and mental health. They started to experiment with different musical directions and influences, such as African music, hip hop, and dance music.
Mylo Xyloto was their attempt to create a follow-up album that would be different and innovative. They made the decision to base the album on the idea of a dystopian society where a tyrannical government forbids music and color. They also decided to make the album a tribute to Syd Barrett, who had been a major influence and inspiration for them. They collaborated with producers Brian Eno and Markus Dravs, as well as other artists such as Rihanna and Jon Hopkins.
The album was released on October 24, 20111. It was well received by the critics and the fans, reaching number one in over 30 countries, including the UK and the US. It was also certified multi-platinum in several countries, including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, and the UK. It is considered one of Coldplay’s best albums, and one of the best albums of 2011. It has been included in numerous lists and rankings by various publications and organizations, such as Rolling Stone10, NME, Q, and Grammy Awards.
The Lyrics Analysis
The lyrics of “Paradise” are divided into four sections: the intro, the verses, the chorus, and the outro. Each section conveys a different aspect of the song’s theme.
The intro sets the tone and mood of the song. It starts with a string section that creates a sense of drama and tension. It then plays a chord progression from Martin’s piano that sounds like it is coming from a distant radio. It then switches to a clearer and louder sound when Buckland’s guitar joins in. This creates a contrast between the two sounds, representing the difference between reality and fantasy.
The verses provide details and examples of the situation. The first verse questions the ability to perceive and understand reality using rhetorical questions that compare different things. The second verse criticizes the choices that have been made or imposed by others, using metaphors that imply loss or sacrifice.
The chorus summarizes and reinforces the message. It repeats the word “paradise” which expresses longing and hope. It then states that this could be possible using phrases that indicate possibility and uncertainty.
The outro expands and emphasizes the message. It repeats the chorus twice but adds some variations. The first time it adds an extra “paradise” after each line which shows emphasis or desperation. The second time it adds an extra “oh” after each line which shows emotion or resignation. It then ends with a fade-out of Martin’s vocals and Buckland’s guitar solo.
“Paradise” is a song that expresses and exposes the pain and anger of losing someone or something important. It is a song that has challenged and changed the way people think and act towards reality and themselves. It is a song that has shown that paradise is not a place but a state of mind.