The British Rock band Coldplay has certainly blessed us with some amazing music in the recent history of music. “Yellow,” “Fix You,” “A Sky Full of Stars,” “Paradise,” and “Viva La Vida” to name a few. And one of the band’s most popular songs ever, “The Scientist,” fits this category perfectly.
“The Scientist” was released as the second single off of Coldplay’s second studio album ‘A Rush of Blood to the Head.’ All members of the band contributed to the lyrics of the song, and it was released on November 4, 2002.
The song reached #5 on Billboard’s Adult Alternative Songs chart, and #10 in UK Singles Chart. The song also has sold over 9.1 million album-equivalent sales units worldwide.
The music video for “The Scientist” is in reverse. It was recorded in normal forward motion and set to reverse motion for the final release. So, the lead singer, Chris Martin, who appears in the video, had to learn the lyrics in reverse, so that when the video is reversed, the lip sync matches with forward motion vocals. The Director of the video, Jamie Thraves, talked about the recording process with MTV; “He [Chris Martin] got a tape of the song recorded backward and he listened to it over and over. He’s a very passionate guy, so he got really into it. What we learned later on is about the problems with phonetics, because you have to be very careful with the lip movement so that when you end on a sound your mouth is formed in the right way.”
Watch “The Scientist” Music Video by Coldplay
Download ‘A Rush of Blood to The Head’ Album on Apple Music & Amazon
“The Scientist” Lyrics Meaning and Song review
Chris Martin spoke about the inspiration behind the song; “That’s just about girls. It’s weird that whatever else is on your mind, whether it’s the downfall of global economics or terrible environmental troubles, the thing that always gets you most is when you fancy someone.”
Sciences and romance are usually considered to be opposites. Science is based on logic and reasoning, while romance is based on emotions. So, while the singer mourns the loss of their partner, the fact that he is a scientist emphasizes the idea that he was not able to appreciate what he had until he lost it.
In the first verse of the song, the singer starts off with an apology to his partner. He admits that he made her a second priority or maybe none at all. And now that they have or are falling apart, he misses everything that used to be. He finds her to tell her “let’s go back to the start.”
Running in circles, coming up tails
Heads on a science apart
The above lyrics are beautifully crafted to tell an important story about their relationship. The singer realized that their relationship was running in circles, meaning stagnant. And when you run in a circle, you can only find your tail, which means there is no progress in their relationship.
The last line insinuates that they were very different people. Something got them together, but they are struggling to find the spark that keeps them together into the future. Also, this line suggests that you cannot bring in sciences to evaluate the matters of emotions, but they might have!
Watch Coldplay Perform “The Scientist” Live on Piano
Nobody said it was easy
It’s such a shame for us to part
These lyrics talk about a universal truth about relationships. They are hard to make work. They are even harder when two wrong people are paired together. The singer also did not expect their relationship to be this hard. He does want to go back to the start and start over! But who is to say that this time will be any different?
In the second verse of “The Scientist,” we finally get to know why the song is titled as such. The singer says he is a man of science “guessing at numbers and figures.”
But he does realize that these sciences do not speak as loud as his heart. The pain that he endures being apart from his partner is so severe than any joy he has had from the progress he has made through his science work.
He could drop all of his work and run back to her arms just to hear her say “I love you” one more time. These memories haunt him.
But does he want to give their relationship another try? He is a scientist and he knows the same experiment with the same variables will result in the same result. So, does he want to go back in circles and keep chasing tails? His logic will prevent him from doing that.
You don’t necessarily have to be a man of science for a relationship to go south. So a lot of people will be able to relate to this song in different ways.
Let us hear what you think about this song in the comments below. Check out the complete lyrics and further meaning breakdown on Genius.