The Scientist

One of the first songs I remember hearing by the British band Coldplay is “The Scientist,” from their second album, A Rush of Blood to the Head (2002).

Today’s selection is the fourth song I’ve posted by a band I used to listen to almost incessantly once I came to know their music. Previously, I shared “Fix You” (from X&Y, 2005), “Life in Technicolor ii” (Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends, 2008), and “Lovers in Japan (Osaka Sun Mix)” (also from Viva…, and a song that appears on Sweety’s and my wedding CD).

From the start, I found Coldplay’s mix of indie-pop music with creative instrumentation and experimental production by geniuses like Brian Eno to weave a very satisfying sound. However, Mylo Xyloto (2011) was when they lost some of my interest; it’s a good enough collection, with solid harmonies like on the lovely, reassuring and primarily acoustic “Us Against the World.” The album is well-produced but a bit on the formulaic side for me, compared to the more imaginative, sparser and more independent-sounding appeal of the earlier works. Like today’s track, for instance.

“The Scientist” is probably among the band’s best-known earlier songs, with other greats like “Yellow,” “Clocks,” and “Green Eyes.” American music producer and educator Rick Beato tells great stories and gives a superb analysis of the song’s writing, playing, singing, and production on episode 93 of his inimitable What Makes This Song Great? series. It’s definitely worth a watch.

I wanted to post a Coldplay song today since they will be one of the headline acts on Live at Worthy Farm, a five-hour, special livestream event from the Glastonbury Festival site in England. The North American stream for the show gets underway today at 6:00 pm CDT. A band I’m really excited to see is Wolf Alice, whose songs “Bros,” “Turn to Dust” and “Don’t Delete the Kisses” have appeared here before. (At the time of writing, I’m reading a media report of a problem with the UK livestream which must have been very disappointing the the home crowds there… hopefully the time lag will be on our side and our date night will be glitch-free!)

In my post on “Don’t Delete the Kisses,” I talk about choosing not to take a vacation side trip from London to Margate, a seaside town in southeast England, where Wolf Alice was playing, and have regretted that decision since then. But tonight, I finally get to see them perform from the comfort of our living room. And there will be pizza; since around the beginning of the pandemic, Saturday has taken over the role of pizza and movie night, a tradition we had on Fridays when my lads were little.

So, shall we wrap up today’s song, and talk about the video?

The official music video for “The Scientist” is quite an ambitious work. The entire piece follows lead singer, keyboardist and frontperson Chris Martin through excerpts of a day, night and next day but is filmed entirely in reverse motion. I won’t spoil the “beginning” if you haven’t seen it before. The video received a 2004 GRAMMY nomination for Best Short Form Music Video though the award went to the video for Johnny Cash’s (1932-2003) cover of Nine Inch Nails’ “Hurt” (please see my post for a link to that piece).

Now you know a little about why this is my Song of the Day for Today. Thanks for joining me here, and please enjoy. And, trust science. Wash your hands. Don’t touch your face. Get vaccinated, for others and yourself. And… wear your seatbelt.

Here’s the video from Coldplay’s official YouTube channel:  

And, here is the Beato video about the song:

Unofficial lyrics are available, courtesy of AZLyrics.com.

UPDATE: The Glastonbury folk didn’t have a banner day, from a technical perspective. The livestream didn’t work for the first hour and a half or so, so I missed Wolf Alice and Michael Kiwanuka, as did everyone in the EU/UK. Those are the two acts I was really looking forward to. Dang.

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