Coldplay’s “Paradise” Lyrics Meaning

As the title (“Paradise”) of this song suggests, it is one based on an escapist fantasy. However, this is not so on the part of the vocalist but rather the subject of this narrative, who is a certain female. And the lyrics are really vague concerning the particularities of her story. 

But the main points center on her being very optimistic in her youth. However, upon aging she loses hope in an edifying life – a disposition which, as we will get to later, is largely the result of the environment she was brought up in.

The second verse relies even more heavily on symbolism. But what it basically illustrates is as put forth above, i.e. the subject becoming increasingly disheartened over time. So the only relief she finds from reality is during ‘stormy nights’ in which she would fantasize about her ideological “paradise”.

Now we know, based on Chris Martin’s own explanation of this song and the album it is featured on, that the subject is a resident of “a very big, oppressive city”, also being “a bit lost in (her) life”. So as put forth earlier, she mentally escapes from this depressing situation “through fantasy”.

So, that’s pretty much it as far as this track goes. Apparently Mylo Xyloto, the overall project it is derived from, is some type of a concept album. And within that framework, the story at hand takes on a larger meaning. But as far as isolating “Paradise” as a singular piece, it is most basically about a girl who has lost all hope in her dreams becoming a reality.

Lyrics to Coldplay's "Paradise"
Coldplay's Chris Martin explains "Paradise"

Facts about “Paradise”

This is the third single from Coldplay’s 2011 album entitled “Mylo Xyloto”. And the song was released on 12 September that very year via Parlophone Records and Capitol Records. The release happened on the same day it debuted on BBC Radio 1.

“Paradise” stands as one of the major hits in Coldplay’s impressive catalog. For instance, on top of charting in approximately 30 nations overall, the song topped charts in nearly 10 of them. This included the UK Singles Chart and Billboard’s US Alternative Airplay ranking. Additionally it went multi-platinum in a handful of countries, including Australia and the UK.

Coldplay is a late-20th century band from London that has managed to blow up stateside also. The group’s membership, from day one to date, has consisted of leader Chris Martin joined by Guy Berryman, Jonny Buckland and Will Champion, respectively on bass, guitar and drums. And as is Coldplay’s standard all four of these individuals are credited as the writers of “Paradise”. Their regular collaborator Brian Eno also receives writing credits.

This song came about after Chris Martin was enlisted in 2010 to write a tune to be featured on The X Factor. But at the insistence of Will Champion, it was rather added to the playlist of Mylo Xyloto.

Meanwhile the producers of the song are Rik Simpson, Daniel Green and Markus Dravs.


Music Videos

Mat Whitecross, who directed six other Coldplay music videos prior to this one, also handled said responsibility for Paradise. And the clip went on to earn the band a 2012 MTV VMA in the category of Best Rock Video. And to note, the song itself was also nominated for a Grammy Award in 2012.

The music video utilizes footage shot in South Africa, some of Coldplay performing on their Mylo Xyloto Tour during early October, 2011. Parts of the video were also filmed in London.

There is also an alternate music video, as directed by a London-based collective called Shynola. And yet another officially recognized version exists for specific purpose of promoting the 2012 Summer Paralympics.

“Paradise” Live at the Super Bowl

One notable live rendering of this song occurred in 2016, when Coldplay held down the Super Bowl Hafltime Show for that year.

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