Coldplay’s “Speed of Sound” Lyrics Meaning

“Speed of Sound” is another rock song which is apparently based on the personal philosophy and outlook of the artists who are relaying it. And lyrics are very abstract and accordingly open to different interpretations. But we will do our best to grasp the primary concepts being relayed.

First Verse

The first verse is based on the idea of there being more to life than what is experienced on the surface. But getting to that deeper level is not an easy task, as in it is concealed. Yet this is the internal destination that the singer wants to reach. And he insinuates that he and others who want to experience similar have to conquer their fears and exercises an admirable amount of patience in order to embark on and be successful at this expedition.

Second Verse

Now the second verse seems to point to the notion that such a sacrifice is worth it. Or stated otherwise, life is something that deserves to be valued. And the way you value it is by trying your best to learn more about it, as implied earlier. Moreover, the singer feels that not doing so is more or less an act of cowardice.

Third Verse

Meanwhile the third verse alludes to the reality that it is impossible for a single individual to grasp all of the knowledge life has to offer. But still, there is so much to appreciate. And the different things that men are able to do with their respective knowhow impresses the vocalist. And even then, the bridge illustrates that all of these various talents are not all the results of earthly learning but rather some come from ethereal sources, if you will.

Primary Sentiment of “Speed of Sound”

So conclusively we can say that the overall sentiment being expressed in this song is one where the narrator is marveling over the different wonders life has to offer. And he is not an idle admirer but rather one who realizes that it takes consistent, heartfelt effort for an individual to truly capitalize on such.

Lyrics of “Speed of Sound”
The music video to this track was directed by American cinematographer Mark Romanek.

Writing and Release of “Speed of Sound”

As usual, this is a song in which all members of the band (Chris Martin, Will Champion, Guy Berryman and Will Champion) are credited as writers.

Being released on 18 April 2005, Parlophone Records opted to make this track the lead single from Coldplay’s album “X&Y”.

And “Speed of Sound” was produced by Coldplay along with Danton Supple.

The artist who served as the inspiration for the sound of this track was British singer Kate Bush, whom the band listened to regularly before composing the tune. And the song of hers which is specifically acknowledged as influencing “Speed of Sound” is her 1985 track “Running Up that Hill”.

Moreover the birth of Chris Martin’s daughter Apple, which occurred in 2004, also served as inspiration for the content matter of this tune.

Commercial Success

“Speed of Sound” went on to become one of the biggest hits of 2005. For instance it charted in over 20 countries and managed to reach as high as number 2 and number 8 respectively on the UK Singles Chart and Billboard Hot 100. In fact it marked the first time Coldplay had ever cracked the Top 10 of the Hot 100. Moreover they were the first male British band since The Beatles themselves to drop a song that actually debuted within the top 10.

“Speed of Sound” also won a Brit Award, specifically in the area of Best British Single, in 2006 and an MTV Europe Music Award for Best Song in 2005. And the song and music video were also nominated for a bunch of other awards.

“Speed of Sound” has also gone down in history as being the billionth song which iTunes sold online. And this occurred in February of 2006.

Yet despite all of these accolades it seems that Coldplay and Chris Martin especially aren’t too fond of this song. And the personal reason Chris has come to disdain it is that he feels the band didn’t get the sound right when they actually recorded it.

Interpretation of “Speed of Sound”: By Another Hand

This track begins with the writer questioning how soon he can begin exploring life and seeking for success. He essentially admonishes himself and his audience to make good use of the opportunity life presents.

He mentions elements such as light, speed, planets, trees and birds to signify the ladder of success, and how one can reach those heights by simply making an effort to try. The narrator makes it clear in the first and second verses that instead of living passively, he is prepared to take risks.

In the bridge, he makes a reference to the idea that while certain people are born with their gifts and talents, others gain their talents through training and learning. In spite of these, people have to make an effort to look beyond the noise and lights to reach their goals.


This song details the singer’s observation of people’s quest to venture into new experiences and attain a high level of success.

Did “Speed of Sound” win a Grammy?

No. Coldplay however, received a Grammy nomination for it in the “Best Rock Song” department at the 2006 Grammys. It and four other songs lost to U2’s “City of Blinding Lights“.

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