Connect with us


Connected to a Song: Coldplay – ‘Yellow’

“Yellow” helped mark Coldplay’s 2000s debut, painting a scene of bright-eyed wistfulness and dreamy love.

Ryan Feyre



 I first became enamored with Coldplay’s music in 2012 when my dad and I were watching a Palladia episode (now the channel is known as MTV Live) in the living room of my family’s home. The English rock band was performing their 2000 hit song “Yellow” in front of thousands of people at a live concert in Paris. The atmosphere was captivating, with fans singing along amidst a sea of yellow balloons and colorful visuals. The lavish tone of the performance was breathtaking, and bolstered my intrigue in the band’s hypnotic aesthetic. The progression of the guitar riffs and lyrics created a mesmerizing glance into what the band represents in their music. “Yellow” is one of many examples where Coldplay inspires hope and positivity in their songwriting (even if it is a little more commercialized today), which is something critics overlook when judging their style.

The concert was the first real time my dad and I bonded over something musically, which is surprising considering he’s a huge fan of 80s rock, and I’m more into hip hop. After the show, he introduced me to his diverse vinyl collection, which included Coldplay’s classic first album, Parachutes. He told me that “Yellow” was the first track he heard from them during the beginning part of the 2000s. After that, his appreciation for the English rockers increased tremendously.

That appreciation trickled down during freshman year of high school, where my musical tastes were starting to develop outside of just mid-2000s hip hop (which honestly was a lot less exciting than today’s output). Prior to hearing “Yellow,” my only exposure to alternative music was Radiohead, Bon Iver and Arctic Monkeys. With the help of Coldplay’s first successful hit single, I began to take a more in-depth look into the nuances of art outside of rap music. 

The song itself features a beautiful evolution of production, starting first with a simple acoustic pattern, before unfolding into a full-on rock song filled with bombastic drums and exhilarating melodies, namely from the normally subdued Chris Martin. To me, “Yellow” is Coldplay’s greatest achievement when it comes to songwriting, establishing a concept of unrequited love in a time where rock was trying to regain its footing commercially.

“Yellow” was recorded in Rockfield studio in Wales off of the Parlophone label, which has signed bands such as Radiohead, Gorillaz, and The Chemical Brothers. The origin of the track is the stuff of movies, beginning with the band taking a studio break after recording their first single for Parachutes, “Shiver.” While outside, co-prodcer Ken Nelson noticed how beautiful the lights were, and told the band to “look at the stars.” Yeah, it’s corny. 

From there, Martin developed a melody, which eventually turned into the hook. At first, the group was pessimistic about the loose chord progression, which Martin described as a poor impersonation of a Neil Young inflection. Eventually, the track turned into something more palatable, especially after guitarist Johnny Buckland created the riff for the first portion of the song, 

Lyrically, Martin found inspiration from his friend Stephanie, who happened to be in the studio during the night of the recording. According to the lead singer, she possessed a “yellow glow” in the night.

I immediately attached to “Yellow” because of its thoughtful and dreamy aesthetic. The song starts off as a blank canvas with its acoustic arrangements and restrained vocals before eventually painting a picture of passionate love. The track forces listeners to grab hold of that one thing in life that’s not worth letting go. Martin and company keep this overwhelming infatuation open for perspective, thus providing people with the luxury of finding their own ways to emotionally attach to this euphoric experience.

Coldplay’s first successful hit brought my dad and I together and gave us something to talk about musically, despite our different tastes. Love tends to do that, even in the worst of times. The band continued to explore this universal theme after their initial success, and still do to this day. 

Even while trading old-fashioned guitars for synthesized pop, Coldplay still stays genuine. To me, it’s hard not to like them, especially considering their impact on the current state of alternative music, which is filled with bands like OneRepublic and Imagine Dragons trying to copy their happy-go-lucky style. Coldplay has still found cult success, even through mixed reviews from big-name music sites (namely Pitchfork), all because of “Yellow.”

At the end of the day, I don’t care how “basic” they’ve become recently; they still mean a lot to me, and to so many others who wanted rock to re-establish its identity. The bond my dad and I formed over that one special song represents Coldplay’s uncanny ability to link generations of music fans together, even in an era where taste is more widespread than ever. That’s a huge accomplishment in itself, regardless of what some critics think. 

If you obsess over singers and bands, and are one of those people who make a playlist for every occasion, join CMN’s Music Journalism Course and get real-time experience, intense feedback on your writing, exposure to music industry insiders, and a great place to display build your portfolio. Get all the details on the Music Journalism Course here.

Ryan is a Communications major student at Salem State University. He’s written for the pop culture websites, The Young Folks and Fansided. Currently, Ryan is working to finish his degree, and in his free time, he enjoys listening to music, going to the movies, and playing basketball.

CMN Reports

Education7 days ago

California Will Require All of Its Public Universities to Offer the Abortion Pill On Campus

The Golden State expands women's healthcare choices on campus.

by , The Catholic American University
Government2 weeks ago

California Becomes the 1st State to Make HIV Prevention Drugs Available Over-The-Counter

The Golden State progresses towards reducing HIV/AIDS.

by , The Catholic American University
Business2 weeks ago

California Will Allow Its Own Cities and Counties To Open Their Own Public Banks

The Golden State alongside North Dakota leads the way in public banking.

by , The Catholic American University
Government3 weeks ago

Abortion Fully Decriminalized Across The Nation of Australia

The country's most populous state is giving women choices in healthcare.

by , The Catholic American University
Free Speech4 weeks ago

Meet The Young People Against Socialism in America

A new conservative youth group takes on the rise of American socialism.

by , The Catholic American University
Government1 month ago

Meet the Progressive Rugby Player and Veteran Taking on the Democratic Establishment in New York

This Queens candidate wants to put his community first.

by , The Catholic American University
Election 20201 month ago

This Progressive Truck Driver is Challenging a Democratic Incumbent in Washington State

This young working class truck driver is taking on the Democratic Party establishment in Olympia, Washington.

by , The Catholic American University
Election 20201 month ago

The State of Maine Will Use Ranked-Choice Voting for Future Presidential Elections

The Pine Tree State progresses towards more electoral reform.

by , The Catholic American University

Most Read From CMN Writers

1 Step 1

Copyright © College Media Network