Imagine. You’re sitting on the floor in your bedroom. Lights off. Back against the cold wall. You’ve had a hard day. Harder than most. You just broke up with your girlfriend and the only friend you can find for miles who truly understands you is Coldplay’s song Trouble. You pick up your headphones. Hit play on your iPod and let the music crash into your tympanum. After listening to it on rotation for several hours a question sparks in your mind…”what inspired the lyrics to Coldplay’s song Trouble?” Was it something as heart-braking as a breakup or something deeper?
After such a terrible day I decided to do some research. Here’s what I came up with…
OK so first of all, if you’re searching for the song you’ll find it hidden in the nooks of their debut album “Parachutes”. Track 3. And just like track 3, this song was actually their 3rd single release. Totally coincidental, I’m sure. The band and their producer, Ken Nelson, produced the song back in 2000 and it was later released in October 26th. They recorded the song a total of 4 times before they got the take they wanted. The would try a take and not be satisfied with it. By the 3rd take they decided to try something different…they had just a simple shaker come in to lay the foundation for the song and then the drummer would play over that. After that Martin would come in with his piano. Lastly, the bass and guitar were the final entries into the recording of the song. The song was later mixed in New York by engineer Michael Brauer.
Martin has a great mastery of his falsetto. It’s one of his most attractive qualities. He pretty much starts the song off using his it and by the 4th word when he sings “Oh no, I SEE”, you hear his falsetto reach out. Weaving in an out of this vocal technique with such ease it creates an almost eerie touch to the song. The word “Trouble” is repeated several times in the song giving you a minimalist feel to the song. Whether the song is in 4/4 time or a snail’s 70 beats per minute this song consistently brings a nostalgic chill through my heart. I find that to be rather curious in a world where most songs are recorded at 120 bpm.
Now, according to frontman Chris Martin, the inspiration for writing “Trouble” actually came from his own personal behavior. In an interview Martin is recorded as saying “There were some bad things going in our band … the song is about behaving badly towards somebody you really love and I was certainly doing that to some members of the band.” He added that it was written during a time he was acting like a knobhead. It’s very interesting to see that some of us might see this song as a “boy breaks up with girl” scenario. But Coldplay reminds us from time to time that they are deeper than just your run of the mill love songs.