Orphans

Album: Everyday Life (2019)
Charted: 27 106
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Songfacts®:

  • Here, Coldplay tackle the Damascus bombing of April 2018 during the Syrian Civil War. The airstrikes were ordered by President Trump to punish President Bashar al-Assad for a suspected chemical attack. The bombs were aimed at Assad's chemical weapons facilities but there were civilian casualties.

    The two verses tell the fictional story of young girls named Rosaleen and Baba (Arabic for father) who die during the attacks. Baba's children are left as orphans – "guess we'll be raised on our own then," croons Chris Martin on the outro.

    The chorus flashes back to before the bombing, as Rosaleen and Baba long for the war to end.
  • Speaking to BBC Radio 1's Annie Mac about the song, Chris Martin said: "One of the things that might help people have a better time is to put themselves in other people's shoes, whether that's these kids who have to leave Syria, or who grew up in Baltimore, or whatever it might be. Rather than judging from afar, maybe to think: 'I wonder what it's like to be there.'"
  • The rocker was a last-minute addition to Everyday Life during the mixing of the album. The band had the title figured out before they even had the actual song finished.
  • Chris Martin's teenage son Moses contributed to the writing of the song.
  • Coldplay released this song and "Arabesque" as the first singles off Everyday Life on October 24, 2019.
  • The band took the unusual step of revealing the tracklist for Everyday Life by placing a classified ad in the October 23, 2019 edition of the North Wales Daily Post. The world-first album reveal appeared on page 31 alongside ads for a fridge-freezer, bales of hay, a divan bed and a Welsh Government public notice.

    Coldplay's Jonny Buckland, who grew up in Pantymwyn, Wales, explained: "I once had a holiday job at the Daily Post, placing photos of houses for sale. I wasn't very good at it."
  • Coldplay performed the song on the November 2, 2019 episode of Saturday Night Live.
  • This was Coldplay's first #1 on Billboard's Rock Airplay chart. Their previous best placing on the tally was "Adventure of a Lifetime," which peaked at #2 in March 2016.
  • This won for Best Rock Video at the 2020 MTV Video Music Awards. By this time, that category came to represent artists of an older generation; Coldplay beat out blink-182, The Killers, Evanescence, Fall Out Boy and Green Day for the award.

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