Speed of Sound

Album: X&Y (2005)
Charted: 2 8
  • songfacts ®
  • Artistfacts ®
  • Lyrics
  • This song is about being both inspired and overwhelmed. Chris Martin says that he was going through a "rocky period" when he wrote it, which makes it one of his least favorite Coldplay songs to perform live, since he associates it with that time.
  • This debuted on the US chart at #8, which meant that Coldplay became only the second UK male group in the history of the Hot 100 to have a single debut inside the Top 10. The only other group from the United Kingdom to do so is The Beatles. Spice Girls are the only female group to achieve this feat.
  • Chris Martin has since softened his stance on this song, but when it was first released he told Howard Stern that they didn't want to play the song in concert. "I think we just did a s--t recording," he said. "I like it, but we didn't get it quite right on record."
  • According to The London Times from October 22, 2005, Coldplay admitted they were "trying to recreate" Kate Bush's 1985 hit "Running Up That Hill" on this song's bridge.
  • There are some similarities between this song and Coldplay's previous hit "Clocks." The piano riff at the beginning is essentially the same as the one from "Clocks" with every second note taken out.
  • This was the first single off the X&Y album. It made its radio premiere on BBC Radio 1.
  • This won the 2005 MTV Europe Music Awards for Best Song. It was nominated for several US MTV awards, including Video Of The Year. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Jeremy - Shelbyville, KY, for above 2
  • This was the first song for Coldplay to crack the Top 10 in the US.
  • On the album X&Y, the colored blocks on the cover are arranged in a code developed in 1874. The code uses visual representations of 1's and 0's in a 5 digit sequence corresponding with particular letters of the alphabet and typographic symbols. It is considered by many to be the first truly digital form of communication and was a primary language used for telegraphy until it was replaced by Morse Code in the 20th Century. To create the code on the cover of the album the colored blocks are arranged in columns. In the left-hand column the black and gray colors are one block, the blank space below it is one block, and the red/orange, orange/green and green/blue combinations below are each one block. A colored block represents a 1 in the binary code and a blank block is a 0. Reading down, the code in the first column is 10111 which represents the letter "X." The far right column reads 10101, the code for the letter "Y." The columns in the middle represent the "&" portion of the album title. The colors have no particular meaning and are only included for aesthetic reasons. To explore the code further, check out the liner notes of the album that include a full chart of the Baudot alphabet. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bertrand - Paris, France
  • X&Y sold 464,471 copies in its first week in the UK. It topped the albums charts in 32 countries, including the US where it was the only UK album to top the US chart in 2005.
  • This Won The 2006 Brit Award for Best British Single.
  • In the UK this peaked at #2 behind "Axel F" by Crazy Frog.
  • In 2006, this became the billionth song downloaded from iTunes.
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Comments: 19

  • Kittenfuud from Wa...Aaand (Wings at the) Speed of Sound was an album by Wings (Paul McCartney's old band) that came out in the mid 70s I got my copy as a BD present from my bff!
    Just a little factoid!
  • William from Jacksonville, Ncthis song gave me lucid dreams. very nice and relaxing to listen to on repeat while sleeping.
  • Mechial from New York, NyActually, I agree with Perison. This song is definately one of those "get it on" songs. At first I didn't think so, but besides the lyrics. Just imagine a summer night with your partner just playing around and then IT happens. Laying there, looking at the planets going by at the speed of light. Birds at the speed of sound. They're up all night until the morning (when birds start chirping). The beginning does seem pretty perverted but it has a double meaning.

    Overall, I'm rather upset of their "stealing" of Satriani's music. Coldplay is pretty good, but Satriani is a whole different type, and a whole different level of talent.
  • Emily from Around Chicago, IlPeirson from Sydney Austrailia: Why would you even think that? Let alone post about it, you DO know there are kids on this site, right? Anyways, beautiful song, one of my favorites. I've always loved Coldplay.
  • Robert from Pikeville, TnI agree completely with Justin. The song is not about sex.
  • Justin from Montreal, QcOk whoever said that speed of sound is about sex has a mental problem.

    Speed of Sound refers to how fast life goes by. The sheer velocity of everything that is going on around us is enough to overwhelm and cause fear. The song talks about getting a hold of the fear and not allowing life to speed by and run you over. Martin talks about making sense of the velocity and seeing life's signs and using them to make sense of life. The song vacillates between frustration and hope. In one sentence the tone is that life is ready to be conquered but in the next the frustration and fear are evident. The track is a good representation of the speed and ups and downs people go through. Often times emotions move at the speed of sound and go from one extreme to the next!
  • Abc from St Paul, Mnum no its not...
  • Peirson from Sydney, AustraliaThis song is about sex &/or loosing your virginity, it is so obvious i cant understand why you guys wouldnt get that.
    here, let me explain:

    How long before I get in?
    Before it starts, before I begin?
    How long before you decide?
    Before I know what it feels like?
    (kay here he's asking how long its going to take until he gets it)

    Where To, where do I go?
    If you never try, then you'll never know.
    How long do I have to climb,
    Up on the side of this mountain of mine?
    (here he's making it sound like he's confused which makes me think its about loosing your virginity and then th big where he refurs to climbing mountains i think hes just talkin himself up if you get what i mean.)

    Look up, I look up at night,
    Planets are moving at the speed of light.
    Climb up, up in the trees,
    every chance that you get,
    is a chance you seize.
    (im not sur about this part.)

    How long am I gonna stand,
    with my head stuck under the sand?
    I'll start before I can stop,
    before I see things the right way up.
    (here i think he's talking about the actual sex and how he's obsorbed by the moment kinda thing and "i'll startbefore i can stop" i think means hes gonna take a little less time then he orgionally planned.)

    All that noise, and all that sound,
    All those places I got found.
    And birds go flying at the speed of sound,
    to show you how it all began.
    (ummm i think he's refuring to moaning at the start then her bits when he says "all those placces i got found" and "birds go flying at the speed of sound to show you how it all began" i think is about.. cumming? it makes sense.)

    Birds came flying from the underground,
    if you could see it then you'd understand?
    (not sure)

    Ideas that you'll never find,
    All the inventors could never design.
    The buildings that you put up,
    Japan and China all lit up.
    ("all the inventors could never design" concieving a child maybe? "all the buildings you put up hes talking about his willy getting excited.)

    The sign that I couldn't read,
    or a light that I couldn't see,
    some things you have to believe,
    but others are puzzles, puzzling me.
    (i think he might be talking about girls teasing him.. like you know leading him on or um.. testing him maybe.. i dunno.)

    All that noise, and all that sound,
    All those places I got found.
    And birds go flying at the speed of sound,

    to show you how it all began.
    Birds came flying from the underground,
    if you could see it then you'd understand,
    ah when you see it then you'll understand?

    All those signs, I knew what they meant.
    Some things you can invent.
    Some get made, and some get sent,
    Ooh?
    (here i think hes impliying that he got here tests or whatever and some things o can never invent i think is still about the baby making thing. sone get made and some get sent is, in my oppinion about the sperm. haha its getting weirder and weirder to write this..)

    Birds go flying at the speed of sound,
    to show you how it all began.
    Birds came flying from the underground,
    if you could see it then you'd understand,
    ah, when you see it then you'll understand?


    and thats it in my oppionion... but don't assume its right, because it very well may not be. No one can know the genious that it chris martin.
    thanks for taking the time to read (:
  • Claire from Miller's, MdThis should be the theme song for the Holocaust. The Holocaust is disgusting to me!!
  • Kaley from Calgary, Abi actually though X&Y was one of their best albums. all the songs have brilliant lyrics (especially this one) and really cool piano and guitar riffs. i think an earlier commenter's interpretation was pretty correct in that it's about the speed at which we go through life, just trying to figure everything out.
  • Dan from Lockport, NyThis is song about the love of music and appreciating the beauty in life and not giving up on your deams of a good life and happiness.It's out therte, "if you see it you will understand."
  • 69-so-fine from French Lick, Indiana!!, In2005 was a great year in general...ohhh memories...yeah I don't have anything to say about the song
  • Mike from Santa Barbara, CaThis is one of the most best songs of this decade, and the lyrics are amazing. There was a review on YouTube.com which described it better that I could:

    "The song is about the world, the velocity of our movement through it, and the struggle each of has in interpreting what we're experiencing from the moving platform of the present. Coldplay's songs are often coloured by themes of science, conciousness and the complexity of human experience."

    Great observation.



  • Musiclover from TorontoI have no idea what this song mean either! But that's kind of the beauty of Coldplay songs - anyone can interpret it the way they like to.
  • Allison from An Awesome City In, CoI don't really get what any of they're songs are talking about! They' sound so confusing! Does anyone have an idea what this song means?
  • Samantha from Chico, CaI strongly disagree with the people who say that he's being lazy on his new albums, because he's not! Every song on that album is great, and they always put just the right amount of instruments on the albums. Now I understand if you just don't like the album, but thats BS about not putting enough insturments!
  • Don from San Antonio, TxI agree with the "Clocks" critisism. This whole album is severely lacking in the insturmentation. You can tell he's no longer up till 3:am in the studio, he's a daddy now. The only extra practice he put in was singing in his car on the way to & from the studio. And the other guys are just mannequins. They're the reason why he was in the studio at 3:am...they were down at the pub. This album was thrown together. You can do that, where's YOUR money?
  • Emily from Chicken, NvMy soccer camp anthem. xD
  • Nick from Bridgeton, MeGreat song, one of the best in 2005
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