Warning Sign

Album: A Rush Of Blood To The Head (2002)
  • songfacts ®
  • Artistfacts ®
  • Lyrics
  • This song is about a man who is "Looking for excuses," or reasons to leave his lover. He is afraid of commitment and looks for warning signs that will tell him he should leave. After looking for "Warning Signs" he realizes that he misses his lover and he took her for granted ("you were an island and I passed you by"). Luckily, she is willing to come back as you can see in the line, "So I crawl back into your open arms." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Ayanna - Chicago, IL
  • During an episode of VH1's Storytellers series, guitarist Jon Buckland said he labored for more than a year trying to come up with a part to play in this song. "I wound up playing maracas on the recording," he said with a laugh.
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Comments: 19

  • Crystal from UsI think this song is about someone who took someone for granted. A relationship that failed because someone never took the time to fully engage or try to get to understand the other person. A missed opportunity for true love and the regret you're left with when you realize you passed it by.
  • Aj from Orange County, CaI have to concur with Andi on this one . . . the song is pretty straightforward. I find myself looking for "warning signs" and "red flags" in relationships. It's all well and good to be cautious and keep one's guard up before diving in feet first, and nobody should be oblivious to obvious concerns about a person's poor character, tendency toward dishonesty, emotional and/or physical abusiveness, etc. However, a person can become so caught up in protecting his or her own heart that they might lose something quite precious in front of them, a person who truly loves them, is capable of forgiveness, is honest and loyal. The "loudest tones" often accompany jealousy, possessiveness, controlling behavior, things that push the other one away. Or one can just take someone else for granted, especially if you are used to chasing the unattainable or unreachable and you have someone who does not play games and is sincere and available. The subject of the song, the woman whose "open arms" the singer crawls back into (and this could easily apply to same-sex relationships, I'm not trying to be exclusively heteronormative here LOL) is clearly worthwhile, as she is forgiving of the singer's neurotic behavior. Coldplay might not always get the credit they deserve, but this song is a definite winner, and one that speaks volumes to me.
  • Andi from Houston, TxIt's amusing to see how widely people's interpretations can vary. I think the SongFact is spot on. But you can make this more ambiguous if it suits you. Usually I don't understand songs very well.. but I think this one is pretty straight forward.

    The individual missed the good parts of the relationship looking for a warning sign. His looking actually caused the problems in the relationship (the bubble burst). They started looking for excuses and problems. (The relationship was actually good without all of his pushing and trying to drag out the negative).

    I've gotta tell you in my loudest tones (yelling, fighting arguing) that I expect there's a problem here i'm trying to ferrett out. But the truth is, he realizes he 'Misses them' (he loves them, and misses the happiness and good times he's pushed away from all the looking for the bad).

    An Island and I passed you by.(perhaps it refers to the isolation of the individual, at least the island to discover was the potential that he ignored by looking for the bad and the negative in the relationship). Maybe it refers to the fact that the person was an island because they stood alone FOR the relationship and he let them be isolated refusing to join them in the EFFORT of making the relationship work and enjoying it rather than the witch hunt he was conducting.

    I should not have let you go, so I crawl back into your open arms. He's finally realized this is where he should be and he asks for forgiveness and is taken back readily.

    I tend to see things as they apply to love, romantic love. But there's not any reason IMO that you can't also apply the same concepts to other types of relationships.
  • Luke from Cheyenne, WyWhen my grandmother died, to whom I was very close, my music really helped me come to terms with it. Coldplay especially. And it's just such a great song. For whatever reason, it reminds me always about my relationships with friends and family that I value so much.
  • Andrea from Sønderborg, DenmarkI would take him back. Cause, you know, he's CHRIS MARTIN!
  • Pat from Columbus, InSongfact pinned this song perfectly. It is about a lover who passed by his true love and looked for excuses to do so.
  • Rebecca from Council Bluffs, IaWow! I guess I never knew how much different my life is from everyone elses. I feel this song is about losing someone to a life changing illness. I have a child whom has vaccine induced autism. He was fine until he was 18 months old. He lost his speech, tested positive for seizures, tested positive for mercury poisoning, and of course was dx with autism. I feel I relate to the song in the sense, I had a child and everything was fine and dandy. I guess you could say he was my island and I passed him by. And like any parent would do I started looking for excuses for what the he11 went wrong. For years I would cry and think how much I missed him, even tho he was infront of my very eyes, because he had changed so much.
  • Alexandra from A City, CaI see this as a song about someone who took someone for granted and now they are gone, and never got a chance to appreciate them.
  • Stephen from Newcastle, EnglandTo me its about the fear of a long distant relationship. I felt doubts in my love for this person because they wern't their to comfort me. Yet the truth is simply, I just really missed them.

  • Tiffani from WinnipegI remember listening to this song when I was thinking about my relationship with my current BF. I kept on trying to find things that were wrong with him,trying to break things off, but I found out that nothing was wrong. I just really missed him.
  • Scott from Omaha, OhThis song is about me. I broke up with my girlfriend even though I loved her. It was by far the hardest decision I ever had to make in my life. But I miss her like crazy. I still love her. She's so beautiful and I love everything she stands for as a person. I think I might even love her more than I used to because I realize how special of a girl she is. She'll let me "fall into her open arms" if i go back to her, but I just dont know if its the right move.
  • Trisha from Okc, OkIsland is a metaphor for his love. She was an island and he passed her by. Islands can symbolize a place of refuge or comfort within a person. He misses his love because he realizes that she was his comfort.
  • Manny from Holmdel, NjThis whole song reminds me of my ex-girlfriend as after she told me she cheated on me. I started looking for other reasons to break up with her, but i suddenly realized how much I loved her so i went back to her arms but she didnt open her arms to me she just broke up with me. This song is amazing.
  • Mike from MiddlesbroughI have experienced this "warning sign". I thought the grass was greener on the other side. I looked for the warning signs and found enough to ignore her enough to the point that we mutually broke up. I always thought I could do better. I loved (sorry, still love) my ex-girlfriend, and still wait for those four last lines of the song to occur. This song totally sums up my experience.
  • Shira from Toronto, Canadai love this song, it gives me a strange yet good feeling every time i listen to it and it reminds me of a guy i really like. i definitly think this song is about a guy hu dumps his girl for reasons he makes up and then realizes he took advantage of her wonder and shouldnt have made that mistake, so he returns to her.
  • Lauren from Greenville, ScI believe this song is about parents trying to live with the fact that their son is gay. They at first ban him from their lives, but soon they realize they miss him. The parents start to become more open with the fact of a gay son and try to understand what he is going through, living in a straight world.
  • Laura from Spencerport, NyIt's odd how sometimes you experience something for the first time and a certain song means differently to you than it did before. This song did that for me. Thankfully, I didn't have to go through this, but I used this song in a story I wrote about a young man who committed suicide and left a massive pile of guilt and anxiety in a very close friend, once girlfriend of his, and she felt like it was her fault for him doing this. So I listened to the lyrics over and over again, and I realized that it fit my story: she missed him, wanted him to come back to life, if you will, even though she knew it was too late to do anything for him. It's a bit difficult to sum up the entire plot of my work for this single song, but it's the basic idea that counts. Kind of a different take on the song, different from a typical story-song about a downhill relationship that are all too common themes for modern day songs, unfortunately.
  • Dusan from Berkely, IaThis is about a guy who doesnt commit to his woman because he is looking for a warning sign. But even though he is afraid to commit doesnt mean he doesnt love. Because the truth is he misses you.
  • War from Toronto, CanadaTo me, this is a song about a guy who fears to commit to his lover, and looks for reasons to leave her. "I started looking for a Warning Sign". He eventually realizes that what he wants is her, and goes back to her.
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