Album: Underneath (2001)
Play Video


  • This was written for the 2001 movie Rock Star, where Mark Wahlberg's character goes from lead singer of a tribute band to frontman for that band. The transformation alters his personality, which fractures his relationship with his girlfriend, played by Jennifer Aniston.

    "Colorful" appears at the end of the movie when Wahlberg has left the rock band and is performing his original songs at a small club. Now chastened, he reunites with Aniston, who enters the club while he's singing this song.
  • Verve Pipe frontman Brian Vander Ark wrote this song, and that's his voice, not Wahlberg's, singing it in Rock Star. Vander Ark also appears in the film as the bass player in Wahlberg's tribute band. In a Songfacts interview, he explained how it came together: "I read the script and then I went to audition for the movie and I gave the director and the casting director a copy of the song. Then I left, kind of forgot about it, and a new script ended up on my doorstep with the name Rock Star on it - the first script was called Metal God. I'm reading it and in the back they printed my lyrics for 'Colorful' in the script. I called my manager and said, 'What's the hell's going on here? They stole my song.' Well, they just failed to tell me that not only were they going to use the song but I got a part in the movie as well. But that was specifically written for that script."
  • We can all be colorful, but at times we turn to grey. It's a metaphor for how we handle the mood swings that come with success and failure. In this song, no matter the color, he takes solace knowing love is a constant:

    I know this loser's living fortunate
    Cause I know you will love me either way
  • This was produced by Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne.
  • Like the character in Rock Star, Brian Vander Ark had gone through a rise and fall when he wrote this song. In 1997, The Verve Pipe had a breakout hit with "The Freshman," but their next album went nowhere. Underneath followed in 2001; it got great reviews and was primed for success thanks to the film, but then September 11 happened. Rock Star was released on September 7 - it later found a following on DVD and television, but few saw it in theaters. Underneath was also the victim of this unfortunate timing. Released on September 25, it went nowhere and the band split up. When The Verve Pipe reunited eight years later, they included some tracks from the album in their repertoire, including "Colorful." Vander Ark also plays it at most of his solo shows, including the house concerts he plays every summer.
  • This was included on the Rock Star soundtrack, offering an introspective song among rockers like Mötley Crüe's "Wild Side" and Kiss' "Lick It Up."


Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

History Of Rock

History Of RockSong Writing

An interview with Dr. John Covach, music professor at the University of Rochester whose free online courses have become wildly popular.

Jesus In Pop Hits: The Gospel Songs That Went Mainstream

Jesus In Pop Hits: The Gospel Songs That Went MainstreamSong Writing

These overtly religious songs crossed over to the pop charts, despite resistance from fans, and in many cases, churches.

Emmylou Harris

Emmylou HarrisSongwriter Interviews

She thinks of herself as a "song interpreter," but back in the '80s another country star convinced Emmylou to take a crack at songwriting.

80s Music Quiz 1

80s Music Quiz 1Music Quiz

MTV, a popular TV theme song and Madonna all show up in this '80s music quiz.

Yacht Rock Quiz

Yacht Rock QuizFact or Fiction

Christopher Cross with Deep Purple? Kenny Loggins in Caddyshack? A Fact or Fiction all about yacht rock and those who made it.

Movie Stars In Music Videos

Movie Stars In Music VideosSong Writing

Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie, Mila Kunis and John Malkovich are just a few of the film stars who have moonlighted in music videos.