2000 – Yellow, Coldplay

‘And the stars look very different today’

I’m not sure where this is going so bear with me. It seems to me that there’s an honesty about ‘good’ art. I’m not talking about factual honesty, the actual correctness of what is being stated. Nobody really believes that there are four thousand holes in Blackburn, Lancashire (and I should know as I work in Blackburn). It’s not even about whether the singer is telling the truth; when Michael Stipe sings that ‘this one goes out to the one I love’ we know that this isn’t factually true and that the last thing the singer feels for this person is love. What I’m trying to say is that, for a song to work you have to believe it. I believe Michael Stipe; I believe John Lennon. But I don’t believe Chris Martin. Why is that?
It’s the lyrics, and particularly that first verse;

Look at the stars
Look how they shine for you
And everything you do
Yeah, they were all yellow

Now either Chris Martin has never actually looked at the stars (and that’s possible; I’m sure rich and famous rock stars have more important things to do than look at things. He probably has someone to do it for him) or he just needed a word that fitted and yellow seemed as good as any. There is a third possibility, that I’m just stupid and so I’m missing the deeper metaphorical meaning behind the lyrics. So maybe, metaphorically, the stars are all yellow. But I don’t think so. Because honestly, categorically, and even to someone like me who is colour blind, stars are not all yellow – some of them are, in fact many of them are, but others are red, or blue, or white.


And they were all yellow?