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Hit Song Breakdown: Yellow – Coldplay

June 9, 2008

On this weeks Hit Song Breakdown we tackle Coldplay’s inaugural hit: Yellow

This song is the reason Coldplay are the biggest band in the world.

Their first single “Trouble” was well received but it was nothing compared to Yellow.

So why was Yellow such a massive hit?

There are a few reasons.

  1. Timing – D’ya remember the year 2000? Although the big scare was Y2K, most of humanity was really scared of Boy Bands ruling the earth. The Backstreet Boys and N’Sync were the kings of main stream charts. Rap Rock was becoming homogenized and boring, and Napster was starting to eat away at record sales. And then like a shot to the heart- Coldplay came along. Yellow was destined to be a hit.
  2. The Video – Awww it’s a non imposing young male walking on a beach in slow-mo and yet singing regularly…. It’s GREAT! And such a breath of fresh air from the other garbage on MTV. BUT A HUGE ADVANTAGE YELLOW HAD WAS= It also was 1 of the 11 Music Videos allowed on MTV after 9/11.
  3. The Music!!! And what amazing music it was.

Yellow is an awesome song. Haters be damned. Lets see you write a song with the honesty and Hooky-ness of Yellow. huh? huh? thought so.

Yellow’s opening Riff is Huge! Your singing it in your head already. It’s more infectious then PerezHilton. And guess what that riff is? It’s the Chorus. Yes. The guitar part IS the chorus, or you could say that this song does not even have a chorus, it has an awesome Riff that is ridden from the start of the song to the end.

A couple of years ago Coldplay was on VH1’s Story Tellers and Chris Martin spoke about how during the writing of Yellow the lyrics were missing something. The song had been written and it was ready to be recorded but it was missing a key element. A Lyrical Hook.

“Look at the stars, look how they shine for you, and everything you do…….” – was the original line. Chris Martin still needed something. So Coldplay were jamming out the song and the yellow pages were laying around and thats all it took kids. A worldwide hit was born. “And they were all yellow” —- which by the way doesn’t make sense, right?

So other than the Lyrical hook, and the Guitar hook, and the Drum hook (they are huge!), the LYRICS are unbelievably accessible. Everyone from your kid sister to your Grandma can dig these lines. WHY??? well….

It’s a song about YOU.

It’s a song about YOU and LOVE.

It’s a song about YOU and LOVE and how BEAUTIFUL YOU are. Awesome.

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

I came along
I wrote a song for you
And all the things you do
And it was called yellow

Your skin
Oh yeah your skin and bones
Turn into something beautiful
D’you know you know I love you so
You know I love you so.

This song is for Females, and typically hit song lyrics are aimed at Females. If you get the girls you have to guys, because the guys always follow the girls.

Finally there is one more factor that puts Yellow above so many other Top 40 songs. Its HONEST.

You BELIEVE the band, you BELIEVE the SINGER, you BELIEVE the SONG.


The bottom line: Yellow is a hit because it contains 3 CHORDS and the TRUTH. Just like every other song you love.

Lyrics Baby, Lyrics,

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The New Rockstar Philosophy

One Comment leave one →
  1. Michele permalink
    June 10, 2008 7:07 am

    Great lines!
    A big Ciao from Italy

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