What does Clocks mean?

Coldplay: Clocks Meaning

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Album cover for Clocks album cover

Song Released: 2003

Clocks Lyrics

Lights go out and I can’t be saved
Tides that I tried to swim against
Brought me down upon my knees
Oh I beg, I beg and plead

Singin’, come out if things aren’t said
Shoot an apple off my head
And a, trouble that can’t be named...


    #1 top rated interpretation:
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    Nov 7th 2013 !⃝

    Clocks by Coldplay is a song about death. “ Lights go out and I can’t be saved.” Symbolizes that most of the time when Death has you in his clutches, there’s no going back and one can’t really fight Death. The phrase, “Come out things unsaid.” is about all the words that a person wants to say during life but never does. The first line in the second verse, “Confusion never stops, closing walls and ticking clocks.” is about Purgatory, a place between Heaven and Hell where souls are lost and try to find their way to Heaven. “Curse missed opportunities.” further supports this theory because in life we miss opportunities that we wish we could go back and take. “A part of the cure, or am I part of the disease.” is asking if his life was well lived or was it just another number in a statistic. Throughout the song the speaker seems as if he cannot complete certain sentences, further supporting the words left unsaid. Lastly, the speaker states that he wants to go “Home” as in returning to Heaven or the universe or whatever he believes in.


    #2 top rated interpretation:
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    Jul 10th 2008 !⃝

    I think this song is about an impossible love and all the pain and disorientation that follow especially when the loved person is not really ready or fail to feel the same for the time being ...still there is hope that that person will let you in someday ;-)


    #3 top rated interpretation:
    click a star to vote
    Aug 26th 2007 !⃝

    This song reminds me of my lost First True Love. We were SO in love, it was like the world kept spinning but we were still, staring in each other's eyes. I swear she was all I could see. But eventually we broke up, and she left me...not for another person, but just to go on with life. The problem with that is, it left me hoping that we could still get back together. Day after day, month after month, I harbored this ill-begotten hope. Over time it got better; clocks kept ticking, years went by. Finally I was able to love again, but my First Love will always be deep in my heart.

    The lights go out and I can't be saved
    Tides that I tried to swim against
    Have brought me down upon my knees
    Oh I beg, I beg and plead singing

    Two interpretations here:
    1. During the day I could distract myself, feel normal, not think about her....but at night, when I'd turn out the lights to go to sleep, not being beside her made me feel such anguish! It all came crashing down on me in the lonesome darkness of my bedroom. I would pray to God for some relief from being in love with someone who didn't love me anymore.
    2. My first opportunity to have sex after we broke up, I couldn't do it. This is so embarrassing to remember! We were alone, clothes off, then the lights went out and I couldn't get aroused. It's like "she" was there. I was "begging and pleading" for myself to get aroused, to perform, but I ultimately had to beg and plead forgiveness. I told this girl I still loved my ex...and she said it was ok, but I never saw her again. Luckily I got over that (for the most part).

    Come out of things unsaid
    Shoot an apple off my head and a
    Trouble that can't be named
    A tiger's waiting to be tamed singing

    When I started dating again, whenever we'd drive past places my ex and I went, I'd get these...feelings. However, no way was I going to be able to express them. The places and the memories had to remain "things unsaid", but I felt them. "Shoot an apple off my head" is kind of like the dread on a date of passing one of the places that we shared and going right back to the past in my head, thus ruining the date.

    Also, I know anyone in a relationship has had one of these moments: we're just driving along going to wherever, and my date says, "What are you thinking?" Oh God, I'm in trouble now! I'm thinking about "her" but I can't say her name to my date! That is the trouble that can't be named. And since I can't control when I'm going to think about her, She is the tiger in my head that can't be tamed. (BTW, if your date asks you what you're thinking, just say "politics" LOL.)

    You are
    You are

    This is sung to "her". Anywhere, any time, any place, no matter who I'm with, she is...

    Confusion never stops
    Closing walls and ticking clocks
    Gonna come back and take you home
    I could not stop that you now know singing

    Like I said before, she didn't leave me for someone else. She just didn't need me, I guess. So, even to this day I'm left wondering. "Closing walls and ticking clocks" reminds me of time I spent sitting alone trying to figure this all out. It was a waste of time, because there was no explanation. After our breakup, we still saw each other, but she moved to a town 80 miles away. I visited her as often as I could, even breaking the car down and having to ask my parents to come get me one time. But every time I visited her, I felt like this time I was going to come back and take her home. Or, if she'd asked me, I would have moved in with her and made her home my home too. I was so co-dependent on her, I "could not stop that" behavior. I was out of control.

    Come out upon my seas,
    Cursed missed opportunities
    Am I a part of the cure
    Or am I part of the disease, singing

    I'm asea, adrift without her. The first line invites the listener to come and feel what I feel, get in my "boat" for a moment. "Cursed missed opportunities" is self-explanatory, but here's an example. After we broke up, I went to visit her one time. I don't know exactly how it happened, but we ended up having sex (I don't say "making love" because we were broken up, after all). Anyhow, in the middle of the night, I had to leave to get back home. What I needed to come home for, I can't even remember now! Today, over and over in my mind, I think that if we'd woken up in each others arms that morning, we'd still be together today! Talk about a missed opportunity!

    Someone told me one time that the only one who could get me over her was me. Not her (she wasn't even around any more). So, I had to stop thinking about her and get on with my life. MY thinking about her, obsessing, was part of the disease. MY stopping thinking about her, getting back out there with a social life, taking chances, kissing someone else, etc., that was part of the cure.

    You are, you are, you are
    You are, you are, you are

    And nothing else compares
    And nothing else compares
    And nothing else compares

    I eventually got married, and so did she. She has two kids now, and is happy. I saw her for the first time in like 20 years, and we had lunch. Now we both know we can't go back, but we agreed no other relationship was like that one we had back then. Nothing else compares. (Oh, and about that confusion I mentioned earlier: I did ask her what the hell happened back then to make her leave me. Her answer: "I don't know". Can you believe it?! I have to laugh...or else I have to cry.

    You are
    You are

    Home, home where I wanted to go
    Home, home where I wanted to go
    Home, home where I wanted to go
    Home, home where I wanted to go

    We never made a home together, but we did get engaged and we talked about having four kids and even what their names would be and everything! "Home" was where I wanted to go, but in the end it was not where she wanted to go.

    Anyhow, CLOCKS keep ticking, and hopefully time heals all wounds.

    Apologies to Coldplay if this is not what you meant.

  4. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Sep 20th 2020 !⃝

    It fit much with a high tide flood happened in the night which made the singer got drawn,lights went out and his struggle to save himself, the suffer he passed through and his willing to go home.

  5. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Jul 29th 2016 !⃝

    Its spiritual to me he's talking about sin and darkness that enter into the world 2000 years ago thru Adam and Eve causing separation from God the father in heaven.When cold play say thee UNSAID he's saying people won't tell us that SINS is the cause of it all. Sin and darkness were all hurt, pain , let downs and confusion etc happens.God being our creator when something goes wrong, brakes down,out of order,been corrupted or just don't know what to do we have go back to him one who created us to be fixed or for thee answer .God has made way for us come back to him and be FREE from those people, places and corruptive things thru his son Jesus Christ our safety Ark.When cold play says YOU ARE their glorifying God because no matter how filthy we are or no matter what we've done in our lives God will receive us back as his child if we just HUMBLE ourselves REPENT of our sins turn to him and SERVE him WHOLE HEARTEDLY.....JESUS IS THE LIGHT.....God has giving us Free Will to choose him...(The choice is yours)

  6. anonymous
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    Jul 1st 2016 !⃝

    I think the lyrics are actually "cannibalistic" in a way. A song about the actual song he is composing and having to deal with 'Writer's Block'. He has the start of a great song, reminiscent of an older song. "'Trouble' that can't be named"is reference to an older song, which has similar piano chords....."Tiger's waiting to be tamed" are the raw idea's waiting to be moulded into songs. "Ticking Clocks" the pressure of expectation, from people/fans/band mates who are waiting for the next great album...He is filled with self doubt, that he can never replicate his previous successes - am I the one to blame? or can I fix this? "am I part of the cure? or am I part of the disease?"

  7. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Aug 7th 2014 !⃝

    guys, this is what it truly means:

    it means repeating something.
    he's trying and trying, but he's not getting anywhere,
    he keeps repeating his time, nothing else compares to when he is sure of himself, don't over analyse the song, because you will ruin the content for yourself, just appreciate it.
    closing walls and ticking clocks, the more you pay attention to a ticking clock the more it will ruin you, time is a man made concept, if you let time control you , it will tame you,and you become a slave to your own creation, when he sings "nothing compares" he means nothing can compare to time because it only goes one way, tigers waiting to be tamed means:dont wait for time because life doesn't wait for anybody!

  8. PatrickWantsThatExtraCredit
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    Nov 8th 2013 !⃝

    In the song Clocks by Coldplay, the is an overall tone of urgency. The speaker in the song is struggling to overcome a problem before it is too late. In my opinion, could be about the singer’s struggle to make things right a relationship that he doesn’t necessarily want to end. The line “Tides that I tried to swim against” refers to his struggle to escape this relationship but he keeps getting pulled back in by his love for the person. He tries to move on but his feelings for this person are too strong to let him move on, just like a tide pulling him back in. “Shoot an apple off my head” could mean that his love is almost giving up on him but not quite yet.. He curses the opportunities that he missed to make things right in the relationship. When he says, “Am I a part of the cure, or am I a part of the disease” he is wondering whether he can cure her heart or if he will just become a part of the disease, meaning he just becomes another ex who breaks her heart. Time is running out on him to make things right in this relationship. Also he can’t finish the line “you are” because words can’t describe the way he feels about this person. In the end of the song he says “I went home, home, where I wanted to go.” I think this means that he decided to move on from the relationship but is is not yet over this person. Overall, the song is composed of many metaphors that suggest a sense of urgency and a struggle to overcome a problem. While time runs out for the singer there is almost nothing he can do to stop the inevitable end to his relationship.

  9. kckelley54
    click a star to vote
    Nov 8th 2013 !⃝

    In the song “Clocks” written by Chris Martin, the main singer for Coldplay is talking about being afraid of his time of judgement and having to face the inevitable. He starts off talking about his struggle throughout life and how it has affected his life dramatically. He says how he begs and pleads while he’s on his knees which means that he is asking for forgiveness for the life he’s lead.

    The allusion of shooting an apple off his head is referring to him taking a risk of forgiveness because of the words he never spoke. When he says “a tiger’s waiting to be tamed” he is referring to himself because of some trouble that is bothering him. “Closing walls and ticking clocks” means that the world is closing in on him and his time is running out.

    He seems to be referring to God when he says “Come back and take you home” which reveals that God is coming to take him home to the pearly gates of heaven. When he says “Cursed missed opportunities” he means that he is ashamed of not taking good opportunities while he had the chance. “Am I part of the cure, or am I part of the disease” is a metaphor that means is he going to avoid death or just the opposite.

    Throughout the whole song Chris Martin’s lyrics are about him being afraid about where he will go when his time has come and being “part of the disease.” And the fact that he can’t finish the line that says “You are…” is probably the voice in his head while he’s begging on his knees for forgiveness. “Home, where I wanted to go” is referring to heaven, where he wanted to go in the first place.

    Chris Martin’s lyrics are really concealing about the song’s meaning but if somebody were to read between the lines the lyrics would make sense, and this song is ultimately about having little time to ask for forgiveness before death.

  10. dompolo
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    Nov 8th 2013 !⃝

    The song, “Clocks” by Coldplay, is a deep and emotional tale that can have many interpretations. My personal analysis, beginning with the first verse, is that the speaker is struggling through depression. The “lights go out” is him shutting out the rest of the world, making it impossible for him to be saved by society. The speaker is trying to swim against “the tide”, which is him trying to go against society as a whole, through different “unique” behavior that the world may not accept. The speaker is at his breaking point, where he can do nothing but drop to his knees and beg for someone to save him. By “shooting an apple off his head” the speaker is taking a risk, wanting to be saved. This is an allusion to the old tale of William Tell, a famous marksman who had to literally shoot an apple off his own son’s head to save him. The depressed speaker can’t define what is wrong with him, hence “the trouble that can’t be named”, but we can tell that his problems, a metaphorical “tiger” so to speak, need to be tamed. He is confused on what to do with his life, since the “confusion never stops”. The “closing walls and ticking clocks’’ represent the limited amount of time that the speaker has to help himself. The unfinished sentences in the bridge and chorus represent his inability to say what he has to say in the amount of time left on the clock.

  11. momo15
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    Nov 7th 2013 !⃝

    This song could be, and has been, interpreted in many ways. The way that seems to make most sense to me, and the way that seems to scream from the lyrics is the idea of death. In this song, the speaker is most likely the singer/songwriter. The topic or subject, I believe, is the idea that the speaker is nearing death and his time is ticking down. When he says,” Lights go out and I can’t be saved,” he is hinting that is time is coming to a close and there is no way to save him. He also edges towards the idea of unfinished business before death when he says, “Come out of things unsaid.” When he comes to the part about “ticking clocks”, he is speaking of his own clock ticking down, without much time left. One of the most confusing parts of the song is his repeated use of the phrase, “you are”. I believe that it is symbolic towards things he has left unsaid, like saying, “You are ___”. It seems as if it was a phrase that he started, unable to finish because of his time ticking down, and eventual death. Then, in the end of the song, he speaks of going home. I think home represents a “heaven” of afterlife that he is finally able to come to, at peace with his death.

  12. anonymous
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    Mar 19th 2013 !⃝

    It's about not wanting to grow up.

  13. L_Ramirez
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    Feb 10th 2013 !⃝

    In my opionion, "Clocks " interpretation is about a guy that is going through a fatal desease. The metaphor "Lights go out and can't be saved," Signals some kind of death."Youve put me down apon my knees," can interpetrate that he is begging for a cure. When ge says,"Shots an apple off my head," means he is under the deseases' full Control. The speaker expresses that he is still fighting against it when he says,"Tides that i try to swin against ." Then when he says,"Ticklinf Clocks," he refers to his fatal desease and how its taking over him and there is a short living time for him."Missed opportunities" refers that hes desease will not allow him to do the things he used to do; like if his going to die when he say,"Home, home, where i wanted to go," refers to hym wanting to go back how things were before he had that desease. All in all Clocks has many interperation buh this one cetainly fits the most.

  14. anonymous
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    Feb 3rd 2013 !⃝

    I thought it was about taking a chick home and not being able to "get it up". "Tiger waiting to be tamed" "things

  15. R_Quesada
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    Feb 1st 2013 !⃝

    This Song must be about a drug addition that the speaker must strive through. He talkes about how the light is going out which could be the light of hope and how he is tring to run away from it but it is as hard to do as going against a tide. He is also talking about how he is pleading and begging to get rid of this addiction but it is as hard to do as shooting an apple off his head or taming a tiger. Even though he so lost and confused the clock of his life will never stop and how he has missed out on many opportunities. Also he can't determine weather or not he is the victim or weather this addiction is his fault. Fianlly nothing compares to how hard going through this addiction will be and how hard the speaker must strive though to find a cure. In the end he just wishes he could just go back to the memories of his younger yearsbefore this addiction had started but now it is to late.

  16. N_Green
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    Feb 1st 2013 !⃝

    I believe that the song is reffering to some kind of a drug addiction for various reasons. One example that supports my idea is the line that says "trouble that can't be named,a tiger's waiting to be tamed" this metaphor is used to express that this addiction is very difficult to get rid of and it's also very hard to confront it. The line "Cursed missed opportunities" also helps represent a drug addiction in the way that it explains how doing drugs can exclude a person from many things. Maybe the speaker had to give up a part of his/her life because of the addiction and had to miss out on opportunities. The quote "A part of the cure, or am I part of the disease" represents the speakers confusion as to wether he is a victim of the addiction or not. One last line that supports my idea is the end that says: "Home, home, where I wanted to go" because it describes how the speaker wishes to return to the past, possibly the time before they were introduced to their addiction and times were better for them then.I came to the conclusion that this is song is about an addiction of some sorts and the speaker is feeling resentful because of it but they feel as though it is out of their power to control.

  17. JordannaMusikBullet
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    Dec 16th 2012 !⃝

    I think the song is simply about all the pain, confusion, depression, and addiction in life.

  18. anonymous
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    Sep 4th 2012 !⃝

    My interpretation of clocks is that they r struggling against something inevideble and even tho they know this they keep trying and at the end they just wish things could go back to the way they used to be even tho they know that it can't. Just my opinion tho. - K

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