What does Speed of Sound mean?

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Coldplay: Speed of Sound Meaning

Song Released: 2005


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Speed of Sound Lyrics

How long before I get in?
Before it starts, before I begin?
How long before you decide?
Before I know what it feels like?
Where to, where do I go?
If you never tried, then you'll never know.
How long do I have to climb,
Up on this side of...

  1.  

    anonymous
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    Aug 17th, 2009 8:33pm report


    This song is about human exploration of space. How long before I get in, before it starts before I begin? It's all about getting cleared for launch and going flying in man made birds at the speed of sound. If you have ever seen humans go to space in 8min and 45 seconds then you'd understand.



  2.  

    anonymous
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    Jul 1st, 2009 7:50am report


    Why is it that no one will comment on recent interpretations, such as the interpretation provided by PROFESSOR? "Birds keep flying at the speed of sound to show us how it all began"--this must be referring to the frequently cited UFOs. Like someone else noted, birds cannot really fly at the speed of sound, and the term "bird" is often used to refer to spacecraft. This is getting tiresome...why is there no interest in these recent interpretations?!



  3.  

    anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Jul 1st, 2009 7:50am report


    Why is it that no one will comment on recent interpretations, such as the interpretation provided by PROFESSOR? "Birds keep flying at the speed of sound to show us how it all began"--this must be referring to the frequently cited UFOs. Like someone else noted, birds cannot really fly at the speed of sound, and the term "bird" is often used to refer to spacecraft. This is getting tiresome...why is there no interest in these recent interpretations?!



  4.  

    anonymous
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    Jun 7th, 2009 6:19am report


    I think that the PROFESSOR (directly above) is onto someting. (Why isn't anyone else responding...come on!) When Coldplay use the word "birds," the group cannot be referring to "real-life" birds because, in fact, "real-life" birds cannot fly at the speed of sound. However, I know that the word "birds" is an informal or slang term for spacecraft. Think about it! "Birds came flying from the underground" must be referring to spacecraft (aliens) involved in our early development. I can't believe that no one else is responding to this profround (and likely accurate) interpretation.



  5.  

    Professor
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    Jun 3rd, 2009 6:54am report


    I would love to hear what others think about this interpretation, because I have enjoyed reading all of your interpretations. To me, this song has deep spiritual significance and, at the same time, it addresses the evolution of life (and human development) on earth, as well as the often-felt wish to know the truth behind all of it. When the lyrics refer to buildings that were put up, and things that could not be invented, it may be acknowledging the possible influence of aliens (or some unearthly influence) in the development of such structures as Stonehenge or the Great Pyrmamids. Some parts of the lyrics refer to humans trying so hard throughout the ages to understand how it all began. Other parts of the lyrics are, in a very humble fashion, asking some higher power (God) what one has to do in order to understand (or to get one's head out of the sand). When the lyrics refer to birds flying from the underground, this again may be referring to aliens, and the possible significance of extraterrestrials in human development. Ringing throughout the lyrics seem to be a hope that a human actually has the capability to uncover the truth. Please let me know what you think.



  6.  

    nerdbombb
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    May 25th, 2009 5:48pm report


    When asked what this song meant, Chris said it was about when the band was desperate for fame and attention.

    How long before I get in?
    Before it starts, before I begin?
    How long before you decide?
    Before I know what it feels like?
    Where do, where do I go?
    If you never tried, then you'll never know.
    How long do I have to climb,
    Up on this side of this mountain of mine?

    He is talking about fame and how much he wants it, and asking how much longer the band must live in the shadows. But to me, it kind of describes my transition into high school and reaching my dreams and everything. Great song, Coldplay is the best band of all time♥



  7.  

    anonymous
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    May 21st, 2009 5:34am report


    It seems to me it is about the Pattern behind reality, and discovering it. Hard to explain, "when you see it then you'll understand!"

    Birds=representation of God/Tao/Dharma/the Logos/Aum/etc.
    Or in other words the living Word of God, a vibration which generates everything.

    Do experiments with I Ching, but make binary computer sprite images from the numbers, and observe the world and how it relates to those pictures. You will begin to see the Birds everywhere!



  8.  

    anonymous
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    Apr 16th, 2009 4:19pm report


    Speed of Sound- first object that pops to my mind is the retired CONCORDE. It was an amazing aircraft that later went on to be dismissed from use. Ohh the lucky people that got a chance to fly Concorde :)



  9.  

    anonymous
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    Dec 31st, 2008 12:01pm report


    He is singing to a girl whom he wishes to, well ...you know.
    Life begins with a single cell being "implanted" for all of us. The birds flying at the speed of sound from the underground is describing an orgasm which will begin a new life.

    How long before I get in?
    How long before you decide or before I know what it feels like?

    How long do I have to climb up on the side of this mountain of mine?

    Man could never invent something so wonderful.

    If you could see it then you'd understand.



  10.  

    charoon
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    Dec 19th, 2008 12:42pm report


    i think they are talking about heaven..adn talking to god..think abou tit
    "how long before i get in..before it starts before i get in
    before you decide?"



  11.  

    BlackNhite
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    Oct 3rd, 2008 10:56am report


    I recently tried looking at this from an existential point of view and this is wht I came up with:

    The first verse seems to question the value of his own existence. In essence, it's like he's asking when his life will begin(to have worth) and how long he'll have to go without any real meaning.

    The second verse is a kind of realization. Looking up, he realizes that the world(planets) are quickly passing him by. He tries his bet to reach them(climbing trees) and seize the opportunity (chance he gets). But in the end, he's still bound by everyday society and must remain "with his head stuck under the sand" and returns to it out of habit, "starts before he can stop, before he sees things the right way up."

    The chorus refers to truth. "All that noise and all that sound" refers to the block imposed by society. "All these pieces that I've found" may be false interpretations, the image of a limitless existence.
    In this case, the birds represent truth. The fact that they're coming "from the underground" shows that they've been hidden away from us. He states "if you could see itthen you'd understand," but he never really goes into why you can't "see" truth no if he himself has actually seen it. This line then becomes a kind of desperate plea in pursuit of truth.

    The next line lists the impossibilities in life, the limits imposed on us. "The sign that I couldn't read, or the light that I couldn't see," are things we simply aren't able to grasp with the little time allotted by our own lifespans. Therefore, quite literally, "Some things you have to believe, but other are puzzles puzzling me..."

    The final verse seems to be just that, his final say. He states that he's reached an understanding(those signs he knew what they meant) and that the world operates in a set fashion(things you can't invent). He knows now that the world consists of leaders(those "made") and followers(those "sent").

    The final addition to the chorus, "When you see it then you'll understand," implies that now he actually has seen "truth" and is looking back to hint at his experience. Using the word "when" shows that it's something we all will eventually experience and it could be that truth will only follow the inevitable: death.



  12.  

    anonymous
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    Oct 1st, 2008 10:17am report


    Imagine a person who can only see in Black and White who wants to know how colour looks like. How would you go about describing to him how colour looks like. In my opinion it is impossible to describe. How would you go about describing the colour “Red” to a person who has never seen colour before: “Well, red is red. It is the colour of fire. It’s kind of like orange(also a colour) except darker” – that’s the best I can personally do.
    Colour is something that you must witness or experience or else you will never be able to comprehend it and I think that the lyrics are trying to send a similar message. With this perspective, the lyrics remind me of a line in “Interview with a Vampire” when Brad Pitt first turns into a vampire and says that the world has changed, but it is impossible to describe because you have to experience it to comprehend it.
    Can a regular person ever fully know what it would be like to be a savant genius? I think not. They may be able to describe what is going on inside their head, but a regular person would never be able to fully understand without having experienced it themselves. It is beyond their comprehension because their brain is different.


    Now that I have shared my general perspective I will directly interpret some lines.

    How long before I get in?
    Before it starts, before I begin?
    How long before you decide?
    Before I know what it feels like?
    Where do, where do I go?

    Here I think that the person he is asking is “God” because obviously god would have all the answers to the world. I think when he says “How long before I get in?” he is talking about heaven. According to the T.V series John Doe (perhaps you’ve seen this) when you die and go to heaven you gain all the knowledge of the world (I’m not sure if this is a true belief because I’m not Christian). Even if it is not a reference to heaven I think he is asking about when the person(presumably God) will decide to let him “feel” something.
    Where do, where do I go? – Here he seems to be asking the person (God) what he needs to do before that person will let him “feel” the thing he wants to feel.
    Personally I still find it hard to grasp the idea that the universe and god has always existed (something must have created god!) since the beginning of time (If there ever was a beginning).
    Perhaps the person he is asking is not god. Whoever it is, this person has the power to let him feel something nonetheless.



    If you never tried, then you'll never know.
    How long do I have to climb,
    Up on this side of this mountain of mine?

    The first line here reinforces my idea that you have to experience something to understand it. Or perhaps you’ll never know if you can understand if you never try to understand, but I think it’s the former. I think the other two lines are figuratively describing things he needs to do in order for the person to let him feel this feeling.



    Look up, I look up at night,
    Planets are moving at the speed of light.

    I think that these lines are just pointing out the mysterious nature of the universe which I mentioned earlier and that perhaps we will never truly understand it because it is beyond our comprehension.


    Climb up, up in the trees,
    Every chance that you get,
    Is a chance you seize.

    Basically it’s figuratively saying that you must take every chance you get at understanding something in a different way, right? By climbing up a tree you get a totally different view from when you’re on the ground. You can see many different things and also much further.



    How long am I gonna stand,
    With my head stuck under the sand?
    I’ll start before I can stop,
    Before I see things the right way up.

    First two lines he’s asking for how long will all these “things” (perhaps the meaning of the world or things along those lines) be kept from him.
    I think that perhaps the last two lines he’s talking about being born and dieing, or maybe just his pursuit for further understanding in the world.


    And all that noise, all that sound,
    All these pieces that I have found.

    Personally I think that he says “All those spaces that I have found”. I think the “spaces” (if those are what the lyrics are) refer to all those answers that are unknown to humans.


    And birds go flying at the speed of sound,
    To show you how it all began.
    Birds come flying from the underground,
    If you could see it then you'd understand

    I’m not sure but I don’t think it’s possible for a bird to travel at the speed of sound. 
    Anyway, since birds don’t fly at the speed of sound (supposedly), we humans will never know “how it all began”, which I think refers to the beginning of the universe.
    The last two lines is the same idea that you have to experience something to understand it like the guy who can only understand colour if he sees it.


    Ideas that you'll never find,
    All the inventors could never design.
    There are certain mysteries that man will never discover (Most likely concerning the universe or things that man will never create).

    The buildings that you put up,
    Japan and China all lit up.
    The sign that I couldn't read,
    Or a light that I couldn't see,
    Something¡¯s you have to believe,
    But others are puzzles, puzzling me.

    I think at a stretch, he might be saying that for people who have never seen Japan and China in real life before, can only believe that it exists, hence “Somethings you have to believe,” . There are lights he can’t see (because he’s never been there) and signs that he can’t read (obviously because they are in a different language) which once again reinforces my idea that there are things that people will never witness (the lights in Japan in China) or understand (the signs he can’t read). All figurative of course.

    This Japan and China thing reminds me of 1984 where people were led to believe that there was a war (if I remember correctly) against other continents, but there was never any proof and they just had to believe. In fact, I think the protagonist questioned whether the other continents even existed, but it was a while since I read the book so this may not be correct.

    All those signs, I knew what they meant.
    Somethings you can invent.
    I think he doesn’t understand what the signs read, but he can still extract a meaning from them. Therefore there are things that people can invent(?) Perhaps he’s trying to give us hope? I’m not too sure 

    Some get made, and some get sent,
    Ooh
    I’m not sure what the “some get sent” refers to, but I think here he means that some things will be invented and some things will not.



  13.  

    anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Sep 16th, 2008 9:06am report


    "all that noise, all that sound,
    all those places that I have found,
    and birds go flying at the speed of sound,
    to show how it all began,
    birds came flying from the underground,
    if you could see it then you'd understand."

    A slang term for a missile can be "bird" A ICBM takes off from an underground silo and flies at many times the speed of sound.

    A nuclear attack would explain the noise and light.

    The signs that were not understood could be the signs of a coming war.



  14.  

    anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Aug 23rd, 2008 8:13pm report


    This song has always reminded me of this guy I've liked for almost 2 years.When he says "How long before I get in,before starts before I begin,how long before you decide or before I know what it feels like?" that makes me think how long until I see him again, before my heart starts racing,before he decides to talk to me again, before that amazing feeling begins."Where to,where do I go? If you never try then you'll never know. How long do I have to climb,up on th side of this mountain of mine?" makes me think what do I do, do I talk to him, or wait for him to talk to me? If I just sit here forever and wait for him,I'll never know what would of happened if I just was brave and followed my heart,and it feels like I'm climbing up a mountain of confusion trying to decide what to do.Then he mentions how every chance you can get you can seize,plants are moving in the speed of light,how long will I stand with my head in the sand,I'll start before I can stop or before I see things the right way up. That means to me god gave me the wonderful chance to have him be part of my life and I need to seize it, the planets have been moving since the beginning of eternity and have never stopped, just like how I've never stopped liking him since the second I actually stopped to look at him, and it was at night when that magic second happened,and he said he looks up at night when th planets are moving.The whole birds flying from the underground,to show you how it all began, if you could see it then you would understand thing means my heart is like the ground and the birds flying from it is how it feels when it starts racing, and that feeling reminds me of how the whole crush began,and if you could see him in my eyes you would never question why I like him again.Then he talks about ideas inventors can't design,the buildings you put up,Japan and China lit up,the sign I couldn't read,the light I couldn't see, some things you have to believe,but other are puzzles,puzzling me. I think about how inventors can't design this feeling I feel,the buildings that you put up are like the things he did that are now happy memories of mine,and I've like Japan and China my whole life, and he was adopted from China,so Japan and China are special to me.The sign and the light I couldn't see was before the magic second happened how I never really noticed how special he was,and I have to believe there's a reason God put him in my life but it's like puzzle trying to figure out how to make God's plan reality.When he talks about I knew what the signs meant,some thing you invent,some get made,others sent,means I knew the signs where leading me to him,that I can invent a future with him,and as I invent a future and memories with him,he is inventing the same with me.We are currently friends but God and my heart has sent the message that he's the one:).

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway


  15.  

    yung23
    click a star to vote
    Jul 8th, 2008 7:20pm report


    Hi gang,

    the other night I set out to figure out what this song was about and I found this place.

    I have an interpretation for you all.

    and anyone who enjoys abc's LOST TV show.. will LOVE this interpretation..

    http://www.losttv-forum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=51430

    it IS about enlightenment.

    gnostism..

    and fits perfectly with my Apollo theory.






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