What does When I Ruled The World mean?

Coldplay: When I Ruled The World Meaning

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Album cover for When I Ruled The World album cover

When I Ruled The World Lyrics

I used to rule the world
Seas would rise when I gave the word
Now in the morning I sleep alone
Sweep the streets I used to own
I used to roll the dice
Feel the fear in my enemies' eyes
Listen as the crowd would sing
"Now the old king is...


    #1 top rated interpretation:
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    Oct 24th 2017 !⃝

    It could be about anyone who once held a position of power or prestige and now finds themselves at the other end of the spectrum. Maybe a vulnerable old man in a nursing home that used to be a CEO or a General of an army that no longer has command. We all find ourselves there, if we are fortunate enough to live that long.


    #2 top rated interpretation:
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    Jun 5th 2018 !⃝

    I believe it has to do with Power and how those in positions of authority handle power, fame and authority.
    Those in authority will NOT be there forever.....it is all standing on pillars of salt and sand.
    We all have to be humble and have perspective in any position we are occupying.

  3. anonymous
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    Aug 26th 2023 !⃝

    My impression of this song (and I played it at least four times while I was entering orders in the pharmacy) is that it could represent the nostalgia of an older person who'd 'loved and lost' and 'lost and loved' etc. When a person is young, even as a teen and has achieved a certain amount of charisma, and feels others think they're 'hot stuff', then they might have a certain recklessness in their actions, and sometimes they luck out and don't get permanently damaged, in their interactions with others, or business achievements, or attaining personal goals. I'm thinking of my sister, whose passion was mountain climbing and she held three jobs as a state biologist, ski patrol, and worked at REI to get a discount on her outdoor equipment, and managed to juggle all this and go on weekend expeditions (and everyone worried that she was burning the candle at both ends) until she died on a mountain in a snowstorm, and I'm thinking of my son whose star was rising, high IQ, motivated in learning all he could, scholastic achiever in math, logic, interpretation, as well as an extremely talented musician (violin, piano), won a scholarship to a prestigious school in math and science, and in his first year had a psychotic break and eventually diagnosed with schizophrenia. After ten years and successful therapy is recovering his 'being' and personality, but as an onlooker, I wonder how much of his creativity and motivation to 'succeed in the estimate of others' still he might feel he's lost.

  4. anonymous
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    Jul 31st 2022 !⃝

    This song is believed to be through the different perspectives of important people during the French-Revolution era, especially King Louis XVI.

  5. anonymous
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    Sep 4th 2020 !⃝

    Playing Dungeon and Dragon, simply boring! And fuck you that my interpretation is too short bloody software!

  6. anonymous
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    Mar 4th 2019 !⃝

    Head on a silver plate could refer to John the Baptist

  7. anonymous
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    Jan 23rd 2019 !⃝

    I think this is about being an only child and then mom brings another home from the hospital.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  8. anonymous
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    Nov 12th 2018 !⃝

    The crusades.

  9. anonymous
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    Oct 8th 2018 !⃝

    i believe its about the angels that were cast out of heaven by god cause to them god loved humans more so the anti angels (demons) mingled with humans and made human/ angels (demands) (physically bigger then humans) which god drowned during the great flood. so the song is about demons ruling the world it was a ritual at the the super bowl not just entertainment

  10. anonymous
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    Sep 18th 2018 !⃝

    Convicted murderer Robert Alton Harris's last words were " you can be a king or a street sweeper, but everybody dances with the grim reaper".

  11. anonymous
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    Jun 9th 2018 !⃝

    Could be about someone with bipolar and in his manic state he ruled the world in his delusions of grandeur. But now life pretty much sucks in his depressed state...
    I've always just loved this song for some unknown reason - no matter its meaning!

  12. anonymous
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    Mar 3rd 2018 !⃝

    My belief is that it's based on what Jesus' perspective probably was like right before His death on the cross. The parallels between the Bible story and the song lyrics are clear(to me anyway) and it causes me to wonder what made a non Christian band write and perform a song that parallels the Bible. Who knows! No matter what it means, I love the song! :)

  13. anonymous
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    Feb 8th 2018 !⃝

    It about Lucifer who once ruled the world the Jesus came was killed by Rome

  14. anonymous
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    Feb 2nd 2018 !⃝

    My earlier interpretation was about the British Empire, but I‘ve since read, with interest, the one about Louis Xiv, and it‘s very good. The French Hoi Poloi at the time, though, wouldn‘t have wanted his head on a silver plate, rather a plain wooden spike - the whole point of the Revolution - but didn‘t Salome ask for the head of John the Baptist on a silver platter? Maybe the song is about religion in general, with pillars of salt reference etc, or the Roman Empire?? Now there‘s an idea.... Anyway, this site is great, so I‘m looking forward to more interpretations! Cheers! Edvardus.

  15. anonymous
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    Feb 1st 2018 !⃝

    It‘s absolutely clear to me that this song is about Britain ( moreover, England ), and her once great Empire which used to rule the world. Some Crusades imagery in there too, with Jerusalem. Now Britain sleeps alone, and Britons sweep the streets they used to own. Cool, eh?

  16. anonymous
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    Sep 19th 2017 !⃝

    I believe the song is referring to the singers/ persons life and how he use to be in control of it with all the love and fame like a "king". But now he believes he's alone with no one there and that no one should go throw this. (Example: "Now in morning I sleep alone", "Just a puppet on a lonely string. Oh...who would ever want to be king".)

  17. anonymous
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    Jun 3rd 2017 !⃝

    I think its about Tony Blair's time as Prime Minister.

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