You can’t deny that Coldplay’s song Sparks is one of their most intimate and beautiful songs ever. Recorded on their 2000 Parachutes release this song is perhaps one of their more forgotten tunes when put up against their more Rock hits. One day I was sitting in a darkened lounge on a cool summer evening on Mass. Ave. in Boston and the song played throughout the room. I found myself wondering “what do the lyrics to Coldplay’s song Sparks really mean?”
I took a closer look and here’s what I came up with…
At first glance there’s a certain melancholy and darkness that exist in this song. When you listen to the music itself you have a slow 6/8 feel on the acoustic guitar followed by a light shuffle on the drums and a beautiful repeating bass line that brings the whole song together. The singer, Chris Martin, almost talks his way through the song, barely allowing the words to exit his mouth. It creates a very somber and sad effect. (Perfect music for any darkened lounge.)
The first verse where he says “Did I drive you away?… But I promise you this I’ll always look out for you” is a promise that even though he’s driven this person away he assures he’ll still look out for them. He admits he’s done a wrong but tries to correct it by making that promise. This is a very honest and sincere song that doesn’t hide any truths.
The lines “My heart is yours. It’s you that I hold on to. That’s what I do” are, at first, very sweet and loving. But at second glance, can also be seen as an addict who can’t let go of what they’re addicted to. It wouldn’t probably seem this way if it weren’t for the lines that come later in the verse where he says: “I won’t let you down” but then in the next line comes right back and says “Yeah I will, yes I will”. We all know an addict always has the best of intentions to quit their habit but as soon as the craving hits they go right back to the addiction.
It’s almost as if he’s saying that even though he does have the best of intentions, he still knows himself – he knows that no matter how hard he tries he’s still going to fail her. He can’t refuse who he is. It’s a lot like that story of the scorpion and the frog where no matter how much the scorpion promises not to sting the frog, he can’t help it when he does because he knows in the end, he’s a scorpion.