“Clocks” by Coldplay creates a kind of beauty in alternative rock

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“Clocks” appears on Coldplay’s second album, “Rush of Blood to the Head.” The album was released in 2003. Considered alternative rock, the song succeeds in light of its dynamics and the somewhat cryptic lyrics. The song’s unique piano motif has made it a memorable tune even more than a decade after its release.

Coldplay and early 2000’s music

With few exceptions, popular music was dominated by hard-edged sounds from bands and performers like Papa Roach, The Strokes, The White Stripes, 311, Eminem and others. In other words, a great deal of guitar, hard beats, and in some cases, hyperbolic masculinity. In the midst of this soundscape that offered its own merits, came the relative gentleness of Coldplay’s “Clocks.”

For some music fans, the early decades of the 21st century served as a kind of transition period in music. The age of grunge as defined by the 1990s was over, rap was continuing to evolve as hip-hop, and the possibilities for the development of alternative music were almost endless.

Enter Coldplay. While “Rush of Blood to the Head” was not the band’s first album, the release garnered popular and critical attention for the band. The single “Clocks” was at least partially responsible for the popularity of “Rush of Blood to the Head.”

“Clocks” by Coldplay

The piano motif that runs throughout the song is the element that catches listeners’ attention first. The piano motif’s dynamic that sends the chords changing from major to minor. The rest of the instrumentation is created by the usual guitar, drum, and bass.

The other instruments play just beneath the kinetic feel of the piano motif. Taken together, the sound replicates the feeling of running. The imagery that is evoked by the song is that of wide-open spaces, and cold air rushing around.

“Clocks'” lyrics are open to interpretation, but one possibility that makes sense comes from MTV News, which asserts that the song is about the narrator’s involvement in a “dysfunctional relationship” that he doesn’t want to escape.

The song’s aesthetics have been prized, too. The sound of lead singer’s Chris Martin’s voice has been described as “floaty” and its wispy, but present qualities as it soars over the instrumentation is arguably beautiful. The overall gentle sound of “Clocks” is in stark contrast with the song’s subject.

The early years of the 21st century might not have been characterized by music that could be called “beautiful.” But the tranquil ambiance of “Clocks” equals beauty, which is sometimes a rare quality in contemporary music.

“Rush of Blood to the Head” is available by going here:¬†http://store.lemonwire.com/coldplay-rush-of-blood-to-the-head-ltd-ogv-724354050411.html

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