Listen to the Song:[audio:05_ChristmasLights.mp3]
“When you’re still waiting for the snow to fall, it doesn’t really feel like Christmas at all.” That sums it up doesn’t it? I have always been a softy when it comes to Christmas. I get all teary when I watch Elf, It’s a Wonderful Life, and Scrooged, to name a few.
Along with this comes a predilection to get a bit bummed during the holidays. I think back to the great Christmas’s I had when I was a kid, and the magic of family coming together and then I get down because Christmas isn’t the same as it was when I was a kid. People have changed, I’ve changed, and the holiday has changed. More often then not I find a time on Christmas Eve where I am alone and thinking about all the things I wish I could have done, or that I wish could have gone right for me and I wallow in my regrets while wishing life was as great as it is in those Christmas classics I mentioned. This song taps right into the vein of having a terrible Christmas but being able to still see the beauty in it through something as simple as Christmas lights.
So, on that melancholy note I will now explain why “Christmas Lights” is the number five song on this countdown. When it was first released last year it really touched me. I’ve always liked Coldplay but this song spoke to me. It’s about a man who has just gotten into a fight with his girl on Christmas night; “Christmas Night, another fight / Tears we cried a flood”.
It ends badly and in his depression the man walks through London to either talk to her, or just to clear his head. I really like the idea that he is just walking to clear his head, but the song can easily be interpreted as him going to her window “Romeo and Juliet” style.
I took my feet to Oxford Street/ Trying to right a wrong/ Just walk away those windows say/ But I can’t believe she’s gone
The man then finds his gaze struck by Christmas lights. What purer symbol of the spirit of Christmas is there? They are bright, inviting, warm, colorful, Christmas lights.
Up above, candles on air flicker/ oh, they flicker and float/ and I’m up here holdin’ on/ to all those chandeliers of hope”
While gazing at the lights the man hopes the season personified in the Christmas Lights will bring his lost love back to him while wishing for good will towards men and a little of the Christmas spirit for himself.
Those Christmas lights light up the street/ Maybe they’ll bring her back to me,” and “Oh Christmas lights, light up the street/ Light up the fireworks in me/ May all your troubles soon be gone.”
Musically the song probably is not quite as up to par with greatness as the lyrics. Chris Martin’s voice is wonderfully rich and soulful throughout the song, but that is to be expected from him. The piano is elegant in it’s simplicity as it drives the entire song. Synthesized strings play a great backing role throughout the piano’s progressions. They start very faintly before growing to their crescendo in the middle of the song. Right about this time the guitar and drums join in faintly kicking the song up a notch. The piano then fades out briefly to let these instruments take center stage before kicking back in and lighting up the song along with a little bass guitar. Finally all the instruments leave the song except the piano which winds the song down as fireworks fly in the song.
The music video is not much at first glance, but a little research reveals some interesting facts. First, “Credo Elvem Etiam Vivere” is written on the top of the stage the band performs on in the video. This translates to “I believe Elvis yet lives” in Latin. Tying in with that theme the three Elvis’s who appear in the video are Phil Harvey (Coldplay’s one time manager), Tim Crompton (who I know nothing about) and finally Simon Pegg (my favorite British actor who I read the biography of this summer). But these are not the only cameos made in the video. One hundred Coldplay fans were tasked with releasing colored balloons in the video. Pretty neat stuff aye?
So to wrap this up; Coldplay’s “Christmas Lights” lights up my soul. Since it’s release “When you’re still waiting for the snow to fall, it doesn’t really feel like Christmas at all,” has defined the season for me. It’s the perfect little saying to say this holiday doesn’t feel like it used to, but at the same time the song ends on a positive note with the Christmas Lights of the song reinvigorating the protagonist. This is a great song and if it hadn’t just come out last year it might be number one, but as it stands this fantastic tune will stay at number five.
Those Christmas lights, light up the street/ Maybe they’ll bring her back to me/ and then all my troubles will be gone.”