Friday, August 18, 2006

Video of the week: The Scientist

we are coldplay and you are notI'm not the biggest Coldplay fan in the world. Yes, their heartfelt piano ballads are effectively written and uniquely anthemic, but they're just a bit whiny, aren't they?

Nonetheless, every band of their stature has one song that transcends their limitations and The Scientist is most definitely that song for Coldplay.

The song's lyrics are typical Chris Martin fare: I'm sorry for that thing I did. It won't be easy but I want to fix our relationship. Ooooooh. Oooooooh. Oooooooooh.
It's right moving, so it is.

The video, however, is a little shard of filmic genius that gives the record a huge emotional punch. "I had this idea that I wanted to do a story that's tragic but starts off happy and ends happy, and the video is about rewinding to that happy ending," director Jamie Thaves told MTV.

In the beginning, Martin is lying down on a mattress before (rather creepily) righting himself and tracing his route back to a car crash, in which his girlfriend apparently dies. The video ends with the couple happily talking in their car, blissfully unaware of the tragedy that lies ahead.

The overall effect is creepy and other-worldly, but also incredibly moving. Thaves, who came up with the story before he'd even heard the Coldplay track, has woven similarly powerful narratives into some of his other videos - notably Radiohead's Just, which I'll feature on here sometime in the future.

Technically, the video must have been incredibly difficult to pull off. It was shot forwards - with Martin walking through fields and jumping over walls in London and Surrey - but in the final cut, the pictures are reversed in order to tell the story.

This means that, during shooting, the music had to be played backwards. Martin therefore had to learn how to sing The Scientist in reverse. Apparently, it took him a month.

On the DVD single, there's a "reversed" version of the video which proves how hard it must have been for Martin to learn the nonsense syllables for the video. I've put it up on youtube in case you want to have a look.

In the meantime, here's the real thing!

  • Buy The Scientist on DVD at Amazon

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