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Meaning of Coldplay’s ‘Daddy’ song

'Daddy' - Chris Martin of Coldplay

‘Daddy’ – Chris Martin of Coldplay

Coldplay have released a new double album called ‘Everyday Life’. It’s a much more experimental album split into Sunset and Sunrise to mirror the two sides of human nature, the good and the bad.

One of the standout tracks is the stripped back and moving ‘Daddy’ played on a piano with minimal accompaniment. It is one of the most beautiful and moving songs Coldplay have ever written.

There are a number of interpretations of the songs possible given the universality of the father and child theme, but this is my interpretation.

It can be taken at face value about a child who misses their absent father and struggles to understand why he is so far away ‘Won’t you come and won’t your stay?’.

However, if you interpret it through the lens of singer Chris Martin, then the lyrics can be viewed as deeply personal, as even within the context of the universality of the theme it’s impossible to remove the writer’s life experience from the lyrics.

Martin himself is the father of two children and famously ‘consciously uncoupled’ from Gwyneth Paltrow when the (un)couple divorced. The children themselves go to school in Los Angeles whereas Martin has a more wandering existence split between playing and touring across the world and bases in England and America.

For any parent it is a wrench to be separated from their child for any period, even an arrangement as neatly packaged as his own divorce where he even went on a ‘family honeymoon’ when Paltrow remarried.

The feelings of guilt at separation are only natural and of course it is often hard for a child, particularly a young child to understand why their parent is absent. The lyrics then can be interpreted as not just the guilt of separation but also of touring and life on the road away from family.

The individual lyrics are more generic to simply explain it away as directly Martin’s experience. ‘Look Dad, we’ve got the same hair; And Daddy it’s my birthday’ speak to a long absence and a child reaching out in the dark for acknowledgement and it’s highly unlikely that Martin ever forgot or missed a birthday.

The song also talks of acceptance and forgiveness, trying to come to terms with the situation. The child accepting that the parent is absent, but also wishing to sooth the guilt of the parent despite the pain felt and the parent wanting that same acceptance and forgiveness.

The song works on many different levels and that is part of why it has proved so moving to so many as they can see their own story in the song, just as Martin’s story is there.

And for the definitive view from the man himself, Chris Martin, when pressed recently on its meaning:

OK. I don’t like explaining songs. However, that came from three places. First, I have many people in my life whose dads f***** off, which is sad and confusing and, if you empathise as a dad, you wonder, what was he feeling that he thought that would be best? Second, I have kids, and I have to leave all the time. Third, and most important, [that song was] written after learning about the prison industrial complex in America; the outright racism woven into so many laws, and kids who, as a result, are denied their fathers.

Full lyrics below.

“Daddy”

Daddy, are you out there?
Daddy, won’t you come and play?
Daddy, do you not care?
Is there nothing that you want to say?

I know
You’re hurting too
But I need you, I do
Daddy, if you’re out there
Daddy, all I want to say

You’re so far away
Oh and you’re so far away
That’s okay
That’s okay
I’m okay

Daddy, are you out there?
Daddy, why’d you run away?
Daddy, are you okay?
Look Dad, we’ve got the same hair
And Daddy, it’s my birthday
And all I want to say

Is you’re so far away
Oh and you’re so far away
That’s okay
It’s okay
It’s okay

You’re so far away

Won’t you come and won’t you stay?
Please stay
Oh, please stay
Won’t you come and won’t you stay?
One day
Just one day

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This entry was posted on November 22, 2019 by in music.

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