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Welcome!

My name's Clifford Stumme, and I explain the deeper meanings of popular songs. Let's have a conversation about what you think about the songs and go deeper together.

What does "Hypnotised" by Coldplay mean?

What does "Hypnotised" by Coldplay mean?

"Hypnotised" Lyrics Meaning

If you actually want to be hypnotized, the Coldplay lyric video for "Hypnotised" should do the trick for you.  There's lots of slow motion water, flowers, bubbles, and landscapes. Combine that with the incredibly dream-like state the music itself will put you in, and you're really not going to have a chance against Chris Martin and the rest of Coldplay. 

Personally, I'm not the world's biggest fan of Coldplay, but my wife April is, and I have to admit that they're an amazing band. They make beautiful music, and it's usually intensely artistic, even when it's charting and crazy popular. They do a wonderful job of making "good" music, and that makes it a joy to explain what "Hypnotised" means.

By the way, the reason "hypnotized" is spelled funny in the title is because Coldplay is a British band, and "hypnotised" is a British spelling. Hopefully, that helps clear up some confusion, and now that it's out of the way, let's talk lyric meanings. 

Lyrics Meaning: Finding Peace

It's really a perfect theme for a song called "Hypnotised." Finding peace is something I think the world as a whole could do with a little bit more of right now, and I think Coldplay develops this idea excellently in its song. Using personal reverie, some beautiful images, and an honest look at the world, "Hypnotised" makes a strong and much-needed point. 

Verse 1

Been rusting in the rubble
Running to a faint
Need a brand new coat of paint
Found myself in trouble
Thinking about what ain't
Never gonna' be a saint

This verse shows Chris Martin (or the narrator) reminiscing on his own recent troubled times and how he wants to find something better. He's been running too hard and needs a "new coat of paint" to keep him looking good and in control of his life. He "found [himself] in trouble" because he was "[t]hinkinig about what ain't." He was wishing for something more than what he had and that wishful thinking hurt him somehow. He realizes that he's "[n]ever gonna be a saint" and that leaves him feeling sad; he'll never fully be the person he wants to be even though he's not satisfied with where he is now.

Pre-Chorus 1

Saying float like an eagle
Fall like the rain
Pouring in to put out the pain
Oh, again and again

In the pre-chorus, we see different feelings juxtaposed, but the band also puts those into a larger perspective that shows the painful repetition Coldplay's narrator feels. He's trying to "float like an eagle" but ends up falling "like the rain." Rain falling can be a good thing, but it's also often associated with being sad. My theory is that he wants to soar but has to keep falling to be able to "put out the pain," which could be characterized as a fire down below the sky he wishes he were in. Sadly for him, this call to numb the pain happens "again and again" even though he wishes he wouldn't hurt anymore. 

Chorus

Now I'm hyp-hypnotised
Yeah, I trip, when I look in your eyes
Oh, I'm hyp-hypnotised
Yeah, I slip, and I'm mesmerised

Now, we don't know whose eyes he's looking into. In other songs, depending on the artist, a reference like this could be about a lover, a mother, a child, God, or a friend. Chris Martin doesn't make this clear here, and perhaps that's because it doesn't matter. Whoever's eyes he looks into or whoever's eyes you look into when you feel this way can be good enough for you and can provide that hypnotic comfort he refers to when he sings, "Oh, I'm . . . hypnotized / Yeah, I slip, and I'm mesermised." This person puts him at ease and helps him to relax when he's as stressed as he is now. 

Verse 2

It's easy to be lethal
I'm learning from the news
It's a guidebook for the blues
Saying it's the very same steeple
People want to choose
They just see it from different views

In the second verse of Coldplay's "Hypnotised," we here reference to part of what's causing Chris Martin's narrator so much discomfort. When he tells us that he's found it "easy to be lethal / I'm learning from the news," we understand that he's referring to extreme situations and high emotions that we see in the world around us. These seem to be "a guidebook for the blues," and it's depressing to Martin. 

When he says that he's "[s]aying it's the very same steeple" that "[p]eople want to choose," I'm not certain that this "steeple" is a reference to a religious organization, but it could be, and it could also refer to a decorated government building. Iny any case, the "steeple" refers to a location or issue of great importance. Concerning it, people feel similarly about it, but "[t]hey just see it from different views," and so they fight over it. This kind of bickering over something that we might actually agree on is depressing to Martin and the rest of Coldplay.

Pre-Chorus 2

And threading the needle
Fixing my flame
Oh, now I'm moved to exclaim
Oh, again and again

Here in "Hypnotised," Coldplay seems to be telling us that the narrator is trying to figure things out and interact with people, but it's difficult--he's "threading the needle" to do it--and he's "[f]ixing [his] flame" to have the energy to go on with the argument perhaps. Finally, he's "moved to exclaim," and he joins into the argument "again and again." 

Outro

Oh, again and again
Now I'm hyp-hypnotised
Yeah, I lift to a permanent high
Oh I'm hyp-hypnotised
It was dark
Now it's sunrise

The effect of the other person's "eyes," has lifted Chris Martin to a "permanent high" or given him the energy to lift himself there. This person's affect has shown him that even though "[i]t was dark," "[n]ow it's sunrise." He has gained hope and energy from this experience with the other person, and it's enabled him not just to keep going but to see the good--the "sunrise"--in the world around him.

Deeper Meaning of "Hypnotised" by Coldplay

I think "Hypnotised" is a beautiful song and that Coldplay does an excellent job of creating both a feeling of peace in the music and of telling a story of finding peace in the lyrics. We can see throughout how in the verses that he feels tension and unrest, how in the pre-choruses he tries to fix the problem, and how finally in the chorus he finds that peace in presence of somebody else. 

It's a beautiful story, and I think that it's a powerful message for many people in the world right now. Of course, when hasn't there been a time when there were problems we wanted to solve, whether personal or national or international? But sometimes the ones we're caught up in at the moment seem like the worst ones there ever could have been. Perhaps "Hypnotised" will bring some rest to people and to help them to remember to find their own peace in the eyes of those they love.

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