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Trouble (Coldplay song)

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Trouble cover art.jpg
Single by Coldplay
from the album Parachutes
B-side"Brothers and Sisters"
  • 26 October 2000 (2000-10-26)
  • 17 August 2001 (2001-08-17) (Norwegian Live EP)
RecordedMarch 2000
GenreAlternative rock
  • 4:33
  • 21:20 (Norwegian Live EP)
Coldplay singles chronology
"Don't Panic"
Norwegian Live EP cover
Coldplay - Trouble - Norwegian Live EP.jpg
Coldplay chronology
Trouble – Norwegian Live EP
Mince Spies
Coldplay live album chronology
Trouble – Norwegian Live EP
Coldplay Live 2003
Music video

"Trouble" is a song by British rock band Coldplay, for their debut album, Parachutes (2000). The band wrote the song and co-produced it with British record producer Ken Nelson. The song's arrangement is built around the acoustic piano.

The song was released on 26 October 2000 as the album's third single. It reached number 10 on the UK Singles Chart, making it the band's second top 10 single in the country. Although "Trouble" failed to chart on the United States, the music press deemed it almost as successful as its predecessor, "Yellow". In Iceland the song peaked at number 1. Two different music videos for the single were released.

An associated EP titled Trouble – Norwegian Live EP was released in the summer of 2001, consisted of five tracks recorded live by the band at Rockefeller Music Hall in Oslo, Norway.


According to Coldplay's lead singer Chris Martin, the song's writing was inspired by his own behaviour. Martin recalls, "There were some bad things going in our band ... the song is about behaving badly towards somebody you really love and I was certainly doing that to some members of the band." He added that he supposed it was about time to stop acting like a knobhead.[1] The four members of Coldplay are credited as co-writers of "Trouble".

British record producer Ken Nelson and the band produced "Trouble" for their debut album, Parachutes. The track was recorded four times before the band got the take they preferred. The backing track was first recorded, and each time they add to see if it was working. They, however, decided that the first three versions were not "working". The last take was recorded into Pro Tools with a shaker to provide the rhythm to the track. For the backing track, Will Champion played the drums and Martin on the piano which they recorded in a little wooden room. After Guy Berryman's bass was recorded, guitarist Jonny Buckland added the guitar section. In recording the piano section of the track, the band used two microphones—one was brighter-sounding and the other had a fuller sound. Nelson, who wanted to keep the song simple, chose the fuller sound microphone for the mixing.[2]

"Trouble" was mixed in New York by American mix engineer Michael Brauer. The initial mixed version, which was sent back to the band and Nelson, fell short of their desired quality, so it had to be redone. According to Nelson, "the vocal was overcompressed and the piano was too bright". Despite this, Nelson did not blame Brauer because he was recording the album when the track was being mixed.[2]


The song's lyrics have "softer emotional themes", including apologies, unrequited love, and longing.[1] Its musicscape follows the minimalistic approach. "Trouble" is built around a piano, with a snare drum background that was mixed very low. The snare drum section tends to be inaudible when the guitars come in.[1] According to the sheet music published by Musicnotes, Inc., the song's time signature follows the common 4/4, with a tempo of 70 beats per minute. Martin's vocal range in the song spans from F3 to A4,[3] the highest note being sung using the falsetto register, despite the fact Martin can reach this note in full voice.


Chris Martin playing "Trouble" on his piano during a concert in Brazil, February 2007

"Trouble" was released as the third single off Parachutes on 26 October 2000 in the United Kingdom, and more than a year later on 18 December 2001 in the United States.[4] An extended play titled Trouble – Norwegian Live EP was released in the summer of 2001. In 2003, the song was featured on Coldplay's live album called Live 2003.[5]

As they have for their other songs, Coldplay has refused to accept several offers to use "Trouble" for promotional tools. In 2004, the band rejected a multi-million Euro offer from Diet Coke and Gap to use the song and "Don't Panic", the fourth single from the album. They asked manager Phil Harvey to not refer such offers to them because "a discussion might lead to compromise". American actor Sylvester Stallone was interested to use the song for the soundtrack of his 2001 film Driven, but the band declined.[6][7] The song was used in the season 1 finale of the FX television series The Shield.


"Trouble" was a commercial success. It reached number 10 on the UK Singles Chart, making it the band's second top 10 single in the United Kingdom after "Yellow". The performance of "Trouble" has been attributed to the "colossal home sales" of Parachutes in the United Kingdom.[8]

The positive reception of the single continued when the British outfit Lost Witness made a remixed version of the song, which was released and became "an unlikely dance floor anthem". With three singles successfully released, the band decided to abandon their initial plans of issuing "Don't Panic" as the fourth single of the album, deemed enough for a single album in the United Kingdom. "Don't Panic", however, was eventually released in some European regions.[8]

In the United States, the single's chart performance was nearly as successful as that of "Yellow"'s.[9] It has reached number 23 on the Billboard Adult Top 40 and 28 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks.[10] Martin has claimed that the single had saved them from being a "one-hit wonder" band. The band, thinking it was not a "great single", surmised it would not perform well in the United States.[9]

Music videos[edit]

The original European version of the music video for "Trouble" was directed by British director Sophie Muller. The video footage was shot in a Newhall, California ranch.[11] A Wild West-themed video, it features Martin as a prisoner in a dark warehouse, tied with ropes to a chair, being circled by cars in the freezing cold. The other members of the band are seen on the upper floor in a slow motion sequence where Buckland and Champion struggle with bass guitarist Guy Berryman, tying him to another chair and forcing him to look in front. At this point, Martin's struggling causes his chair to tip over, and he hits the ground on his side. He sings the final line of the song ("They spun a web for me..."), before the darkness abruptly turns to daylight. A beautiful sunrise is then revealed, but as the camera pans out, it is revealed to be fake and part of a large theatre backdrop, with Martin still lying on his side, tied to the chair.

A US version of the music video was directed by Tim Hope. The video employs a dream-like animated world, with woodland glades, cartoon flowers which bloom instantly and the air full of clockwork-like insects and birds, but with real people embedded within it. On top of a mountain, a woman (Nerys Davies) waters plants inside a house. The band are aboard a horse carriage that travels through a rural landscape. A small coloured bird flies from the carriage up to the house, lands on the woman's windowsill and flaps its wings as if delivering a message. It transforms into a crow and then into a huge black menacing bird. The bird flies over the house and turns into a black cloud, which pours rain onto the land. The rain burns holes on the things it falls on, and crow feathers protrude from the holes. Finally a tornado lifts up the house, spinning it across the sky and then dropping it precisely on a normal suburban street. The video's acclaimed visuals earned Hope an MTV Video Music Award for Best Art Direction in 2002.[12] It was also nominated for Breakthrough Video.[13]


UK Funky artist Cooly G covered "Trouble" for her debut full-length album Playin' Me (2012).

Track listing[edit]




Chart (2000–01) Peak
Brazilian Singles Chart (ABPD)[17] 85
France (SNEP)[18] 60
Iceland (Íslenski Listinn Topp 40)[19] 1
Ireland (IRMA)[20] 16
Italy (FIMI)[21] 16
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[22] 38
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[23] 67
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[24] 36
Scotland (Official Charts Company)[25] 10
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[26] 76
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[27] 10
US Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles (Billboard)[28] 15
US Adult Alternative Songs (Billboard)[29] 4
US Adult Top 40 (Billboard)[30] 23
US Alternative Songs (Billboard)[31] 28

Norwegian Live EP[edit]

Chart (2001) Peak
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[32]


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Italy (FIMI)[34] Gold 25,000double-dagger
United Kingdom (BPI)[35] Silver 301,000[36]

double-daggersales+streaming figures based on certification alone


  1. ^ a b c Roach, p. 49
  2. ^ a b Inglis, Sam (October 2000). "Recording Coldplay's Parachutes". SOS. Archived from the original on 11 August 2005. Retrieved 12 September 2008.
  3. ^ "Trouble". Musicnotes, Inc. Retrieved 19 June 2011.
  4. ^ "Artists: Coldplay - 45 Charts - Alternative songs". Billboard. Retrieved 20 February 2016.
  5. ^ Harvey, Dennis (26 November 2003). "Coldplay Live 2003". Daily Variety. Retrieved 29 September 2009.
  6. ^ "Too many American Psychos". The Guardian. 16 August 2001. Retrieved 21 September 2009.
  7. ^ Hyland, Ian (22 April 2001). "The Diary: Band in a whole lot of Trouble with Sly". Sunday Mirror (Internet Archive). Retrieved 13 October 2008.
  8. ^ a b Roach, p. 54
  9. ^ a b Moss, Corey (18 December 2001). "Coldplay Ready Second Album As 'Trouble' Heats Up". MTV. Retrieved 22 September 2008.
  10. ^ "Coldplay: Billboard Singles". Allmusic. Macrovision Company. Retrieved 23 September 2008.
  11. ^ "Pink Is Ready To Have Some Fun With 'Try This'". Yahoo!. 6 October 2003. Archived from the original on 27 May 2006. Retrieved 18 October 2008.
  12. ^ D'Angelo, Joe (29 August 2002). "Eminem Takes Home Most Moonmen From Video Music Awards". MTV. Retrieved 14 March 2009.
  13. ^ "2002 VMA Winners". MTV. Retrieved 22 September 2008.
  14. ^ "Trouble". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 30 April 2011.
  15. ^ "Trouble [Australia Bonus Tracks]". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 30 April 2011.
  16. ^ "Trouble [Norwegian Live EP Tracks]". Retrieved 17 January 2016.
  17. ^ "Brazil" (PDF). ABPD. 6 October 2001. Retrieved 1 April 2014.
  18. ^ " – Coldplay – Trouble" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved 12 June 2014.
  19. ^ "Íslenski Listinn Topp 40 (Vikuna 1.12. - 7.12. 2000 48. Vika)" (PDF) (in Icelandic). Dagblaðið Vísir. Retrieved 15 July 2018.
  20. ^ "Chart Track: Week 46, 2000". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 12 June 2014.
  21. ^ " – Coldplay – Trouble". Top Digital Download. Retrieved 12 June 2014.
  22. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Coldplay" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 25 October 2016.
  23. ^ " – Coldplay – Trouble" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 12 June 2014.
  24. ^ " – Coldplay – Trouble". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 12 June 2014.
  25. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  26. ^ " – Coldplay – Trouble". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 12 June 2014.
  27. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 12 June 2014.
  28. ^ "Coldplay Chart History (Bubbling Under Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved 12 June 2014.
  29. ^ "Coldplay Chart History (Adult Alternative Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved 12 June 2014.
  30. ^ "Coldplay Chart History (Adult Pop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved 12 June 2014.
  31. ^ "Coldplay Chart History (Alternative Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved 12 June 2014.
  32. ^ " – Coldplay – Trouble - Norwegian Live EP". Hung Medien. Retrieved 17 January 2016.
  33. ^
  34. ^ "Italian single certifications" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved 17 July 2017.
  35. ^ "British single certifications – Coldplay". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 15 April 2016. Select singles in the Format field. Select Silver in the Certification field. Type Coldplay in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  36. ^ White, Jack (29 November 2018). "Coldplay's Official Top 20 biggest songs on the UK's Official Chart". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 30 November 2018.


External links[edit]