True Love (Coldplay song)

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"True Love"
Coldplay - True Love.jpg
Single by Coldplay
from the album Ghost Stories
Released14 August 2014 (2014-08-14)
StudioThe Bakery and The Beehive (London, England)
  • 4:05 (album version)
  • 3:36 (radio edit)
Coldplay singles chronology
"A Sky Full of Stars"
"True Love"
Alternative cover
Alternative cover for the version remixed by Davide Rossi
Alternative cover for the version remixed by Davide Rossi
Music video
"True Love" on YouTube

"True Love" is a song by British rock band Coldplay for their sixth studio album Ghost Stories, where it appears as the fourth track. It was released by Parlophone as the third single from Ghost Stories on 14 August 2014. The band co-produced the track with Paul Epworth, Daniel Green and Rik Simpson, while American record producer Timbaland provided additional drums.

The song's main instrumentation consists in heavy rhythms, dancing synths and wallowing strings. It also features a guitar solo. Lyrically, "True Love" talks about heartache and how the protagonist can't bear the pain of losing his lover. The song's lyrics were addressed to be about Martin's divorce from his wife Gwyneth Paltrow, a recurrent theme on the whole album. Martin has claimed that "True Love" is the band's favorite track it has ever written.[1]

The song garnered acclaim from music critics, who commended the song's raw honesty and its lyrics, which were seen as haunting and painfully truthful. Commercially successful in Belgium and the Netherlands, "True Love" did not chart on the UK Singles Chart. The accompanying music video for the song was directed by Jonas Åkerlund, who also directed the "Magic" video. It was shot in Los Angeles, choreographed by Blanca Li and centres around a tale of two ballet-loving outsiders, played by Martin and Canadian actress Jessica Lucas.

Background and release[edit]

After the success of their fifth studio album, Mylo Xyloto (2011), which sold more than 8 million copies worldwide and spawned the hit singles "Paradise" and "Princess of China", Coldplay planned to release a more stripped-down record.[2][3] Frontman Chris Martin claimed that the album is about "life itself and all its glorious colorfulness",[4] while critics noted that it was inspired in Martin's divorce from actress Gwyneth Paltrow[5][6] deemed it a "breakup album".[2][7] Martin elaborated:

Up to a certain point in my life I wasn't completely vulnerable and it caused some problems. If you don't let love in then you can't really give it back. So what "Ghost Stories" means to me is like, you've got to open yourself up to love and if you really do, of course it will be painful at times, but then it will be great at some point.[6]

On 4 August 2014, the band announced "True Love" as the album's third single, along with its artwork, which was created by artist Mila Fürstová.[8] The song was officially released on 14 August 2014.[9] Regarding the decision to release "True Love" as a single, Martin commented:

Sometimes we'll pick a single knowing that it doesn't really fit into how singles should sound or do sound. Our whole philosophy, especially recently, has been to follow our gut feeling. If we feel like this record needs to be a bit smaller and shouldn't tour it, then we follow it, and we worry about the consequences afterwards. I think choosing 'True Love' as a single is probably the same kind of thing. Somehow for me it completes the trio of things that we want to represent the album.[10]

Composition and production[edit]

"True Love"'s lyrical content was allegedly about Chris Martin's divorce from actress Gwyneth Paltrow.

"True Love" was written by Guy Berryman, Jonny Buckland, Will Champion and Chris Martin, with production being handled by the band with Paul Epworth, Daniel Green and Rik Simpson.[11] American record producer Timbaland provided additional drums, while Davide Rossi arranged strings. The song is written in the key of G-flat major, with a moderate tempo of 120 beats per minute. Martin's vocal range spans from the low note of G3 to the high note of G5.[12] Its instrumentation consist in heavy rhythms, dancing synths and wallowing strings.[13] Chris DeVille of Stereogum noted that the song has "Timbaland show[ing] up to add 'Apologize'-style schmaltz" and "a mournful guitar solo."[7]

Lyrically, "True Love" deals with themes of heartbreak. DeVille writes that Martin "lashes out at his lover's alleged lies on 'True Love' even as he strains to bring back the old feelings" in the lines "And I wish you would [sic] have let me know/ What's really going on below/ I've lost you now, you've let me go/ But one last time/ Tell me you love me."[7] In the chorus, the truth is too painful to bear, so the singer instructs his partner "Just tell me you love me/ If you don't, then lie/ Oh, lie to me."[14]

Critical reception[edit]

"True Love" received acclaim from music critics, who went on to praise its lyrics and instrumentation. Caryn Ganz of Rolling Stone felt that the song's "detuned, squalling guitar solo is the album's most jarring but ultimately most satisfying sonic moment. It's probably not the song Martin wanted to write, but it's the one he needs right now."[14] Jason Lipshutz of Billboard noted that "True Love" makes the band "deliver perhaps the saddest song on the album [...] as Martin echoes his phrases -- 'Tell me you love me, if you don't then lie' -- to create a sense of begging."[13] Stephanie Benson of Spin wrote that the track "climaxes with a moody, languid guitar solo straight out of John Mayer's seduction handbook."[15] Matthew Horton of NME observed that "the real heart of 'Ghost Stories' is in [...] the choppy dubstep textures of 'True Love' where Martin croaks, 'One last time/Tell me you love me,' and we all start to feel his own hollowness."[16]

Mack Hayden of Paste Magazine called it "the most Coldplay moment on the album, whe[re] Martin sings 'Say that you love me / And if you don't, then lie'. It's this kind of wounded romanticism that made 'A Rush of Blood to the Head' such a wonderful album, and it's good to see it back here."[17] Josh Terry of Consequence of Sound also noted that the lyrics are "one of his most gutting lines ever", noting that "they're devastating words."[18] Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic claimed that the addition of Timbaland "giv[es] 'Ghost Stories' a fleet electronic facility that undercuts Coldplay's reputation as a dogmatic rock band without ever suggesting the group is adventurous."[19] Jamieson Cox of Time praised "the skittering percussion that drives the weepy [track],"[20] while Larry Fitzmaurice of Pitchfork named it a "Spandau Ballet-gone-Disney ballad."[21] Adam Silverstein of Digital Spy wrote that the "transcendent" song "hit[s] you like a strike from Magneto."[22]

Music video[edit]

The song's music video was directed by Jonas Åkerlund, who also directed the "Magic" video. It was shot in the Los Angeles Theater, Los Angeles on 24 June 2014 and Venice Beach on 25 June 2014 and premiered on 22 August 2014.[23] The video stars Chris Martin and Canadian actress Jessica Lucas.[23] According to Åkerlund, the video "came about in the same way as 'Magic' did. One thing I said early was that I wanted it to be very different in tone from 'Magic'. But related somehow because it has a story."[24]


The music video begins with Martin in a fat suit toddling along to the metro bus and, realising he could never fit through the door, hitches a ride at the rear of the bus on a skateboard to his destination, which is a Los Angeles theatre where there's a ballet rehearsing. Later, an aspirant ballerina, played by Lucas, also stuck in a fat suit hops along to an audition where a line of slender dancers give her sidelong glances. She hands over her portfolio to the people holding the audition and, because of her appearance, is immediately rejected. Hurt, she instead heads to the Venice Beach boardwalk in Los Angeles where, in spite of her large size, dances to her heart's content. Meanwhile, Martin's rotund character gets a menial job as janitor and is tossing trash into the dumpster before his 'boss' comes out in the alley and kicks him back to work. The ballerina's home is a trailer and she plops down into a chair to rest and daydream. Meanwhile, back at the theatre, the ballet dancers are rehearsing and Chris steps into the background with his bucket until the director shouts, 'Excuse me!'. A postal worker brings the girl an invite from the theatre, while Chris is shown watering the plants and dancing in his own makeshift stage that he's created outside on the roof of the landmark building. The marquee blazes 'Big Ballet Premiere' as the big girl tries to find a seat in the audience. Later, tears come to her eyes while watching the partners twirl on stage, but when the show is over she finds she can't get out of her little chair. Then, Chris waltzes onto the stage with his partner, and the girl is compelled to join him in a dance making theirs a perfect match.[25][26]

Track listing[edit]

Digital download[9]
1."True Love"4:06
Digital download (Davide Rossi Remix)[27]
1."True Love" (Davide Rossi Remix)4:42


Adapted from Ghost Stories liner notes.[11]


Chart (2014) Peak
Belgium (Ultratip Flanders)[28] 3
Belgium (Ultratip Wallonia)[29] 12
France (SNEP)[30] 146
Iceland (RÚV)[31] 12
Netherlands (Tipparade)[32] 6
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[33] 180
US Hot Rock Songs (Billboard)[34] 42

Release history[edit]

Country Date Format Label Ref.
Australia 14 August 2014 Digital download Parlophone [9]
1 December 2014 Digital download (Davide Rossi Remix) [27]


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b Ellis-Petersen, Hannah (May 14, 2014). "Coldplay's Ghost Stories adds to canon of great break-up albums". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 December 2014.
  3. ^ Noir, Nadia. "Coldplay's Chris Martin Tells Kevin & Bean Some 'Ghost Stories'". KROQ-FM. CBS Local. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  4. ^ Reuter, Annie (May 16, 2014). "Coldplay's Chris Martin Talks New Album: 'It Isn't for Everybody'". Archived from the original on 13 September 2017. Retrieved 10 December 2014.
  5. ^ Payne, Chris (April 28, 2014). "Chris Martin Says Gwyneth Paltrow Split Inspired New Coldplay Album". Billboard. Retrieved 10 December 2014.
  6. ^ a b Butterly, Amelia (April 28, 2014). "Chris Martin: Paltrow split inspired new Coldplay album". BBC. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  7. ^ a b c DeVille, Chris (May 13, 2014). "Premature Evaluation: Coldplay Ghost Stories". Stereogum. Retrieved 10 December 2014.
  8. ^ "True Love is Coldplay's next single". 4 August 2014. Archived from the original on 8 August 2014. Retrieved 6 August 2014.
  9. ^ a b c "True Love – Coldplay". Google Play. Google. Retrieved 21 August 2014.
  10. ^ "Chris Martin Opens Up About 'Ghost Stories' and Songwriting". Fuse. August 11, 2014. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  11. ^ a b Ghost Stories (Digital download). Coldplay. Parlophone. 2014.CS1 maint: others (link)
  12. ^ "Coldplay "True Love" Sheet Music". Music Notes. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  13. ^ a b Lipshutz, Jason (14 May 2014). "Coldplay's Haunted 'Ghost Stories' Album: Track-By-Track Review". Billboard. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  14. ^ a b Ganz, Caryn (19 May 2014). "Coldplay Ghost Stories Album Review". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  15. ^ Benson, Stephanie (17 May 2014). "Coldplay, 'Ghost Stories' Review". Spin. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  16. ^ Horton, Martin (19 May 2014). "NME Reviews - Coldplay - 'Ghost Stories'". NME. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  17. ^ Hayden, Mack (20 May 2014). "Coldplay: Ghost Stories Review". Paste Magazine. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  18. ^ Terry, Josh (16 May 2014). "Coldplay – Ghost Stories". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  19. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas (16 May 2014). "Ghost Stories - Coldplay | Allmusic". Allmusic. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  20. ^ Cox, Jamieson (May 14, 2014). "REVIEW: Coldplay Makes Tragic Magic on New Album Ghost Stories". Time. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  21. ^ Fitzmaurice, Larry (20 May 2014). "Coldplay: Ghost Stories | Pitchfork". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  22. ^ Silverstein, Adam (17 May 2014). "Coldplay: Ghost Stories review - Chris Martin's heartbreak turns to gold". Digital Spy. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  23. ^ a b "Coldplay: News - Watch the new True Love video". 22 August 2014. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  24. ^ "Coldplay: News - Interview: Jonas Åkerlund on his Coldplay videos (pt 2)". 12 September 2014. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  25. ^ Grow, Kory (22 August 2014). "Coldplay's Chris Martin Lives 'Big' in 'True Love' Video". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  26. ^
  27. ^ a b[permanent dead link]
  28. ^ " – Coldplay – True Love" (in Dutch). Ultratip. Retrieved 13 September 2014.
  29. ^ " – Coldplay – True Love" (in French). Ultratip. Retrieved 9 November 2014.
  30. ^ " – Coldplay – True Love" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved 25 February 2015.
  31. ^ "Coldplay Chart History". RÚV. Retrieved 19 June 2017.
  32. ^ "Coldplay – True Love" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 30 November 2014.
  33. ^ Zywietz, Tobias. "Chart: CLUK Update 31.05.2014 (wk21)". Retrieved 1 June 2014.
  34. ^ "Coldplay Chart History (Hot Rock Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved 7 September 2014.

External links[edit]