How long before I get in?
Before it starts, before I begin?
How long before you decide?
Before I know what it feels like?
Where To, where do I go?
If you never try, then you'll never know
How long do I have to climb,
Up on the side of this mountain of mine?

Look up, I look up at night
Planets are moving at the speed of light
Climb up, up in the trees
Every chance that you get
Is a chance you seize
How long am I gonna stand
With my head stuck under the sand?
I'll start before I can stop
Before I see things the right way up

All that noise, and all that sound
All those places I have found
And birds go flying at the speed of sound
To show you how it all began
Birds came flying from the underground
If you could see it then you'd understand?

Ideas that you'll never find
All the inventors could never design
The buildings that you put up
Japan and China all lit up
The sign that I couldn't read
Or a light that I couldn't see
Some things you have to believe
But others are puzzles, puzzling me

All that noise, and all that sound
All those places I have found
And birds go flying at the speed of sound
To show you how it all began
Birds came flying from the underground
If you could see it then you'd understand
Ah when you see it then you'll understand?

All those signs, I knew what they meant
Some things you can invent
Some get made, and some get sent
Oh
Birds go flying at the speed of sound
To show you how it all began
Birds came flying from the underground
If you could see it then you'd understand
Ah, when you see it then you'll understand?



Lyrics submitted by jommaz, edited by Mellow_Harsher

"Speed of Sound" as written by Guy Rupert Berryman, William Champion, Christopher Anthony John Martin, Jonathan Mark Buckland

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Speed of Sound song meanings
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154 Comments

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  • +5
    General Comment:I think that the whole song is about discovery, finding things and getting inspiration. The first 2 verses could relate to how he was trying to find inspiration for this album.

    I think the chorus has a direct link to how songs can give you inspiration, "birds flying" at the "speed of sound" means the songs that free you and broaden your mind, even your own songs can bring to the surface things you had kept in your unconscious "underground"

    I'm torn between the meaning of the third verse, it could mean the limitation of human knowledge and the human mind, there are so many things that we'll never even think about "Ideas that you'll never find" and that perhaps other people and other songs can find them for you.

    The next line, however, seems to be about the expanse of your imagination, or the things locked away in your mind and I believe its "ALL the inventors could never design the buildings that you put up" i.e in your imagination,

    and then it seems to revert back to the idea that our knowledge is limited "some things you have to believe but others are puzzles puzzling me" or it could mean that we all have different interpretations about things and we'll understand some things and others will understand other things... I guess that's what this site is all about!
    incoherentloveon May 24, 2005   Link
  • +4
    General Comment:First of all, hell yeah the piano line sounds about 99.9% exactly like "Clocks." So what? They took a good line, reworked it, and made 2 good songs out of it. At least they didn't plagiarize.

    To me, this sounds like a mystical dream, where images both concrete and abstract come flying at you, and the meaning is somewhere underrunning all of them. I think it's the dream of a person trying to work out where they fit in the world, with the flying birds being the key--they fly fast, from the origin, out of the traps of human culture (the "underground"), into the future, cutting through all the layers of static we build around ourselves ("all that noise and all that sound") to insulate ourselves.
    The meaning of the dream makes sense to the dreamer, but such dreams are hard to explain to others ("If you could see it then you'd understand"), because we cannot upload the images and the emotional tenor into other people's brains. But musically and lyrically, this is a brilliant representation of a dreaming brain firing on all cylinders, getting to the heart of meanings the conscious mind can barely begin to untangle.
    law4on July 27, 2008   Link
  • +3
    General Comment:this has a very positive upbeat sound to it. makes me feel like they are singing about waiting around forever for an adventure or to really begin the whole 'living' and feeling alive process. he's having a new awakening to life, if you will.
    rocketqueenzon April 13, 2005   Link
  • +3
    General Comment:To me it's really an artistic expression. It uses alot of comparisons to real life situations to describe how he feels about the beauty of the earth. The first line of the chorus
    "Birds go flying at the speed of sound to show you how it all began"
    To me it means it all started with birds flying and seeing them flying now is like seeing back in time.
    "Birds came flying from the underground, if you could see it then you'd understand"
    I think this means you (other people) can only really understand the passion he has if you can see the world from his perspective.
    Little insider for the Americans:"Birds came flying from the underground" does NOT mean they are zombie birds lol, "The Underground" is the name of the subway system in London
    razer1000on January 27, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General Comment:First off, I signed up just to comment on this song because it means so much to me. I'm a fighter pilot in the USAF and it was my dream to fly ever since I was a kid.

    I felt like I had to wait 10 lifetimes to climb in and get behind the stick. I'm sure all of you have been to an airshow or seen jets doing crazy manuevers through the clouds on TV.

    This song describes how I feel everyday I'm on the schedule. I get up earlier, I show up early, I am so far ahead because I can't wait to get airborne. Even after all these years, I still feel like I did when I was a kid.

    So "how long before I begin" describes the feeling to the letter. "all that noise, all that sound" Do I need to explain what full afterburners sound like? "All the places that got found" well there's lot's of cool places up in the clouds, like little hiding spots you dreamed of as a kid.

    As for the birds, well it's my bird flying at the speed of sound, or 2x actually. As for flying from the undergound, I dunno.

    The whole song doesn't fit the mold, but the music is great and enough of it makes sense to me. Hell it might not even be about flying for all I know.

    Take care.
    eaglepiloton June 13, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General Comment:it's a lovely song, clearly about things that can't be methodically created. first verse is about being stuck, wanting to finish the climb, to be let into inspiration.

    second verse is about looking up and finding that the universe is providing it for you.

    the third verse is a bit confusing, but to me, it's the opposite side. all those signs that you can't read and the lights that you can't see. if you try to methodically create something, it's sometimes impossible.

    the chorus of course, is the moment when an idea just springs into your head, fully made. when noise and sound come together to make (in his case) a song, and it's as unbelievable and spontaneous as birds from the underground, and if you've never experienced it, you couldn't understand.

    i love this man's lyrics...they're very profound, yet right there, accessible to anyone.
    niftysparkon June 05, 2007   Link
  • +2
    My Interpretation:I take this to be about war, and the governments not telling their citizens what's going on.

    Birds go flying at the speed of sound - Bombers and other fighting planes going so fast.

    Birds came flying from the underground - Nukes coming from underground bunkers.

    All that noise, all that sound - Explosions, gunfire, etc.

    All those places that I have found - They're being destroyed.

    How long am I gonna can stand with my head stuck under the sand - Ignoring what's going on in the world, not being told what's going on at least.

    Ideas that you'll never find or the inventors could never design - Everything that can be cut off by war, or maybe the just incomprehensible idea that people would hurt each other.

    The buildings that you put up - The institutions, systems, etc, being destroyed.

    All lit up - Obvious explosives imagery.

    All those signs I knew what they meant - We can all see war and such coming, just by what's going on in the world.

    StellaSymphonyon May 28, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:lovely.
    pizeachon April 29, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:"Speed of sound" is indeed a similar song to "Clocks," though I have gotten sick of that song a long time ago - sorry folks, it did get overplayed and the critics just jumped on the bandwagon, which certainly did not help the overplaying cause. However, I think "Speed of Sound" is a cooler, more energetic song. Hey, why not refine a great song like "Clocks" into something better?

    This song just kicks mighty ass, though I have a hard time thinking of Coldplay's songs as "happy" like some Coldplay fans always seem to say. Their melodies are are the minor key (the "sadder" key) and always have a mood of anguish in them, which to me is more of a stress-energy and not so much a happy-energy. But whatever, rock on!
    stoolhardyon May 18, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:I love it but its weird. Chris Martin said that he has the worst band but the best songs.
    totallycoolpersonon January 19, 2009   Link

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