"Violet Hill" as written by Christopher Anthony John Martin, Guy Rupert Berryman, Jonathan Mark Buckland and William Champion....
Was a long and dark December
From the rooftops I remember
There was snow
White snow

Clearly I remember
From the windows they were watching
While we froze down below

When the future's architectured
By a carnival of idiots on show
You'd better lie low

[Chorus]
If you love me
Won't you let me know?

Was a long and dark December
When the banks became cathedrals
And the fox
Became God

Priests clutched onto bibles
Hollowed out to fit their rifles
And the cross was held aloft

Bury me in armour
When I'm dead and hit the ground
My nerves are poles that unfold

[Chorus]

I don't want to be a soldier
With the captain of some sinking ship
Would stow, far below

So if you love me
Why'd you let me go?

I took my love down to violet hill
There we sat in snow
All the time she was silent and still

[Chorus: x2]


Lyrics submitted by crumbs, edited by FudgeDaMuffin, mamadiano, MusicChica, gormster

"Violet Hill" as written by Christopher Anthony John Martin, Guy Rupert Berryman, Jonathan Mark Buckland, William Champion

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Lyrics powered by LyricFind


Violet Hill song meanings
Add your thoughts

177 Comments

sort form View by:
  • +12
    General CommentI have a feeling the song is essentially about politics, war, and religious hypocrisy, from a soldier's point of view. It could be referring to the war in Iraq, or any other war--past, present, or future.

    He's talking about politics and how we are controlled by our governments. "When the future's architectured/ by a carnival of idiots on show."

    He's talking about an increasingly "religious" society, "when the banks became cathedrals/ and the fog became God" and its apparent hypocrisy (supporting the killing of others to aid their own cause) "priests clutched onto bibles/ and went out to fit their rifles."

    And he's talking about soldiers that feel as though they're being used for a cause they may not believe in "I don't want to be a soldier/ with the captain of some sinking ship."

    "If you love me/ won't you let me know" is referring to sending the soldiers out to get killed.
    shesaclassybroadon April 29, 2008   Link
  • +7
    General CommentLead singer Chris Martin told Entertainment Weekly that this was Coldplay's first attempt at a protest song. He added that the song is a nod to The Beatles, and Violet Hill is a street near Abbey Road.

    Chris Martin revealed to Rolling Stone magazine that this was inspired by self-proclaimed "traditionalist" political commentator Bill O'Reilly. He said: "The first line in that song is the first line of any song we ever wrote. Years ago, when Guy [Berryman, bassist] heard that first line and that first little melody - 'It was a long and dark December' - he said, 'OK, I'll join the band.' But we just didn't have the other 49 lines until last year. And then one day I was watching Bill O'Reilly, and I was like, 'I know how to finish that song.' My best friend, Tim, he's a musician in a band called the High Wire, but he also has to work in a bar. He was having trouble with his boss, and it made me think that so many people spend their lives being told what to do by people that they just don't like. So it was that idea, and watching Bill O'Reilly, and all these words just came out."
    FloridaGuyon October 10, 2011   Link
  • +5
    General Commentto be perfectly honest i believe that this song is very directly tied to what the band sees as the injustices that exist throughout the world and the song itself is being sung from almost the perspective of the earth looking down on what we as humans have created...
    examples:
    "When the future's architectured
    By a carnival of idiots on show" - a reference perhaps to our reliance on the media to provide truth when in reality it dictates our actions to act out of fear...
    "When the banks became cathedrals"- pretty obviously we have come to worship money
    "And the fog
    Became God"- fog is something we are trying to always look past.. not something we look at... perhaps an inference that we are not looking at god anymore but rather trying to see past
    "Priests clutched onto bibles
    Hollowed out to fit their rifles
    And the cross was held aloft
    Bury me in honor
    When I’m dead and hit the ground
    My Love is opposed when unfold"-i believe another reference to how we should be looking deeper into everything around us... the bible/rifiles line is a direct shot at how ALL people are using religious views for moral justification for war while the "love" which religions truly propose is a love of all people regardless of their religion... i believe he is say bury me with the ideals of love despite that fact that in death people may alter what we may have stood for while we lived
    "If you love me
    Why'd you let me go?"- the world speaking to us as humans... asking us what are we doing by our actions if we allowing for issues such as absolute poverty, climate change, religious persecution to exist... man made problems the "earth" speaking in this circumstance and is questioning us on how we could allow for this to go on...
    "I don't want to be a soldier
    With the captain of some sinking ship
    With snow, far below"- soldiers are often associated with being the first and last line of defense... in this circumstance it is a reference to the fact that he doesn't want to be one of the last people watching the destruction of the world and the snow... i believe is not actual snow but nuclear snow as a result of a perhaps nuclear holocaust....
    "So if you love me
    Won't you let me know?
    If you love me,
    Won't you let me know?"- again chris asks as the "earth" if you love me... act and show me that you love me

    pretty strait forward when you consider who is doing the speaking and how this is almost a dialogue between "earth" and concerned person sitting at "violet hill" discussing how this all came to happen... "Was a long and dark December
    From the rooftops I remember
    There was snow
    White snow
    Clearly I remember
    From the windows they were watching
    While we froze down below"- frozen in place (
    dyc6koon April 30, 2008   Link
  • +5
    General CommentIt's talking about politics and the global recession: "It was a long and dark December/ When the banks became cathedrals"
    And then it's talking about Fox News "When the fox/ Became god"

    This is basically a huge liberal ranting, and it's awesome because you'd never expect Coldplay (out of all of the bands in the world) to ever go political. Viva La Vida is a spectacular album and doesn't get the credit it deserves from the hipsters at Pitchfork.
    WhoaBoon May 27, 2012   Link
  • +4
    General CommentDont remember the painting on the cover of this single (or album?). It's Eugene Delacroix’s 1830 painting Liberty Leading the People.

    This is a political song.
    redsaberon April 30, 2008   Link
  • +4
    General CommentI think this song is a flat-out masterpiece. Hell, I even made it my screen name! :)

    So rarely is a statement on the woes of the world so beautifully put together, so truly poetic. I was blown away when I first heard it. This stuff is deep, dude.

    It made me think of this MLK, Jr. quote - which seems like the theme here to me:

    "History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people." Seriously - "if you love me, won't you let me know...... "

    I'll take you through what this song means to me.

    "Was a long and dark December
    From the rooftops I remember
    There was snow
    White snow

    Clearly I remember
    From the windows they were watching
    While we froze down below"

    This reminds me of the Dickens line "Now is the winter of our discontent." We are in a metaphorical December that is dark, long, and cold. Instead of helping us, those "above us," the ones warm inside, just watch us freeze down below. Sounds familiar.

    "When the future's architectured
    By a carnival of idiots on show
    You'd better lie low"

    Those in power, those guiding the direction of the world are nothing more than idiots on show. We are being led astray by people who will eventually destroy us for their own selfish interests.

    "If you love me
    Won't you let me know?"

    I love this line. So much of this song is about silence, about cold, etc. Love is desperately needed in this environment. There was also an early post that suggested this is the world speaking to us... I am down with this idea too.

    "Was a long and dark December
    When the banks became cathedrals
    And the fog
    Became God"

    Banks becoming cathedrals- that's already happened in our society. Money is God-like, and its temple is the banks. The fog of money and greed has blinded us, and we no longer see clearly.

    "Priests clutched onto bibles
    Hollowed out to fit their rifles
    And the cross was held aloft"

    Priests who are supposed to be beacons of faith, of hope, of virtue, they still clutch their bibles. But the content is gone, it's been hollowed out - on purpose!!! The whole heart of religion is gone, leaving only a shell that accommodates a militaristic agenda. But the cross is still held aloft, trying to pass off a hollow and soul-less war fought for greed as somehow holy or God's will.

    "Bury me in honor
    When I’m dead and hit the ground
    My Love is opposed when unfold"

    He still wants to be a person who has honor, to truly stand for something. I also think this line implies that he will die on his feet, which makes me think of Emiliano Zapata - "I would rather die on my feet than live on my knees." He will not bow down to the establishment.

    "If you love me
    Won't you let me know?"

    Again - a cry out for love!!

    "I don't want to be a soldier
    With the captain of some sinking ship
    Would stow far below"

    Who wants to fight for a lie?? Who wants to fight for someone who will only stab you in the back?

    "If you love me
    Why'd you let me go?"

    Perhaps this fits in best with the idea mentioned above that this the world crying out to us... why and how did we let things get so bad??

    "I took my love down to Violet Hill
    There we sat in snow
    All that time she was silent still"

    I don't know if I have this right, but this line makes me think of another MLK, Jr. quote - "In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."

    "So if you love me
    Won't you let me know?

    If you love me,
    Won't you let me know?"

    So if you love the world, for God's sake take action. Speak out against the regime!!!
    violet_hillon May 03, 2008   Link
  • +3
    General CommentThis is what I think the whole song is about:

    Timeline of Afghanistan (December 2001)
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Monday, December 3, 2001
    News reports state that Australian, British, French, German and Russian special forces are on the ground in Afghanistan in addition to U.S. special forces and marines.

    Regarding the snow, this is what happened in Afghanistan, on december 4th 2001:

    First snow warns of humanitarian disaster

    Aid hampered by weather, bandits and infighting

    Tuesday December 4 2001

    The first heavy snowfalls of what looks like becoming a very cruel winter blanketed northern Afghanistan yesterday, imperilling the lives of hundreds of thousands of people at risk from cold, hunger and inadequate shelter and raising fears of an impending humanitarian emergency.

    Here are the links:

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…

    guardian.co.uk/world/2001/dec/04/…

    The rest of the song is mainly a social critics. As we all know, the US are becoming more and more religious and the line between religion/state are becoming thinner. The purpose of churches now is to make profit, and banks are becoming places of worship, that means that MONEY is becoming what we all believe in: The Oil War (Iraq War), and etc.

    Yes, I think it's something like a soldier that is realizing what's happening and has a "wake up call", asking his family (father, girlfriend, etc) to help him out.
    redsaberon April 30, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI actually don't think this is about war at all. It certainly has a dark and heavy tone, but I think it may be about something a little deeper than war and corruption. If Coldplay wanted to write a song about that, I think they would do it in a way that wasn't so obvious, a la Rush of Blood to the Head.

    I think this song is about the speaker's battles with love. A common theme throughout many of Coldplay's songs (namely, the Scientist) is being trapped in a cycle of bad relationships, where the speaker is trying to find love so badly that he either lets himself overthink things and consequently ruin his relationship or lets himself get consumed by the relationship and not stand up for what's best for him. Well, I think this song fits in somewhere with that theme, except here the speaker is finally taking a stand for himself.

    For one, the repetition of the song really distinguishes this song; the guitar just hammers the same notes for measures on end, and the oft repeated lines ("if you love me...") suggest a cycle, that this is something he keeps doing. Frustration is the best word to describe it; the song sounds immensly frustrated, and the cries to "let me know" are his desperate attempts to find out if he has found love, because (as the frustration suggests) he is again in a disfunctional relationship.

    The sudden change at the end of the song where it gets very soft is not meant to be a relief from the anger. I think it represents the speaker giving in once again; while he had this emotional charge where he was demanding to know what the deal was, where he actually was taking control of his own life, he suddenly loses it and I think it's because of the overall lack of self-confidence that again is in many Coldplay songs. At the end of the song, he gets soft and is no longer demanding, but pleading with the other person, and at the end of the song he still doesn't get an answer. He tried to be forceful and failed, with neither method giving him any result.

    The snow imagery is meant to give a sense of bleakness, of desperation. The snow is meant to conjur up images of grandeur, matching the emotional weight of the subject matter. I don't think the "banks" he's talking about are the monetary exchange centers you think the lyrics to mean, but rather snow banks; they're so large that they're like Cathedrals, and the fog is so thick and powerful that it seems like God's omnipresence. I don't think this is so much social criticism as it is imagery used to explain the speaker's feeling of being lost in his own world. The snow represents a blank slate, the promise of starting over, but he feels so insecure in his own head that the possibility of a new relationship is too huge and terrifying.

    Now, another possibility that I really like is that the song is about the speaker's relationship with God. Perhaps the speaker is crying out to God "If you love me, won't you let me know" because he feels so forgotten or unloved in his own world.

    I don't know, the entire song just gives a sense of loneliness, what with the imagery, and I think the concept of Violet Hill, a place marked by a purple hue yet is covered in "white snow," is meant to represent a hidden love that the speaker is trying to find. The white snow will either melt away (perhaps meaning he has found love) or stay (meaning a new chance for finding love) but all he needs is an answer so he can move on. Without it, he can do nothing at Violet Hill and stay in his state of insecurity, hence the frustration and anger.

    What do you think?
    OnTheBorderLineon May 16, 2008   Link
  • +2
    My InterpretationOne half is a love story, the other is about the crisis.

    "Was a long and dark December"

    Crisis began December 2007.

    "From the windows they were watching
    While we froze down below"

    Inequality.

    "When the future's architectured
    By a carnival of idiots on show"

    Carnaval of idiots = corporatocrats.

    "When the banks became cathedrals"

    Banks as ultimate economic authority.

    "And the fog
    Became God"

    Fog = circumlocution used in economy.

    "I don't want to be a soldier
    With the captain of some sinking ship"

    Soldier = wage slave.
    Sinking ship = capitalist infinite growth paradigm.
    Oneiromanceron June 29, 2011   Link
  • +2
    My InterpretationI think this song tells the story of a reluctant soldier who had to leave his girlfriend/wife to fight and die in a war. This song condemns the pointless wars waged by religious and political leaders and the loss of the lives of ordinary people who are forced to fight for something they don't believe in.
    bowenngon January 05, 2012   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

Back to top
explain