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My interpretation/meaning of Violet Hill

FedEx

New Coldplayer
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Apr 29, 2008
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149
First off I think it's a great song, nothing like their past work but refreshing as a result. Although I think I've overplayed it (about 15 times).

There are a few key themes in the song, first is the long and dark december with the WHITE snow, second is the Violet Hill, third is the references to war. In other words I think Chris is singing the song from the viewpoint of a soldier about to be sent off to war for reasons he cannot control and thus has no other choice.

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


He's setting the mood of the song here, a very cold desperate mood that is highlighted by the piano only being played during these lines.

Then the song gets going, as if to explain something has happened, i.e. an event has started.

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


Here I think "they" refers to those who initiated/planned/perpetrated the war, and they are now sitting up there in their warm safe homes watching below those they sent into the cold (war) freeze (suffer).

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


here the carnival of idiots refers to the perpetrators of the war (imo george bush et al), people who aren't very bright but have planned out the future of so many (the soldiers going to war and the victims of the war as well as overall implications). He is saying that when this happens it is best to lie low and out of sight or risk being sucked into their plans.

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


he's telling his lover that now is the time to tell him if she loves him, for she may never see him again as he is being shipped off to war.

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

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

This indicates that now some time has passed from the start of war, and it is getting nowhere and with a huge cost in lives and money. Desperate soldiers look to god in hopes he will save them (their rifles a place to store the bibles) and banks (due to the high financial cost) are now worshipped like cathedrals by those who started the war (again, imo bush et al) in hopes of getting help with paying for the war.

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

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

The soldier is now sure he will die soon in this war, and again tells his lover that if she loves him she'd better tell him soon. It also seems like he's come to the realization that being buried in honor is pointless because he will be dead, and is in other words, not all it's cracked up to be.

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


It seems now the soldier is having second thoughts, and decides to desert the army and run. He doesn't want to be a soldier anymore especially with the idiotic perpetrators (bush et al?) as the leaders, and sees how pointless the whole war is and that no one will win and everyone will lose. He does what any sane person does with those odds.

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

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

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


Here "violet hill" refers to a snowy hill turned violet from the blood of those who died in the war, and after running away he's returned and taken his love there to show her why he had to desert the army and what he faced and suffered. But now the army is after him for deserting, and thus again he will be apart from his lover. So again desperately he asks his lover that if she loves him she better let him know for she may never see him again. Also here the piano is the only instrument playing, to highlight the sadness and the coldness of the situation.


In short, the song is about the pointlessness and desperation that war brings, and how there is no winner either way. It highlights how soldiers are often doomed wether they fight in the war or choose to run and how sad and desperate the situation becomes. It's also fairly political with references to governments (george bush et al?) and how they initiate such sadness and desperation with no regard to anyone but themselves and no consideration of the consequences. Anyways that's my interpretation, I think there could be many for the army deserting part, and thus feel free to voice your own interpretation here :).
 

JDFSX1

-Proud Coldplayer-
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Apr 29, 2008
Messages
199
That was a cool interpurtation of the song, I really enjoyed reading it. I myself havent got a clue as to what the song is about :laugh3:. Maby Chris will shead some lite on it for us all in the upcomming months.

-Jesse-

Boston MA.
 

Littlewhiteshadows

New Coldplayer
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Dec 21, 2005
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460
Not sure about the hill being turned violet by blood, since red and white make pink, however, otherwise, good interpretation.
 

sebrat

I used to rule the world
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Dec 11, 2006
Messages
132
interesting - i think war is definitely the dominant theme here.

i love the way Chris mentioned that this album's a 'plagiarist's dream' - he got the 'banks like cathedrals' line from U2's forgettable 'The Playboy Mansion'.
 

Mister Snig

Spoony Bard
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Joined
Apr 28, 2006
Messages
143
Great interpretation. To me, Violet Hill is about unrequited love against the backdrop of a declining economy and a hectic political climate. Then again, I sort of personalized the song's meaning to better fit what I'm going through now.
 

melanieau

Livin' life in Technicolor
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May 15, 2007
Messages
11,205
^^:laugh3::laugh3:

I don't know what the song means but for some reason when it was playing all I could see in my mind was the cover art...:thinking:
 

CRYSTAL

Livin' life in Technicolor
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Joined
Jun 29, 2006
Messages
4,717
it may be also like if the people they see us they may stop you and me,or
if i dead you may be left with sorrow and can never be able to express your love,
so as soon as possible make it like that.



i know that any one has to be open to express their feelings especially love because they may swear as the time always revolves and will not be the same in your hands.
 

FedEx

New Coldplayer
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Apr 29, 2008
Messages
149
Not sure about the hill being turned violet by blood, since red and white make pink, however, otherwise, good interpretation.
Well if there is a lot of blood, it is usually purple since that is the color it takes when engorged with oxygen. So purple on the snow would likely be violet :) or we can assume the snow won't contribute much color wise since there would be too much blood.
 

RunForTheHills

AKA Zemy101
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Joined
May 2, 2006
Messages
4,324
I like the interpretation, some interesting ideas there. I liked near the start where you said that when the guitar kicks in after the first verse, its like an event has started, and things are heating up. Cool idea.
I'd wait till all of the lyrics have been verified though, before going into too much detail. I still like it though!
 

ForrestTheFish

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Jul 4, 2007
Messages
60
Violet Hill Interpretation

My teacher and I listened to this together after school today, and he's also one of the people who I talk to about my problems at home with my family (parents and sister). Him and I went through the lyrics and figured out something that completely fits perfectly. I can completely relate to it and it just may have been what Chris was writing about: His troubles with his parents/family. It's my first written interpretation on a song, so if I make any mistakes or anything make sure to cut me a little slack :)

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

The line "Was a long and dark December" means that he remembers that he had a very hard time with his family...
"From the rooftops I remember:" They were not ready to have children when they did, and he could see from an outside perspective that he was better than they were.
"There was snow
White snow:" The snow could be considered as what his family had put on him... Maybe his parents tried to make themselves seem like the "good guys" in his situation, when really they weren't and at one point realized just that.


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

He clearly remembers that his family was watching over him... trying to keep him safe and do the best job they could do with protecting him... but they worked too hard at it (overprotectiveness or maybe abuse) and it ended up hurting him (overprotectiveness or maybe abuse).because he couldn't do anything about it (he was freezing down below with no control over anything)


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

When his future was being "created" or "planned out" by the only people who shouldn't be planning it out for him, he needed to "lie low" and try find his own path without telling them.


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

He is asking himself a question. If his family loved him, why don't they show it? Why didn't they give him the loving, caring environment that he needed?


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

It was a very hard time for him, and as he was growing up and learning more about the world, he realized that material items are what mainly runs our world... The banks representing the material items, or money, and how those material items became "cathedrals;" things that people worshipped a little too much. He realized that all these material items become like a god (they control people) to everyone and are just the fog of what is really important: love (this takes us back to the stanza where he is asking himself why his family wasn't giving him the healthy environment that he needed.) Also, his parents may have a way of doing things that don't make sense to him and are only hurting him, and he realized that he needs to look past it and grow up... try to get past all the things that they do to him and find his own way in life and finding the kind of love that is good for him.


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

The priests (his parents) in his life held onto their "bibles" (thoughts) so much that they stuck with it through everything which ended up hurting him... they were pointing their "rifles" (things that they did that they thought would end up doing good for him when it was actually bad for him... and the one at gunpoint [Chris] was the only one to realize that what they were doing was not good for him and was actually hurting him). The cross (the laws and thoughts of the family which he had no control over and who was hurting him) was always held aloft and never taken down.


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

His parents are "burying him" (bringing him down and causing a lot of depression)... and when he hits the bottom he wants them to honor him and make him feel better, he doesnt want them to not keep handling things the way they're handling them. When his love for his family is unfolded and not hidden by his anger and disappointment in them, it seems like it is all opposed by them all over again... and that just makes him feel even worse. He wishes they would just finally help him find the way out of all his sadness that they have put on him.


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

Once again, he is asking himself a question. If his family loved him, why don't they show it? Why didn't they give him the loving, caring environment that he needed?


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

He doesn't want to be the soldier of his family... It is like he is pretending to be on their side and not show his parents what the effect of what they are doing to him really is... but at the same time he is against them, trying to find his way out and trying to live life in a way that is good for him. his whole family is sinking... they are a wreck, and the "snow," or what his parents are trying to get him to think is right, is at the lowest of all his problems now. He is beyond that.


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

If his parents love him, then why are they doing this to him? Why are they completely forgetting about how he might feel at the moment and how it will effect him in bad ways when he's older.


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

One of his siblings who he didn't get along and didn't really talk to finally came with him to talk and sit... and all those years she was completely silent with him and not anybody know about her problems and not trying to face them, instead avoiding them... doing so only hurt her in the long run.


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

Once again, he is asking himself a question. If his family loved him, why don't they show it? Why didn't they give him the loving, caring environment that he needed?


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

Once again, he is asking himself a question. If his family loved him, why don't they show it? Why didn't they give him the loving, caring environment that he needed?



What do you think? Thank you! :laugh3:
 

bta5857

Coldplayer
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Dec 31, 2005
Messages
178
Very interesting interpretation. I too had visions of a soldier's struggle when I listened to the song. I thought maybe it was just because I'm an old military brat and still live near a military base......... The intro to the song pulls me in--as if it's the stirring of the soldier's memories--and then bam, we're there with him reliving it all. "If you love me, why'd you let me go." What a sad sentiment for us all--not just one individual lover. Thanks for posting!
 

FedEx

New Coldplayer
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Apr 29, 2008
Messages
149
Also it is cool how the "Bam bam bam bam bam..." in the song may represent constant gun fire.

interesting interpretation ForrestTheFish, it seems the song can work for many different situations under a common theme: opression. Although I think your version works well, I still think that war was what chris was singing about, but perhaps in a way that it could apply to other situations as well.

deep down this is a very clever song.
 

chuck kottke

Gearwork for Clocks
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Jun 28, 2006
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8,417
Also it is cool how the "Bam bam bam bam bam..." in the song may represent constant gun fire.

interesting interpretation ForrestTheFish, it seems the song can work for many different situations under a common theme: opression. Although I think your version works well, I still think that war was what chris was singing about, but perhaps in a way that it could apply to other situations as well.

deep down this is a very clever song.
I think it's about someone in the military & stuck in the war somewhere too.. The "fog"of war, a sinking ship (the failing policy), the captain of the ship (whom we all know), and being buried in armor (blasts keep getting soldiers in armored vehicles).. And naturally, mixed with any number of themes and scenes - those of us laying low, waiting for it all to come to an end. Vietnam redux, unfortunate as it is. How many Presidents knew it wasn't going to succeed, but could never bring an end to it, for the sake of those who sacrificed, and not wanting to let their country down?? Almost like the Titanic, and the boiler men down below ordered to throw on more coal, as the ship plowed deeper into the cold water.. Very sad! They were sacrificed needlessly as well. What diplomacy and international consensus could do, giving the people their own initiative to change from within.. Well, just a personal view - it's got depth!
 

Pseudonym

Why She Loves Me?
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Apr 1, 2007
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23,185
Here's my interpritation. I do agree with the others, I think this song can mean whatever you want it to, like many other Coldplay songs.

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
First, it sets the mood of the song, then gives the feeling that someone in power (government) wathces as so many people are left helpless (poverty in Africa, maybe?)

When the future's architectured
By a carnival of idiots on show
You'd better lie low
Meaning that we really can't control our own futures, theyre controlled by powerful people (govnm't, Bush, etc.) and we really cant change anything. So just try to live your life and don't try to fight against the system cuz there's nothing you can do.

If you love me
Won't you let me know?
Just asking his love to be honest and let him know if she loves him back

Was a long and dark December
When the banks became cathedrals
And the fog
Became God
Long and dark December now reflects current times. Banks became cathedrals shows how the world has changed, how money is thought to be the key to happiness, when it used to be religion and living a good life. "Fog became God" compares God to fog, saying that he's always there, but cant really do anything (this is how many people today feel)

Priests clutched onto bibles
Hollowed out to fit their rifles
And the cross was held aloft
Once again, symbolism of how even bibles are used for violence, even priests are no longer peaceful, depsite belief in God.

Bury me in honor
When I’m dead and hit the ground
My Love is opposed when unfold
When I die, remember me for what I did good, and how I always opposed those who changed and started to become worse.

If you love me
Won't you let me know?
Once again, hoping that the one he loves would also tell him they loved him.

I don't want to be a soldier
With the captain of some sinking ship
With snow, far below
He does not want to give in and join the crowd as they ruin the world.

If you love me
Why'd you let me go?
Wondering why his love would not admit they loved him, and now it's too late.

I took my love down to Violet Hill
There we sat in snow
All that time she was silent still
Violet Hill is a peaceful place in his mind, where he can block out all the negativity of the changing world, where he and his love can continue being good.

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

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

Asking for his love to tell him she loves him now that it's just them.

This may be completely off, but it's just how it would pertain to me and my life. To me its actually an optimistic song, because it means hes not giving in and changing just because everyone else is. Hes going to continue to be who he truly is, whether or not the one he loves is there with him.
 

nothingtoseehere

Meh.
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always think I come up with the most farfetched theories compared to my classmates when it comes to analysing poems, which I suppose is similiar to lyric analysis... :D, so here goes...

I agree with the OP on most parts, especially how the song is divided into parts -- the beginning, with the pre-war situation, leading up to the second part where the persona has joined the war. The bit at the end though... Noticed he actually says, 'why did you let me go?' instead of the repetitive 'wont you let me go?'
It indicates how the 'soldier' persona regrets the fact that he joined the war...

Then the final verse sort of reflects the first verse, in that the piano comes in once again, reflecting how the persona is looking back into the past again, before he went off to war, almost as if he's suffering from this sort of psychological conflict, always regretting the fact that his love never answered him...


Yes, and I agree with the BAM BAM BAM of the beat... It almost reminds me of marching soldiers, too... This song is awesome, lyrically and structurally. :)

I dunno if I made sense, cuz I'm listening to music while I write this, and I can never make proper sense when I'm listening to loud music! :laugh3:
 

nothingtoseehere

Meh.
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Joined
Jan 11, 2005
Messages
2,960
Oh yeah, and the priests holding the bibles hollowed out to fit their bibles, and holding the cross aloft reminds me somewhat of the hyprocrisy of the Church during the Crusades, in which they used religion as an excuse for starting wars... They didnt hold rifles at the time, of course, but their excuse for the war was peace and love for God... Kind of like William Blake's view of religious authority, how they show an image of piety when in fact they're hiding a more dark side of them-- the greedy, power-hungry, warmongering side. :D
 
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