“The Scientist”

It’s weird how a chord progression can make you feel.

I’m not sure how to qualify that, because there are a bunch of different emotions that can come from a bunch of different chord progressions, and also it’s been a very long time since I’ve been able to talk about music in the way of its mechanics as well as the actual experience of it as a listener. I’ve still got a pretty good ear for pitch and tone, but that’s more like a physical skill than anything else, and if you’ve got it, you’ve got it, and if you don’t, you get a Korg Tuner. Talking about whether or not you know how to feel a rhythm is different from talking about the names attached to the actual composition of a song, and I’m not so practiced at the latter anymore.

But I’ve been listening to “The Scientist” by Coldplay, which has some melodic similarities to “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen. I’m not a super fan of Coldplay if I’m being honest—they don’t usually do it for me, and the summer “Viva la Vida” came out and was played on loop at Borders was also the summer I happened to spend most of my time (and money) at that bookstore, which kind of ruined it for me. So I’m coming from a position of not particularly liking Coldplay, because I think they’re a little overrated, but. But.

It would be a lie to say that there’s nothing about that song that does something to me emotionally, and it would be a lie to pretend that I dislike Coldplay so much that I would say I feel nothing. The lyrics themselves (the thing that I am probably most qualified to speak about) are relatively simple, and I don’t think alone they would do that much, but again, it’s the music itself.

I’ve gotten over the part of my life where I thought I needed to resist liking popular musicians like Coldplay or the Beatles because I thought they were overrated. Dear High School Me: It’s okay to admit that you feel something and you understand why these songs resonate so much with so many other people. Dear High School Me: You were in band, and you probably had a better understanding of musical theory than I do now, and you should have known better than to pretend to dislike things just to be contrarian.

There are other songs, obviously, with the relatively simple combination of music and lyrics that become significantly more important and more impactful due to their relation to each other. There are a lot of songs like that, in fact.

But it’s weird to think about the way music plays with our brains and how something as simple as a “major lift” can make it feel like our hearts are being physically moved.


Author: jillboger

Part time writer. Editor-in-Chief for the Bridge volume 13, former EIC for The Odyssey at BSU. My glasses protect my secret identity.

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