The Scientist


Learn English with music in 3 steps:


Listen to the song
Enjoy listening to the music using the video below. Make a mental note of any interesting words or parts, but don't worry if you can't understand yet. No video? Watch on YouTube.


Play the explanation
Grab a hot drink and relax. I'll explain each line of the song for you. Use the explanations to understand the song lyrics, but don't worry about knowing every word that I use to explain. For an extra challenge listen without the transcript.


[Clickable Transcript]

Hello to everybody out there. Welcome to Explained in English. My name is Ki and today I'm explaining the song The Scientist by Coldplay.

Coldplay is one of those groups that's just really perfect for learning English. The voice is clear and easy to understand, the music is nice to listen to, and the lyrics are usually very relatable. That's definitely the case with this song, The Scientist. The Scientist is a love song, but it's not your classic, mushy, sentimental, *kissy noise*, “I love you, love you”, kind of love song. Instead, it's about a couple that keeps breaking up and getting back together; ending the relationship and starting it again. And they keep going round and round in this circle, in this cycle of being together and then not being together.

But why is it called The Scientist? When I think of a scientist, I think of someone who is doing experiments. They're testing things out and looking for results, and a scientist is very data-driven. They're supposed to be carefully tracking results and using reason or being very rational about their conclusions. We’ll come back to this idea later in the song. Let's return to our couple. These two people are not together. They're not in a relationship but it's going to start again. The first verse begins with the line:


[Verse 1]
Come up to meet you, tell you I'm sorry
You don't know how lovely you are
I had to find you, tell you I need you
Tell you I set you apart
Tell me your secrets, ask me your questions
Oh let's go back to the start
Running in circles, coming up tails
Heads on a science apart

Nobody said it was easy
It's such a shame for us to part
Nobody said it was easy
No one ever said it would be this hard
Oh take me back to the start

[Verse 2]
I was just guessing at numbers and figures
Pulling the puzzles apart
Questions of science, science and progress
Do not speak as loud as my heart
Tell me you love me, come back and haunt me
Oh and I rush to the start
Running in circles, chasing our tails
Coming back as we are

It's very interesting that Chris Martin, the writer of this song, named it The Scientist. He keeps performing these experiments in his relationship and they keep ending in the same way: they break up.

He's looking at the data. He's analyzing it, going back and trying to figure out what went wrong. What could he do or change to make it work? And so, in this sense he's a scientist. He's experimenting over and over again. Analyzing the results and then experimenting again. But in another sense, he's a lousy scientist because he's trying to get a certain result. He's not fairly looking at the data. He knows what his head or what his logic is telling him, but his heart is stronger, his heart is speaking louder. In the end, that's what this song is really about. It's that timeless and very human struggle of head versus heart, and which one do you follow?

Find full albums of 60's and 70's songs on my website You can help me create a global language learning community by sharing this episode with anyone you think would enjoy learning English with music. Thanks for listening everybody. I wish you all a very lovely week. See you next time. Bye bye!



Well done!
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