MICHAEL THORNER CONTENT DESIGN

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The Scientist ( Coldplay Cover ) 09.27.10

I was already a Coldplay fan by the time their second album, A Rush Of Blood To The Head (2002) came out, having purchased their first album, Parachutes (2000), and having played it to death. I was so caught up with life and work at the time the second album came out, I just didn’t get the chance to pick it up. I had heard Clocks and In My Place on the radio, and liked the tracks, but I really started getting intrigued when I heard someone play Politik in the office, while we were working.

In the summer of 2002, two sisters who are friends of mine came across tickets to see Coldplay live. We were fortunate enough to have first row centre seats at the beginning of the second tier at Molson Amphitheatre, essentially what felt like the best seats in the house. Coldplay proceeded to blow us away with a show fit for arenas the world over.

That is the first time I heard The Scientist, which has become my favourite Coldplay song. Not very long after seeing the live show, I purchased the Coldplay Live dvd, a document of the 2002 world tour. I studied the song, marveling at its seeming simplicity, yet admiring the resonant lyric that spoke to me, and probably anyone else who has listened to it as intently as I have, well-constructed classic pop ballad as it is.

I’m also a fan of Aimee Mann‘s live cover of The Scientist. She plays it in a different key from the original. Not only do I play it in the same key as the original Coldplay recording, I actually taped the wow on my Roland keyboard to step it down by almost a full stop. I don’t know what that wow lever is called. I call it a wow. Wow.

I must acknowledge the wonderful playing skills of my musical partner in this homespun capture, Alex Cheung. He was patient enough to write down the arrangement I heard in my head, and then play it in one take! I made him detune his violin as well. I have no idea why it was so important for me to play it in the exact pitch as the original recording, but it was. Other than that though, I hope we did a unique reading of this song, the original of which should be considered a standard.

We originally laid this down as reference, hoping to get an acoustic guitar on it too at some point, but we liked the feel of it the way it was, so what the hell, here it is. I’m unapologetic about the sound of my inexpensive keyboard. It’s not a grand or a beautiful upright. I know. “Nobody said it was easy…