Talk (Coldplay song)

"Talk" is a song by the British rock band Coldplay. Built around a motif from Kraftwerk's 1981 song "Computer Love", it was written by all members of the band and appeared on their third album, X&Y. In the United States, the song entered at number 86 on the Billboard Hot 100 and elsewhere in the world its success varied. It peaked at number one in the Netherlands' Dutch Top 40, becoming the band's first number one single there.

Coldplay - Talk (Single).jpg
Single by Coldplay
from the album X&Y
B-side"Sleeping Sun"
Released19 December 2005 (2005-12-19)
GenreAlternative rock
  • 5:11 (album version)
  • 4:29 (international radio edit)
  • 4:05 (US radio edit)
  • Danton Supple
  • Coldplay
Coldplay singles chronology
"Fix You"
"The Hardest Part"
Music video
"Talk" on YouTube

The song received positive reviews, with critics noting the music's sound and memorable lyrics. Both the song and its "Thin White Duke" remix were nominated for the 2007 Grammy Awards, the latter of which won in the category of Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical.


Coldplay had difficulties with the recording sessions for months, as to the sound of the track.[1][2] They were skeptical in deciding to add "Talk" to the final track listing of X&Y.[1] During the recording sessions, which had seen the band scrap huge amounts of material, the song was left out when they sent early versions of the album to its record label, Parlophone. The song, however, made it to the track list, after it was properly mixed.[1]

Chris Martin singing "Talk" during the band's Twisted Logic Tour in Hong Kong, 2006.

When asked about the development of the song by, vocalist Chris Martin said, "From that version, [a version that heard, while visiting the band in the studio] we went and did a whole other version of it. A whole other song. What happened with the song 'Talk' is that it was all going great and then someone said 'That should be the first single' and we all just freaked out and scrapped it all. [...] We’ve just mixed it and it sounds great. I think we’ve had such pain getting to that place, I’m not sure anyone quite knows what to do with it anymore. When we heard it mixed properly, it sounded mega."[1]

The band received permission from the electronic music German band Kraftwerk to use the main riff from its song "Computer Love", from its 1981 studio album Computer World, for "Talk", replacing Kraftwerk's synthesizers with guitars.[3][4][5] In a track-by-track interview given by the band on X&Y, bassist Guy Berryman reported that in response to the band's request, Kraftwerk founding member Ralf Hütter "said something like, 'Yes, you can use it, and thank you very much for asking my permission, unlike that bastard Jay-Z'."[6] Martin also recalled in a 2007 article in Q magazine the process of requesting permission to use the melody: He sent a letter through the lawyers of the respective parties and several weeks later received an envelope containing a handwritten reply that simply said ″yes″.[7]

The band recorded three separate versions of the single; the one recorded on X&Y was based on an early cut of the song.[8] An early version of the track – with a different set of lyrics – was leaked onto the internet in early 2005.[9] The track was originally intended to be a B-side for the song "Speed of Sound", before becoming the last addition to X&Y's track listing.[3]


The track begins with a dark, desolate synthesizer beat, resembling 'howling wind', with electric guitar riffs being heard in the background. This slow introduction sets the course for the song's hypnotic pace, with Will Champion adding a metronomic beat to the drums throughout the song.[10][11] As previously noted, the song features the main hook from Kraftwerk's "Computer Love", replicated by Jonny Buckland's electric guitar riffs throughout much of the track. Buckland also uses the hook as a chiming note for more abrasive riffs during the bridge (or breakdown) near the end of the song.[10][11] A string section can be heard during the choruses and before the start of the bridge. Guy Berryman also plays uptempo bass lines to complement the track's pace, featuring slower, more abrasive riffs during the song's verses and bridge.

In the fourth line of the second verse, Martin sings: "Or write a song nobody had sung/Or do something that's never been done."[12][13] The third line of the third verse is: "Tell me how do you feel?/Well I feel like they're talking in a language I don't speak/And they're talking it to me."[12] In the fifth verse, Martin summarises about an individual who is lost and trying to discover the unknown: "So you don't know where you're going/But you want to talk/And you feel like you're going where you've been before/You'll tell anyone who will listen but you feel ignored."[12]

According to Josh Tyrangiel of Time magazine, the meaning to "Talk" is based on how Martin "wants to teach us how to feel better about ourselves, and his lessons have the moral superiority disguised as sensitivity that marked Bono's mighty mullet period."[14] Tyrangiel interpreted the lyrics, "Are you lost or incomplete/ Do you feel like a puzzle, you can't find your missing piece/ Tell me how you feel", with Martin begging in the song.[14]


Coldplay released "Talk" in the UK and US on 19 December 2005 as the album's third single.[15] The single was pressed with two B-sides: "Gravity" and "Sleeping Sun".[15][16]

"Talk" peaked at number 10 in the UK Singles Chart on 31 December 2005.[17] The song charted at number 86 on the Billboard Hot 100 and reached number five on the Billboard Hot Modern Rock Tracks in 2005.[18] The song was released early in the Netherlands,[15] thus charting in the Dutch Top 40. It reached number one the closing week of 2005. The band performed the song live at the 2005 MTV Europe Music Awards in Lisbon, Portugal, the 2006 Juno Awards in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and the 2006 Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, California.[15][19]


Coldplay performing "Talk" during their 2005 Twisted Logic Tour

Critics were positive towards the song. In the PopMatters review of the album, critic Adrian Begrand wrote: "It's the excellent, and much talked-about 'Talk' that has the band showing tremendous creativity, delving straight into mid-'70s krautrock, and piecing together a gorgeous pop song."[10] Bud Scoppa of Paste magazine wrote: "'Talk' stands out as an anthem in an album full of them."[20] Dan Tallis of the BBC noted that the track was "fantastic" and "positively gargantuan".[21] Jonathan Keefe of Slant magazine wrote: "'Talk' is given one of the album's most memorable melodies, but its impact is reduced by the song's structure, in which the lead guitar echoes Martin's vocal melody after every line, so that melody becomes tiresome well before the first chorus hits."[22] Despite the positive reception of "Talk", Martin has stated that Berryman dislikes it, and thus they no longer perform the song live.[23]

The song was remixed by Jacques Lu Cont, with the title "Talk (Thin White Duke Mix)".[24] The song by Lu Cont won the coveted Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical award at the 2007 Grammy Awards.[25][26] "Talk" was also nominated for a Grammy award in the category of Best Rock Performance by a duo or Group with Vocals.[25]

The song was also used as the basis of a downloadable hoax track titled "Talk to David" produced as an April Fools' Day prank by the British newspaper The Guardian. This featured lyrics purporting to give support to Conservative opposition party leader David Cameron.[27]

The song was featured heavily in the season two CSI: NY episode "Jamalot", in which the character Danny Messer plays the song as a ringtone on his cell phone.[28] The band's American record label, Capitol Records, paid for promotional consideration to place the song in the episode and for the character to talk about Coldplay.[28]

Music videoEdit

The music video for "Talk" was helmed by director/photographer Anton Corbijn.[15][29] Filming of the video took place on 5 and 6 November 2005 at Ealing Studios, London, England.[15] The black-and-white clip invokes a B movie science fiction theme, with imagery ranging from a flying saucer to 3D glasses. The main plot line of the music video features the band as astronauts landing on an alien planet, where they re-activate a dormant robot, who eventually eats them and their spaceship as they are attempting to fly away.



Track listingsEdit

UK Promo CD single (released in early November 2005)
1."Talk" (Radio Edit)4:29
7" Vinyl R6679
1."Talk" (Radio Edit)4:29
CD CDR6679
1."Talk" (Radio Edit)4:29
2."Sleeping Sun"3:09
1."Talk" (Radio Edit)4:29
3."Talk" (video)4:59
4."Speed of Sound" (video)4:29
5."Behind-the-scenes footage from "Talk" video shoot" (video)2:00
The Remixes - 12" Vinyl & CD-5, (released 6 March 2006) 0946 3 54897 2 9/C2-54897/0946 3 46924 1 0/E1-46924
1."Talk" (Thin White Duke mix)8:17
2."Talk" (François K dub)9:04
3."Talk" (Junkie XL mix)11:45
Australia CD Single Capitol C2-50717
1."Talk" (Radio Edit)4:29
2."Sleeping Sun"3:09
Canada & Japan CD Singles Toshiba-EMI TOCP-40185
1."Talk" (Radio Edit)4:29
2."Sleeping Sun"3:09
US CD Promo Single Toshiba-EMI TOCP-40185
1."Talk" (Radio Edit)4:05
2."Talk" (album version)5:12
US The Remixes digital EP (released 7 February 2006)
1."Talk" (Junkie XL mix)11:45
2."Talk" (François K dub)9:04
3."Talk" (Thin White Duke mix)8:27


A special three part single was released over three weeks in December featuring live tracks recorded at the Gelredome in 2005.

CD1 (digipak) (released 2 December 2005) E2-49093
1."Talk" (Radio edit)4:27
2."Swallowed in the Sea" (Live in Holland)4:22
3."God Put a Smile upon Your Face" (Live in Holland)4:22
CD2 (released 9 December 2005) 3490962
1."Talk" (album version)4:11
2."Square One" (Live in Holland)5:13
3."Clocks" (Live in Holland)7:05
CD3 (released 16 December 2005) 3490972
1."Talk" (Live in Holland)5:20
2."Til Kingdom Come" (Live in Holland)4:27
3."Fix You" (Live in Holland)7:10

Charts and certificationsEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d "'Talk' drives Coldplay crazy". NME News. Retrieved 13 October 2008.
  2. ^ Willman, Chris (27 March 2005). "Summer Music Preview: Coldplay". Entertainment Weekly.
  3. ^ a b Cohen, Jonathan (4 April 2005). "Coldplay Finalizes New Album Track List". Billboard. Retrieved 12 November 2008.
  4. ^ Dalton, Stephen (16 June 2005). "Werk in progress". The Age. Retrieved 13 October 2008.
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External linksEdit