Looking at the stars; look how they shine for me and everything I do. A reflection of the effect of Coldplay’s “Yellow” on my life.

A song full of nothing means the absolute world to me. It isn’t the lyrics that make this song my all-time favorite but rather the memories and moments attached to it that bring me joy. Before I was born, my father would play songs by Coldplay all the time; they were his favorite too. While my mother was pregnant with me, he would blast them, which somehow engraved them in my DNA. Even after I was born, it never stopped. In fact, Coldplay started to be on all the time.

Yellow played on repeat in my home and especially in the car, where we would go crazy to the beat. As I sat in the backseat, my father would touch my knee from the driver’s seat, singing the end of the verses: “And it was all…” “Lelloooo,” I joined in. A song I filled with joyful memories became my world, but I always wondered, why yellow? What does it mean? What does the song mean?

Coldplay is a British rock band that formed in London in 1997 while the members were attending university; the band has been together ever since. Over the years, they have put out nine studio albums and six live albums. “Yellow” is the fifth track on their first official album “Parachutes.” Chris Martin, Coldplay’s frontman, explained in the band’s biography that “Yellow” refers to the mood of the band: “Brightness and hope and devotion.”

In an interview, Martin explained that when the band was recording their song “Shiver” for the “Parachutes” album, they went outside to take a breather. It was a clear night in London when their producer, Ken Nelson, told the band, “Look at the stars!” Martin kept that line in his head before connecting it with the way Neil Young sang “stars” curving the “ar” sound. Martin went back inside to compose an acoustic sound to put the song together, and it just kept flowing out. He looked over and saw the Yellow Pages lying in the corner and sang, “and it was all yellow.” The song came together within hours and became the lyrical masterpiece we know and adore today.

Martin appeared on The Howard Stern Show in November 2011, explaining that the song “doesn’t have any meaning whatsoever.” There is no story, no memory, nothing. No one understood. How could this perfect song be nothing more than just a bowl of meaningless words?

This may just be nothing but words to him, but to me, it’s my best friend; it’s my father. The lights referenced in Coldplay’s “Fix You” guided my father home when I was 10 years old, which is why the “Yellow” Coldplay wrote about in 2000 brings my father to mind and the dear memories that come along with him.

Yellow is often associated with happiness and joy. That is exactly what this song does for me; it brings back the joyful memories I hold onto so dearly.

My father would take me on day trips up into the mountains to be surrounded by God’s beautiful creation. He taught me that he is living proof that God takes what is broken and ugly to “turn into something beautiful.”

Having lived with addiction for so many years and finally overcoming it so that his first daughter wouldn’t have the life he did showed that he would do anything for me. He’d make the stars shine for me and what I do. It reminds me of the lyrics, “I swam across. I jumped across for you. Oh, what a thing to do. ‘Cause you were all yellow.” 

There are certain lyrics I can connect to memories and other things he would say or do that remind me of a lyric. My father would take me night fishing on the Coronado Ferry Landing Pier in San Diego where we would “Look at the stars. Look how they shine for you. And everything you do. Yeah, they were all yellow.” Everything my father did was for me, which led me to where I am now. 

There are, of course, other songs that remind me of him such as “Viva La Vida,” “Fix You,” “The Scientist,” and “Clocks,” but they don’t mean as much to me as this song does. I have had the opportunity to see Coldplay in concert three times, with my father watching from a sky full of stars away each time. 

Listening to all of the songs we would listen to and sing together and having to sing them without him now brings back so many emotions. But when “Yellow” comes on, all I feel is pure joy because I know that by living out the accomplishments we planned, I am keeping that “Yellow” light alive. His legacy starts with me, and, piece by piece, I am putting it together so that those yellow lights, the stars, can shine not only for me but for my family and loved ones.