Pretty Green

On This Day: Trouble by Coldplay

“Trouble” is a song recorded by Coldplay for their debut album, Parachutes. The band wrote the song and co-produced it with British record producer Ken Nelson. The song repeats the word “trouble” throughout the lyrics, and its musicscape is minimalist built around a piano.

The song was released on 26 October 2000 as the album’s third single. It reached number 10 on the UK Singles Chart, making it the band’s second Top 10 single in the country. Although “Trouble” failed to chart on the main singles chart in the United States, the music press deemed it almost as successful as its predecessor, “Yellow”. Two different music videos for the single were released.

According to Coldplay’s vocalist, Chris Martin, the song’s writing was inspired by his own behaviour. Martin recalls, “There were some bad things going in our band … the song is about behaving badly towards somebody you really love and I was certainly doing that to some members of the band.” He added that he supposed it was about time to act of a knobhead. The four members of Coldplay are credited as co-writers of “Trouble”.

British record producer Ken Nelson and the band produced “Trouble” for their debut album, Parachutes. The track was recorded four times before the band got the take they preferred. The backing track was first recorded, and each time they add to see if it was working. They, however, decided that the first three versions were not “working”. The last take was recorded into Pro Tools with a shaker to provide the rhythm to the track. For the backing track, Will Champion played the drums and Martin on the piano which they recorded in a little wooden room. After Guy Berryman’s bass was recorded, guitarist Jonny Buckland added the guitar section. In recording the piano section of the track, the band used two microphones—one was brighter-sounding and the other had a fuller sound. Nelson, who wanted to keep the song simple, chose the fuller sound microphone for the mixing.

“Trouble” was mixed in New York by American mix engineer Michael Brauer. The initial mixed version, which was sent back to the band and Nelson, fell short of their desired quality, so it had to be redone. According to Nelson, “the vocal was overcompressed and the piano was too bright”. Despite this, Nelson did not blame Brauer because he was recording the album when the track was being mixed