Lost! is the third track and third single on Coldplay's fourth album, Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends.
"Lost!" was released as a promotional single in September 2008 and is released as a four-track, download-only EP, on the 10th November 2008 worldwide.
It is described as a string-assisted song. It was drastically re-invented during the late stages of mixing for the album. The original song had a big hip-hop beat that was later dropped in favour of church organs and handclaps.
Upon the release of Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends Coldplay revealed that "Sing", from Blur's 1991 debut album Leisure, was a source of inspiration in having provided a starting point for "Lost!".
An alternate, acoustic recording of Lost! was also released, known as "Lost?". This version was one of the first LP4 tracks to be released to the public way before the album's release, appearing as the B-side to the Violet Hill CD single in Europe. It is also a bonus track on both the iTunes and Japanese CD releases of Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends.
On 3rd October 2008, Chris Martin revealed  that a remix of the song featuring rapper Jay-Z would be released.
According to drummer Will Champion in a fan mailout, "Lost!" had been developed long before they began recording tracks for Coldplay's fourth studio album, Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends, and was not getting completed. The track was created from scratch: "I was starting to get into using a particular drum programming programme. I was messing around with that and I built this beat up from scratch. ... Then Chris overheard it and played 'Lost!' over the top of it."
"Lost!" was one of the earliest songs the band worked on for the album. Coldplay revealed that "Sing", a track off English alternative rock band Blur's 1991 debut album Leisure, was a source of inspiration in having provided a starting point for writing "Lost!". While in Detroit, Michigan, for a concert tour, the band was listening to "Sing" in their dressing room. Once they went on stage for a soundcheck, they thought of writing a song based from it. According to guitarist Jonny Buckland, "We recorded some of it in a church up the road that's now a studio. In a huge room with a piano and organ going at the same time." In an interview with The Sun, Martin said, "The line in this song 'Just because I'm losing doesn't mean I'm lost' is what the whole record came out of because we were feeling down at the end of the last tour. That line arrived and it was, 'OK, that's how we kinda feel. We know we can improve." The ensuing track evolved in different versions.
Roadie #42 on Lost! during X&Y tour
In a Roadie #42 blog on Coldplay's official site on 3rd June 2010:
I remember first hearing Lost! during the X&Y tour. We were in an empty arena one afternoon in Chicago. Chris asked me to record a bunch of demos with just him onstage in the empty venue at the piano he plays in the gig. He put down about a dozen ideas that day, but I remember Lost! jumping out at me immediately as a great song, even as just a sketch in an echoey arena. The next time that I heard Lost! was when the album had been completed and we were making preparations for touring. It was like seeing a favourite nephew for the first time in years and saying "My how you've grown". (Although if I remember correctly, my exact quote at the time was "Wow, I've always loved this song, I'm really glad you didn't fuck it up..."). There are already several tunes for this next record that everyone has their eyes on - and plainly there is absolutely no intention of fucking them up.
The song's musicscape features a church organ riff, tribal drum-circle groove, and minimal handclaps. Towards the end of the track, it builds into a "rhythmically soaring, Edge-like" guitar solo. Coldplay's use of "exotic" instruments for majority of tracks in the album, including "Lost!", was a result of a goal in wanting to present their songs differently, something "which have never been heard" in previous releases. In a review Alex Denney of The Guardian, he described the music of "Lost!" as "tabla-assisted gospel-hop". Kitty Empire of The Guardian wrote in a review that "Lost!", "a great organ-driven tune, alive with handclaps and foot-stomps", is the most obvious homage to Canadian indie rock band Arcade Fire among other tracks off the album.
According to Chris Willman of Entertainment Weekly magazine, the lyrics to "Lost!" are "a lament about spiritual bereftness". Rolling Stone magazine's Will Hermes interpreted the lyrics as about "holding on against the odds that has the breathtaking loft" of "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For", a song off Irish band U2's 1987 album The Joshua Tree. The chorus to the lyrics is noted by Ian Youngs of BBC "a typical Chris Martin chorus that mixes insecurity with determination".
Release and reception
"Lost!" was released as a promotional CD single in September 2008. On 10 November 2008, Coldplay officially released a four-track digital EP of "Lost!", confirming the song's status as a single.
The song has been well-received by critics. Will Hermes of Rolling Stone magazine noted "Lost!" as "probably" the "album's most sublime pop moment". NME's critic Mark Beaumont had the same view of Hermes, complimenting, "It's not until ['Lost!'] – all church organ funkiness, stomporific handclap rhythms and Chris pouting like a preacher in a jacuzzi full of strippers – that [Viva la Vida] really hits its stride." Chris Jones of BBC writes, "... 'Lost!' seems to sport bongos in its mix, yet it's the plaintive voice with its vague sense of regret, the lifts from minor key piano forays into vast, pumping rock and also a strident optimism that people are going to come here for." Ryan Dombal of Pitchfork Media had the same sentiment: "Thanks to a bubbling bit of exotic percussion that wouldn't sound out of place on Peter Gabriel's latter-day LPs, 'Lost!' is transformed from Just Another Coldplay Song into a uniquely alluring smash and live staple for years to come." An article in The Guardian lambasted "Lost!": "This song is a deflated balloon, or, put another way, a used empty condom. He has, I think, merged visual, audio and textual into a kind of polysensory jam; no part of it works without the other two."
"Lost!" charted in some countries during the week of the album being released and due to high digital sales, despite not officially being a single at the time. It has charted most notably the United Kingdom where it peaked at number 54 in the UK Singles Chart and in the United States where it debuted at number 94 on the Billboard Hot 100. The single has peaked at number 10 on the Billboard Hot Modern Rock Tracks. Its UK peak made the single Coldplay's first to fail to chart in the UK Top 40 although considering the fact that it was not physically released.
Buoyed by the band's success at the 2009 Grammy Awards, a live Grammy performance of the single featuring Jay-Z was released exclusively to iTunes, spurring digital download sales. As a result, "Lost!" achieved a new peak position on the Billboard Hot 100, re-entering at number 40. Billboard called the collaboration a "gloomy instrumentation with a series of drums and claps that perfectly fits the lyrical content of the song and makes the transition from Martin's singing to Jay's rapping seem effortless." This makes "Lost!" Coldplay's fifth career Top 40 hit on the chart to date, and their third from Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends.
Digital download (EP)
- "Lost!" – 3:55
- "Lost?" – 3:42
- "Lost@" (live at United Center, Chicago) – 3:55
- "Lost+" (feat. Jay-Z) – 4:16
Promotional CD, Pt. 1
- "Lost!" (album version) – 3:55
- "Lost?" (acoustic version) – 3:42
- "Lost-" (instrumental version) – 3:59
Promotional CD, Pt. 2
- "Lost+" (with Jay-Z) – 4:18
- "Lost@" (live at United Center, Chicago) – 3:57
The following songs are different variations of "Lost!", each with a different punctuation mark in the title:
- Lost? is a separate recording of the song featuring only singer Chris Martin and a piano. It was initially released as the |B-side on the CD version of Violet Hill, later as a bonus track on the Japanese and iTunes Store editions of Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends and finally on the Lost! digital EP.
- Lost- (Lost! minus) is exactly the same as Lost!, minus vocals.
- Lost+ (Lost! plus) is exactly the same as Lost!, plus an extra vocal section by rapper Jay-Z during what is normally the guitar solo. It was premiered on BBC Radio 1 on 16 October 2008. This version of the song is also on Prospekt's March EP.
- Lost@ is a recording of the song performed live at the United Center, Chicago, US on 22 July 2008. This version also forms the basis for the single's music video.
The music video for Lost! was officially released on Coldplay's website  on 26 September 2008. It features a live performance of the song at United Center in Chicago, Illinois. The video was filmed and directed by Mat Whitecross.
Coldplay are also holding a contest in which fans submit homemade music videos for the "Lost?" acoustic version of the song. The winner will be awarded a pair of "ultra-VIP" tickets to one of their shows in London, which include backstage passes. Their video will also be featured on Coldplay's official website. 
"Lost!" charted in some countries during the week of the album being released and due to high digital sales, despite not officially being a single. It has charted most notably the United Kingdom where it peaked at number 55 on the U.K. Singles Chart and in the United States where it debuted at number 94 on the Billboard Hot 100 though is expected to rise considerably with the release of the song on CD and download in all countries.
The Oracle on Lost!
June 2, 2010 - submitted by Alex, United States of America
Q. Hi Oracle, I was listening to the Viva La Vida album for probably the millionth time, and I was wondering why Lost? was on the album when it already had Lost! It seems like it would have made more sense to put it on, say, Prospekt's March, or LRLRL.
P.S. USA misses Coldplay!
The Oracle replies:
Lost? was only available as a bonus track on the Japanese and iTunes release so wasn't on the original album format; we don't include the bonuses in our Recordings section. There was another version, Lost+ available on Prospekt's March - as you are probably aware.
April 27, 2010 - submitted by Andreas, United States of America
Q. Dear wisest Oracle,
Did Coldplay collaborate with B.o.B on his song "Not Lost", which is essentially a rap spin-off of Lost!?
Much thanks in response!
The Oracle replies:
I first heard that song in the back of a car en route to one of the Latin American shows. It was played to me by the band's manager and so I can tell you that Coldplay did not collaborate with B.o.B on the track; it's a sample use only.
June 8, 2009 - submitted by Kara, Malaysia
Q. Mr. Oracle,
I realize that in the Lost+ music video there is a double video shot. Is that true and I would like to know where is the place was? I realize at the beginning of the video I see Chris wear a white shirt whereas Guy wear a red shirt with a black vest. After Chris put down the guitar, the video switch into the two of them wear another shirt like coat they always wear it also appear Will and Jonny.
Oh..another one, I see the first video like an old view and the stage exactly almost the same!
Thanks for answer my question.
The Oracle replies:
The videos were directed by Mat Whitecross and filmed at United Center in Chicago on 22nd/23rd July 2008.
It's quite usual for live videos to be a hybrid of 2 shows where possible. It means that the director can give it a different feel just by using shots from both nights. The Live DVD 2003 was filmed over 2 nights also.
With the Lost videos Chris starts the song without his jacket and takes it off as he starts singing but the differences are very subtle. Obviously the main difference is the onstage television set, used to good effect to incorporate Jay Z's rap.
May 19, 2009 - submitted by Karen, France
Q. Hi dearest Oracle, I have an interesting question for you:
Who are " Michael, Martin (Chris?), Malcom, Biggie & Pac" in Lost+ (quoted by Jay-Z)
The Oracle replies:
Jay-Z is referring to a host of influential black figures in modern day history who have suffered at the hands of their success: Michael Jackson, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Christopher Wallace aka Biggie Smalls / Notorious B.I.G and Tupac Shakur.
February 23, 2009 - submitted by Csemi, Hungary
Q. Dear Oracle! My mother tongue is not English so I have a question in conection with Lost! lyrics.
"I'm just waiting till the shine wears off"
What does it mean SHINE?
a, shine as light?
b,shine as noise?
I was looking for my dictionary and 'the shine'=light and noise too!?
The Oracle replies:
Well it actually refers to neither, but it's more to do with light as it refers to brightness, the sheen of a polished finish. I guess as English isn't your first language this is going to be tricky to explain. If I illustrate its meaning by asking you to imagine an Oscar statuette. It's gold, it's shiny and the recipient is very excited to receive it. Literally if you polish it the shine will stay, however if you don't care as much about it as time goes on and neglect to polish it, the shine will wear off. The phrase "shine wears off" originates from this imagery but what it means is: to get bored of. When something isn't new anymore you're not as interested in it. I can't imagine anyone losing interest in an Oscar award but hopefully you'll know what I mean.
February 9, 2009 - submitted by Dave, United Kingdom
Q. Dear Oracle,
I feel that we require a new name for the song 'Lost!' which became 'Lost?' (acoustically) and then 'Lost+' and 'Lost@' (with Jay-Z and Live). Now we have a live acoustic version with Jay-Z and no idea what to refer to it as.
Perhaps I could suggest:
Lost^ (as there must be a use for them putting that symbol on computers)
Lost£ (as a symbol of British dominance at America's most importance music awards)
Either would clear up the confusion.
The Oracle replies:
Ah good point Dave. I like your suggestions but as you say, this is just Lost? with Jay Z adding his rap from Lost+. I guess we could refer to the rendition performed at the 51st Grammy Awards as Lost?+.
N.B: The full stops are placed grammatically, they're not different versions of Lost!
November 5, 2008 - submitted by Motogohamsee, Zimbabwe
Q. Hey Oracle,
Exactly how many types of the song lost are there? I've heard three but I think there might be more?
The Oracle replies:
There are 4 versions of the song:
Lost! (album version)
Lost? (acoustic version)
Lost@ (live at Chicago)
Lost+ (with Jay-Z)
October 29, 2008 - submitted by MARGIE, United States of America
Q. COLDPLAY PLAYED AT THE UNITED CENTER IN CHICAGO AROUND JULY OF THIS YEAR THEY SAID THEY WERE MAKING A DVD/VIDEO CAN YOU TELL ME WHEN IT IS TO BE RELEASED.
The Oracle replies:
It was where the video for Lost! was filmed, that's what they were referring to. You can see it here.
Just because I'm losing Doesn't mean I'm lost! Doesn't mean I'll stop Doesn't mean I'm across Just because I'm hurting Doesn't mean I'm hurt Doesn't mean I didn't get what I deserved No better and no worse I just got lost! Every river that I tried to cross Every door I ever tried was locked Ohhh and I'm just waiting 'til the shine wears off You might be a big fish In a little pond Doesn't mean you've won 'Cause along may come A bigger one And you'll be lost! Every river that you tried to cross Every gun you ever held went off Ohhh and I'm just waiting 'til the firing's stopped Ohhh and I'm just waiting 'til the shine wears off Ohhh and I'm just waiting 'til the shine wears off Ohhh and I'm just waiting 'til the shine wears off
Just because I'm losing Doesn't mean I'm lost! Doesn't mean I'll stop Doesn't mean I'm across Just because I'm hurting Doesn't mean I'm hurt Doesn't mean I didn't get What I deserved No better and no worse I just got lost! Every river that I tried to cross Every door I ever tried was locked Ohh and I'm just waiting 'til the shine wears off You might be a big fish In a little pond Doesn't mean you've won 'Cause along may come A bigger one And you'll be lost! Every river that you tried to cross Every gun you ever held went off Ohh and I'm just waiting 'til the firing stopped Yeah! Ohh and I'm just waiting 'til the shine wears off (Jay-Z's rap section follows) Yeah, just waiting 'til the, the, yeah A-ha I got you Uh, yeah With the same sword they knight you, they gonna good night you with Shit, that's only half if they like you That ain't even the half what they might do Don't believe me, ask Michael See Martin, see Malcolm See Biggie, see Pac, see success and its outcome See Jesus, see Judas See Caesar, see Brutus, see success is like suicide Suicide, it's a suicide If you succeed, prepare to be crucified Uh, media meddles, niggers sue you, you settle Every step you take they remind you, you ghetto So it's tough being Bobby Brown To be Bobby then, you have to be Bobby now Now the question is, is to have had and lost Better than not having at all? Because... (Jay-Z's rap section ends) Ohh and I'm just waiting 'til the shine wears off Ohh and I'm just waiting 'til the shine wears off...
|Violet Hill | Viva La Vida | Lost! | Lovers In Japan | Life In Technicolor ii | Strawberry Swing|
|Life In Technicolor | Cemeteries Of London | 42 | Reign Of Love | Yes | Chinese Sleep Chant | Death And All His Friends | The Escapist|
|Postcards From Far Away | Glass Of Water | Rainy Day | Prospekt's March/Poppyfields | Now My Feet Won't Touch The Ground|
|A Spell A Rebel Yell | Death Will Never Conquer | The Goldrush | Lhuna (ft. Kylie Minogue)|
|LeftRightLeftRightLeft | Famous Old Painters | Lukas | School | The Dubliners|