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Talk

Yes

Talk” is a song recorded by Coldplay and is the fifth track on their third album X&Y, released in June 2005. The song was released as the third single from that album in December 2005 and it was a substantial hit across the world. “Talk” entered the UK Singles Chart at #10, and elsewhere in the world its success varied: it reached #1 in the Netherlands and the top five in Canada. Both the song and its ‘Thin White Duke’ remix have been nominated for the 2007 Grammy Awards.

Contents

    • 7.2 Unreleased/First Version

Background

Coldplay received permission from the electronic music band Kraftwerk to use the main riff from their song “Computer Love” (German basic version: “Computerliebe”), from their 1981 studio LP Computer World (German basic version: Computerwelt), for “Talk”, replacing Kraftwerk’s synthesizers with guitars. Subsequently mash-up artist RIAA combined “Computer Love” with “Talk” to create the song “Kraftplay”. Presciently the I Love Music website had humorously imagined the results of such a collaboration[1] several months before it appeared.

The band recorded three separate versions of “Talk”; the one found on X&Y was based on an early cut of the song. A newer version of the track (with a different set of lyrics) was leaked onto the internet in March 2005. “Talk” was originally intended to be a b-side for the single “Speed of Sound” before becoming the last addition to X&Y’s track listing.

This song was performed live at the 2005 MTV Europe Music Awards on 3 November in Lisbon, Portugal and live at the 2006 Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, United States.

“Gravity”, the single’s b-side, was originally written by Chris Martin for the British band Embrace, and is found on their album Out of Nothing. The song charted at number seven in the UK. Many editions of the single also included “Sleeping Sun” as a second b-side.

The song was also used as the basis of a downloadable hoax track entitled “Talk to David” [2] produced as an April Fools Day prank by the UK The Guardian newspaper. This featured lyrics purporting to give support to Conservative opposition party leader David Cameron [3].

Chart performance

By mid-October, “Talk” had been added to the playlists of twenty-six U.S. alternative rock stations. Stations that offered early airtime to “Talk” include KTCL (Denver), WEND (Charlotte), KNDD (Seattle), KUCD (Honolulu), and WFNX (Boston).

A month later, “Talk” was being supported by sixty-one U.S. alternative rock stations. On 18 November 2005, the single debuted at number thirty-two on the U.S. Modern Rock Tracks chart. “Talk” peaked at number five on the chart, a significant improvement from the performance of “Fix You”, and matching that of “Speed of Sound”.

On 31 December 2005, it “bubbled under” the Hot 100. It finally charted on the Billboard Hot 100 on 25 February 2006 and peaked at number eighty-six.

By then, the song had gained additional exposure in other genres. “Talk” reached number ten on the Adult Top 40, which covers Hot Adult Contemporary music. It topped the Hot Dance Club Play chart as “Talk (Junkie XL/Francois K/J. Lu Cont Mixes)”.

It reached number four on the Canadian Singles Chart in late 2005 and topped the Canadian BDS Airplay Chart for four weeks in early 2006.

Music video

The “Talk” music video is a homage to B-grade sci-fi movies.

The music video for “Talk” was helmed by director/photographer Anton Corbijn. Corbijn had previously directed the video for “All These Things That I’ve Done” by The Killers.

Filming took place on November 5 and November 6 at Ealing Studios, London, just before the band began an European leg on the Twisted Logic Tour. The black-and-white clip invokes a B-movie science fiction theme, with imagery ranging from a flying saucer to 3D glasses.

It seems the entire video can in fact be viewed in three dimensions using Anaglyphic 3D glasses like the ones worn by the band. Due to the red (left eye) and blue (right eye) edges that define a stereoscopic image. However the effect is subtle and best appreciated with a high resolution version.

The main plot line of the music video features Coldplay as astronauts landing on an alien planet, where they re-activate a dormant robot. The robot in the video bears a strong physical resemblance to the original Marvin the Paranoid Android from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy television series. (The robot also more closely resembles the robot from The Beastie Boy’s song Intergalactic, and also possibly the robot Torg from the 60’s B-movie Santa Claus Conquers The Martians) A previous Coldplay track, “Don’t Panic” also referenced the series with its title. At one point of the clip, subtitles present the lyrics of the song spelt backwards just like in the video for “No Surprises” by Radiohead. At the very end of the video, there is whistling that resembles The Clangers.

The video was extremely popular in Poland. It spent thirteen weeks at number one on MTV Poland Top 20 Chart and 47 out of 50 days (because it was retired) at number one on TRL Poland.

The message Make Trade Fair was in X&Y code as the robot’s controls in black and white.

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The Oracle on Talk

May 23, 2013 – submitted by James, United States of America

Q. My brother and I are convinced that Talk was a credits song in a movie. Specifically, we thought it closed out one of the Transformer movies, but after reviewing the dvds that is not the case. Was it in the select pre-release movie theater version of Transformers or in a different movie? ‘We are lost and incomplete’ without this information.

Thanks,

The Oracle replies:

Talk definitely didn’t appear in any of the Transformer movies but then I don’t recall it being used either in any film or as the credits rolled.

I wonder if perhaps it has been used in a trailer much like Paradise was used in previews for Life of Pi but not actually featured in the film…

January 2, 2013 – submitted by Faiz, United Kingdom

Q. Dear Oracle,

When the robot in the Talk music video wakes up (2:22), it looks like there’s text at the bottom of the video. It’s covered by the playback bar so I can’t read what it is.

Would you, in your infinite wisdom, know what this says?

Thanks, Faiz

The Oracle replies:

The text is the lyrics with the words running in the correct order from left to right but each word is backwards.

It says:

LLEW I LEEF EKIL ER’YEHT GNIKLAT NI

A EGAUGNAL I T’NOD KAEPS

DNA ER’YEHT GNIKLAT TI OT EM

Which of course is:

Well I fell like they’re talking in a language I don’t speak and they’re talking it to me.

July 26, 2012 – submitted by Katy, Brazil

Q. Hey! I’ve heard two versions of the music Talk. Which one is correct or official?

One of them starts with “Oh brother I can’t, I can’t get through

I’ve been trying hard to reach you” and the other one starts like “Under the great north star, try to work out where you are”. Kisses

The Oracle replies:

The one that features on the album X&Y (& the single version) is the approved, official version that the band want you to hear.

There were 3 different recordings that the band did so none are incorrect but they chose their favourite of the 3 to release (The “Oh brother” one).

September 3, 2010 – submitted by Mark, United Kingdom

Q. Will Coldplay ever play this version of Talk live? I would do anything for that! It’s incredible and almost everybody agrees!

Thanks.

The Oracle replies:

It’s extremely doubtful. This wasn’t the version the band decided on for inclusion on X&Y. Although they gave it a techno re-vamp for the Viva tour, it’s not likely to appear in the guise of one of the discarded variants. I love it too though it has to be said but then I like all incarnations of the song; there were a few.

June 7, 2010 – submitted by Mike, United States of America

Q. Are Coldplay going to go back to playing the album versions of Talk, GPASUYF? We fans miss those.

The Oracle replies:

Well I’m sure many fans do miss those original versions but there were a heck of a lot who loved hearing newer updated versions on the last tour! If those songs make it onto any future tour’s set list it would be very doubtful they’d remain the same as for the Viva tour anyway. The same could be said for the acoustic songs also…

April 7, 2010 – submitted by Kyle, United States of America

Q. To Mr./ Mrs. Oracle

To say the least, I’m way behind. What is the message that appears in text at the bottom to the music video Talk?

The Oracle replies:

The text is the lyrics reversed. Starting at 2:23, “Well I feel like they’re talking in a language I don’t speak and they’re talking it to me”.

July 22, 2009 – submitted by Shelby, United States of America

Q. Oracle,

At the last two Coldplay shows I’ve been to Coldplay performed a really cool remix of God Put a Smile Upon Your Face and Talk. Is there anywhere I can find that? (By the way Coldplay put on the best show ever).

The Oracle replies:

They like to rework some tracks for the live shows, the above 2 are an example, but there’s no plan to release any of the versions that may appear.

October 15, 2008 – submitted by Robin, Germany

Q. Dear Oracle:

Here in my Coldplay sheet book there’s alwas a line under the title of the song wich says: words and music by … [the 4 coldplay members]

But as I see here, words & music for “Talk” by Guy B.,Chris M., Karl Bartos, Jon B., Will C., Emil Schult & Ralf Huetter.

Who are those three other guys? Mr. Huetter and Mr. Schult even seem to have German names…

Thank you a lot =)

The Oracle replies:

They are indeed German names;, they are members of German band Kraftwerk. The main riff of Talk comes from the Kraftwerk song Computer Love. They gave their permission to use it but are of course credited with writing it.

Lyrics

Album Version

Oh brother I can't, I can't get through
I’ve been trying hard to reach you 'cause I don’t know what to do
Oh brother I can't believe it's true
I’m so scared about the future and I wanna talk to you
Oh I wanna talk to you

You can take a picture of something you see
In the future where will I be?
You can climb a ladder up to the sun
Or a write a song nobody has sung
Or do something that’s never been done

Are you lost or incomplete?
Do you feel like a puzzle, you can’t find your missing piece?
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

So you take a picture of something you see
In the future where will I be?
You can climb a ladder up to the sun
Or write a song nobody has sung
Or do something that’s never been done
Or do something that’s never been done

So you don’t know where you’re going and you wanna talk
And you feel like you’re going where you’ve been before
You tell anyone who’ll listen but you feel ignored
Nothing’s really making any sense at all, let’s talk
Let’s talk, let’s talk, let’s talk.

Unreleased/First Version

Under the great north star
Try to work out where you are
In the silence of the sea
I don't know where I've been

In the future, in the past
Going nowhere much too fast
When I go there go with me
When I go there go with me

‘Cause I don’t know where I’m going but I wanna talk
I feel like I’m going where I’ve been before
And I wanna talk

Take a picture of
Something that you’re not sure of
Bring it back to show me
But I don’t know what I see

In the future, find a home
Getting nowhere on your own
Got to find your missing piece

‘Cause you don’t know where you’re going but you wanna talk
You feel like you’re going where you’ve been before
And nothing’s really making any sense at all
You’ll tell any one who’ll listen that you feel ignored
Let’s talk, let’s talk
Do you wanna talk?

I’m up in the part of the throne
I’m trying to sing a song
In a language I don’t speak
I try but I can’t get through
I’m trying to get to you
But you’re difficult to reach

Won’t you talk to me…

So you don’t know where you’re going but you wanna talk
You feel like you’re going where you’ve been before

Let’s talk, let’s talk…
Let’s talk, let’s talk…