Throwback Thursday: “Chasing Cars” by Snow Patrol

Ah, yes, an angst anthem! Gary Lightbody’s voice carries this song so effectively. It’s higher and thinner than most male lead singers tend to be, but here it works in his favor. The beginning of “Chasing Cars” is spare; the lyrics are one punch after another: “We’ll do it all/Everything/On our own.”

But it’s the chorus that really sells the song, and I think is what makes “Chasing Cars” so iconic. “If I lay here/If I just lay here/Would you lie with me and just forget the world?” There’s such a simple earnestness there. Isn’t that what we all really want in the end? To lie down with someone and not think about anything. Lightbody continues, “Those three words/Are said too much.” It seems that “those three words” both encompass and limit what he’s looking for.

The sparseness of the song is undercut when the guitars kick in towards the middle. Although they threaten to overwhelm the body, and the message, of “Chasing Cars,” where the central relationship is everything, we’re spared from the blistering tones that were all over the airwaves back then. It’s Lightbody’s voice that anchors the listener.

The cover art here is very of that era. It’s an abstract collage of a couple embracing. The colors are muted beiges, and we have alt-rock stamped font up top to complete the aesthetic. Back when the single came out, I thought the art was odd, but now I see it as part of the package that made “Chasing Cars” so famous.

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