The music video release by Coldplay for the song “Paradise” was aired in October 2011. The video illustrates a person dressed as an elephant and locked in a zoo, while counting the days of captivity on a wall, almost like a jail cell inmate. The elephant escapes from a zoo via a bicycle, ends up in a subway station and then appears in a suitcase on an airplane at Heathrow Airport in London set forth to another destination. It is assumed that the destination is in South Africa, which was shown in the beginning of the video, presumably where the elephant originated before being placed in captivity. The scenes then show the elephant walking in what in South Africa across the Nelson Mandela Bridge and then on railway tracks. The elephant then earns money by busking on the street and buys a unicycle in which he travels along a highway in grasslands or a valley trying to reach his destination. At one point during the video, the person takes off the mask of the elephant costume and the lead singer from Coldplay is exposed. The elephant eventually reaches another three elephants in the South African grasslands. The elephants are the remaining band members of Coldplay, playing their instruments. The elephants are reunited and show their enthusiasm. The music video ends with the elephants playing in a rock stadium at a rock concert.
The initial view of the rock video was somewhat surprising. The title of the song is “Paradise”; therefore, most individuals automatically think of a tropical island, lying on a secluded beach. This video by Coldplay is completely different with the main character, a person in an elephant suit, trying to make it back to his homeland in the safari of South Africa. At first, the video and the song lyrics don’t seem to mesh. However, after watching the entire video, one comes to realize that the video is a version of what paradise could mean to someone. The video illustrates “paradise” as someone who is lonely and spending their days away from the people they love. The video also illustrates how many risks someone would take to reach their “paradise”. In this case, the elephant escapes his prison, rides in a subway train, observed hiding in a suitcase on an airplane and rides a unicycle until he finds his fellow brethren.
In addition to analyzing the video as someone being lonely and trying to reach their loved ones, you could also interpret the video directly as animals being locked in a cage and wanting out. That would be their paradise. The video could be describing how humans take exotic animals from the wild, in this case South African safaris, and bring them to zoos all over the world. However, there is no further indication in the video of animal rights, as well as, no indication of protesting against animals or so forth.
From a contrasting point of view, the lyrics do not necessarily mesh with the video. The lyrics begin as “When she was just a girl, she expected the world. But it grew away from her reach”. Listening to those lyrics, it is expected for the video to have the main character as a woman who had high dreams, but somehow through her life, her dreams never happened and she continued to dream of her paradise. The video is completely different. The video’s man character is a man dressed in an elephant costume. Therefore, this contradicts the actual lyrics to the song. The elephant is even holding up the lyrics “when she was just a girl”, in the subway station. When analyzing the actually lyrics, the video and song are not in cohesion.
Overall, it could be indicated that the band is merely having fun with their song through a playful version of a video, while showing one perspective of what could be an individual’s version of paradise. This idea of playfulness can be further supported by the ending of the video as the band dressed as elephants in front of their fans at a concert, as well as, the band shown bowing towards their fans at the end of the song still dressed in their elephant costumes.