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Music / Snow Patrol

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Left to right: Paul Wilson, Nathan Connolly, Gary Lightbody, Jonny Quinn and Johnny McDaid

All this feels strange and untrue
And I won't waste a minute without you
Open Your Eyes

Snow Patrol is an Alternative Rock band from Northern Ireland, formed in 1994. Originally conceived as a trio called Polarbear, the band has since expanded over time into a quintet, with vocalist/guitarist Gary Lightbody being the only remaining original member.

After releasing two independent albums through Jeepster Records, the band saw moderate success in the United Kingdom with the 2003 album Final Straw, with notable singles such as "Run", "Chocolate" and "Spitting Games". The band saw further worldwide success in the mid-2000s with its follow-up Eyes Open, with "Chasing Cars" being their most notable hit thanks to its exposure through Grey's Anatomy. Since then, the band have released three more albums, with their latest album Wildness being released in 2018.

Even though they started as a rock-oriented band early on, the band is mostly known for emotional alternative pop rock songs akin to bands like Coldplay and Death Cab for Cutie, due to them having commercial success in an era filled with similar bands. Despite that, the band was still able to stand out by being more earnest than some of their contemporaries and gather a huge fanbase that follows them to this day.


  • Gary Lightbody: Guitar, vocals (1994-present)
  • Nathan Connolly: Guitar, backing vocals (2002-present)
  • Johnny McDaid: Guitar, piano, keyboards/synths, backing vocals (2011-present)

Former members:

  • Jonny Quinn: Drums (1996-2023)
  • Paul Wilson: Bass guitar, backing vocals (2005-2023)
  • Tom Simpson: Keyboards (2005-2013)
  • Mark McClelland: Bass guitar (1994-2005)
  • Michael Morrison: Drums (1994-1996)


  • Songs for Polarbears (1998)
  • When It's All Over We Still Have To Clear Up (2001)
  • Final Straw (2003)
  • Eyes Open (2006)
  • A Hundred Million Suns (2008)
  • Fallen Empires (2011)
  • Wildness (2018)
  • Reworked (2019)
  • The Fireside Sessions EP (2020) (co-written with fans on Instagram over 10 weeks during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, with all profits going to charity)


  • Album Title Drop:
    • Final Straw: "Chocolate"
    • Eyes Open: Twice, sort of: "Hands Open" and "Open Your Eyes".
    • A Hundred Million Suns: "The Planets Bend Between Us"
    • Wildness: "Life on Earth" and "Heal Me"
  • Alternate Music Video: "Chasing Cars" has a UK and a US version. The UK version (which appears on Youtube as the "2007 version") features close-up shots of Gary Lightbody as he lies barefoot on the ground, even as rain starts to fall. The US version instead has him wandering and lying around in public places in a city while people pass him by.
  • Ascended Extra: Tom Simpson was a touring member and small contributor for the band from the early days until he became an official member in 2005 prior to the recording for Eyes Open.
  • Break Up Song: Both Final Straw and Eyes Open deal with the topic of breaking up.
  • Broken Record: "Post Punk Progression" has basically one line repeated throughout the entire song.
  • Call-and-Response Song: “Shut Your Eyes”
  • Call-Back: The song "Time Won't Go Slowly" have this line "And empires could fall away and cities razed," referencing their sixth album Fallen Empires and one of the band's earliest songs "Raze the City" from Songs for Polarbears respectively.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: The premise of the video for "New York".
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Songs for Polarbears doesn't resemble anything that Snow Patrol is known for, having instead a Sebadoh-inspired indie sound, immature and self-deprecating lyrics.
    • Their sophomore album, When It's All Over... is also this to a lesser extent, since it also contains the indie sound from their debut. Although it has traces of what the band would be known for in the future.
  • Epic Rocking: The A Hundred Million Suns closer, "The Lightning Strike", which includes three different sections a la Fading into the Next Song on the track itself and it clocks in total around sixteen minutes.
  • Happy Place: "Shut Your Eyes" advises having one.
  • I Just Want My Beloved to Be Happy: "You Could Be Happy", of course.
  • Intercourse with You: "Safety", "Make Love to Me Forever" and "Warmer Climate".
  • Lyrical Dissonance: "You’re All I Have" is pretty upbeat but the lyrics are just as desperate as the title suggests.
  • New Sound Album: While each subsequent release seems to incorporate more pop rock influences into their sound, Fallen Empires was the band's biggest dive into that combined with elements of alternative dance.
  • Non-Appearing Title: Every album has at least one.
    • Songs for Polarbears: "Get Balsamic Vinegar... Quick You Fool"
    • When It's All Over We Still Have To Clear Up: "Olive Grove Facing the Sea"
    • Final Straw: "How to be Dead", "Wow", "Spitting Games", "Chocolate", "Somewhere a Clock is Ticking"
    • Eyes Open: "Make This Go On Forever", "Headlights On Dark Roads"
    • A Hundred Million Suns: "If There's a Rocket, Tie Me to It", "Disaster Button"
    • Fallen Empires: "Lifening", "The President"
    • Wildness: "Empress", "Life and Death"
  • Perishing Alt-Rock Voice: Gary's vocals generally lean into this. It is more noticeable in the early albums and Wildness.
  • Precision F-Strike: “Don’t Give In”, “Life On Earth”, “Disaster Button” and “This Isn't Everything You Are”.
    • “Get Balsamic Vinegar” and “Ways and Means” also count, albeit with different cussing words.
  • Re Arrange The Song: The Reworked compilation features more acoustic and atmospheric renditions of their previous songs. They also tend to do this live in the Reworked Tour, though, with more orchestral arrangements.
  • Shout-Out:
    • "Hands Open" mentions Sufjan Stevens and his song "Chicago".
    • "Batten Down the Hatch" namedrops Brian Wilson.
    • The new song "These Lies" mentions a lyric from their own song "Chasing Cars".
  • Soprano and Gravel: Gary and Martha Wainwright in "Set the Fire to the Third Bar".
  • Title Track: Fallen Empires.