Snow Patrol's “Chasing Cars” Lyrics Meaning - Song Meanings and Facts (2024)

by Jessica Shelton·Published · Updated

Gary Lightbody, the primary writer of “Chasing Cars”, at the time called it “the purest love song” he had ever written.And truthfully for the day and age it was released in, this track is simply based on the strong affection the singer (the selfsame Gary Lightbody) feels for his significant other.

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You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Snow Patrol's Chasing Cars at

But there are certain characteristics – or let’s say ideologies – the relationship featured therein possesses. Or put differently, most of the lyrics reflect the singer’s vision of what this romance should be like.So for example, from the onset, you can see that he wants he and his partner to be independent. Indeed in the chorus he asks her to “forget the world” and just focus on the love they share.His reasons for him being so radical, if you will, is that he wants them to enjoy the here and now, i.e. cherish each other’s embrace ‘before they get too old’.

Moreover it is pretty clear that he holds her in high regard.For instance, he perceives his romance with her as a gateway to a more-fulfilling life.Verily in summation of the second chorus, he views this particular relationship as more or less the fulfillment of his destiny.That is not to say that he has a clear vision of the path that lies ahead.However, he is convinced that whatever it may be, their love will persist.

Meaning of “Chasing Cars”

And the above sentiment rightfully brings us to the title of the song, “chasing cars”.That expression is only mentioned once, in the bridge, where he proclaims “let’s waste time, chasing cars, around our heads”.Now the prepositional phrase which concludes that statement makes it clear that the titular expression is a mental exercise, not a literal one.In fact “chasing cars” is a metaphor Gary actually picked up from his dad.And to make a long story short, it is symbolic of a vain pursuit.But this does not mean that Lightbody is labeling this romance an act of vanity.Rather what he appears to be saying is that he would rather spend time with his sweetheart, doing absolutely nothing constructive, than engaged in any other activity.

And given the success this song went on to achieve, the Snow Patrol did achieve their goal of dropping a pure, relatable love song.For if nothing else, the listener will walk away knowing that the singer does in fact adore, respect and acknowledge the special lady in his life.

Snow Patrol's “Chasing Cars” Lyrics Meaning - Song Meanings and Facts (1)

Release Date of “Chasing Cars”

Interscope Records released this song on 6 June 2006.It came out as the second single from Snow Patrol’s “Eyes Open” album, which was released that very year.

The month prior, it was featured on the season finale of the popular television show “Grey’s Anatomy”.This caused the song to increase exponentially in popularity.In fact that feature appears to be the impetus which compelled Interscope Records to release this track as a single.And it proved so popular in relation to the show that its producers used “Chasing Cars” to create a special promotional video for the upcoming season of the series.

Global Success

Throughout its multi-year chart history, “Chasing Cars” scored a number one on three Billboard charts ( including Adult Alternative Songs) as well as the ARIA Australian Digital Track Chart.

In fact this was one of the first songs to prove the viability of digital downloads as a means of selling records, as many of its sales are attributable to the internet. Indeed in some parts of the world, like Australia (where this track has gone triple-Platinum), it was only available digitally. Thus “Chasing Cars” also peaked at number two on the UK Download Chart.

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And in general, it has charted in almost 20 countries, including reaching number 5 on America’s prestigious Billboard Hot 100 and number 6 on the UK Singles Charts proper.This is in addition to the track going multi-Platinum in Australia, Germany, the UK and the US.

And in regards of the Hot 100, “Chasing Cars” will likely go down in history as being Snow Patrol’s highest-charting song ever in the United States.

In fact this is the most-successful song in Snow Patrols early-21st century catalog.Moreover “Chasing Cars” is recognized as the “most played” song of the first two decades of the new millennium in the United Kingdom.Furthermore, it received a Brit Award (Best British Single) nomination in 2007.

Another interesting thing to note is that “Top of the Pops”, the long-running and influential British music show, went off the air in 2006.And “Chasing Cars” was actually the last song to be performed live on that program.

Moreover amongst notable artists who are on record for having covered this song are Faith Hill (2007) and Ed Sheeran (2014).

Did “Chasing Cars” win a Grammy?

It was nominated for a Grammy (Best Rock Song) in 2007. However, Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Dani California” took home the award.

Who wrote “Chasing Cars”

“Chasing Cars” was written by Snow Patrol. The writing credits of “Chasing Cars” are therefore as follows:

  • Nathan Connolly
  • Paul Wilson
  • Tom Simpson
  • Jonny Quinn
  • Gary Lightbody

But it is the last name on that list, Gary Lightbody, who is recognized as the originator of the tune. And he did so at the home of the producer of the track, Jacknife Lee.It should perhaps also be noted that Lightbody was intoxicated at the time. He also wrote nine other songs that day, but only “Chasing Cars” stood out as being exceptional.

Related posts:

  • Snow Patrol’s “Run” Lyrics Meaning
  • “Do I Make You Proud” by Taylor Hicks
  • “The Last Time” by Taylor Swift (ft. Gary Lightbody)
  • Ed Sheeran’s “Bloodstream” Lyrics Meaning

7 Responses

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  1. Anonymous says:

    March 27, 2021 at 3:27 pm

    Again it is about dogs you love very very much


    • Anonymous says:

      May 21, 2021 at 5:44 am

      It is not


  2. Anonymous says:

    September 21, 2021 at 2:52 pm

    We are going to use this song for our wedding. Thank you for the explanation other words it fits us perfectly


  3. Ed says:

    July 16, 2022 at 12:10 am

    Unselfish love poetically expressed sensually


  4. Nicole says:

    November 30, 2022 at 2:53 am

    I think it had to do with someone he loved, he lost, to suicide…because they thought life was too much and overwhelming. He wishes he stepped in to met them know, he loves them and life doesn’t have to always be that serious.


  5. John Meyer says:

    December 29, 2022 at 7:51 pm

    The song starts out where the singer believes he doesn’t need anyone else and he can do it all on his own. The middle of the song he talks about feelings he has and can’t explain them. At first he simply invites his lover to just lay with him and do nothing at all. Later he suggests that she can open up a whole new world to him he has never seen before and she can help him give grace to himself by her showing him grace for his failings. In a interesting way she is like Eve in the garden of Eden showing Adam all the beauty and joy that is around him


  6. me says:

    September 7, 2023 at 2:59 am

    This article helped me understand the meaning of “chasing cars”, and the lyrics are so true of how it feels when you are in love with someone who you find is the completion of yourself. Nothing and no one else exists, only the two of you.
    The music of the song is perfect for expressing one’s ethereal experience in true love, whether the love is requited or not.


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Snow Patrol's “Chasing Cars” Lyrics Meaning - Song Meanings and Facts (2024)
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