A wonderfully political snapshot of Eastern Europe of the late 1970s. If you think Simple Minds only became political in the mid to late 80s…listen to this and you know you’re mistaken.
I know I go on about Jim’s songwriting, but I do for a reason, it’s bloody good!! His words are just always so image-laced. With this one, I see European ruins…old city plazas and squares, the bell tower of a gothic cathedral (“I hate the sound of bells”), soldiers, dispossessed youth – wearing drab clothes and looking on edge, for fear of something dangerous and immanent occurring. A casual tourist taking snaps.
Study the words…they’re brilliant! He also delivers one of the most potent lines I think he’s ever written “You’re cutting up our friends / making love to our sisters”.
Musically, it starts with a staccato drumbeat that has a echo/reverb effect with it ….making it kind of gleaming. The vocal and guitar come in almost simultaneously. Jim uttering a single “Citizen” before Charlie joins him. There are subtle backing vocals going on…adding an unnerving backbone. Bass and keyboard/synths are underplayed and subtle. Jim’s vocal is menacing and, at times, venomous. There’s extra potency given to the lines…
“Our food is getting cold,
And you’re getting colder.”
He almost spits them out!
It packs a punch and is a political monster and shows how utterly fabulous Simple Minds were from the get-go and what a fabulous lyricist Jim Kerr is.
And that is why I love Citizen (Dance of Youth).
NB: It has been an earworm LITERALLY for WEEKS now. I adore it!