Why I Love…Twist/Run/Repulsion

Well, the reading of the manuscript by a lady in French is the first indicator that something about this song is going to be a little “left field” and wonderfully avant garde. Not to mention the rather unsettling and creepy sounding reversed words at the very intro of the song.

It was only VERY recently did I discover that it’s Charlie playing the saxophone on the song. I mean…just wow! It sounds for all the world like it could be Bowie (I knew it wasn’t him, of course)! As much of a lover of the Empires And Dance album as I am, I just didn’t take in it was Charlie playing sax! Don’t know why that info eluded me for so long. Go figure!

It is such a tongue-twisting lyric of a song. I know it was by and large under control by this stage…but Jim, with that stutter…how he achieves to sing this! Just…f***ing…what??! It really is a prime example of how someone with a stutter who sings…that difference that occurs between speech and singing voice is just a phenomenal contrast. I’m sure if Jim SPOKE those words, even at that time, he would probably have struggled, even a little, to get through without the stutter making itself known.

Lyrics are as follows:

Switch the light on,
We can think it’s dawn.
Oh push along.
Push along.
Play a long song.
I’m laughing at marine,
Marine laughs back.
Don’t like those boys,
Toy soldier boys.
I’m lying in bed,
You can play me fear,
You can play me fear.
Only rhythm I hear.
You cut me up,
With joys of life.
I’m going somewhere.
I’m going someplace.
If caution is life,
Then caution is sin.
Contort, contort, contort.
I’ll win.
These walls that close.
Close in on me.
Seductress shout.
Seductress scream.
Switch the light on,
We can think it’s dawn.
Oh push along.
Push along.
Pray along.
Play a long song.

The words are frantic. The pace of the song is frantic. The sax is shrieking and jarring. Those drum beats in between as well. Lots of fear-induced shouting and wailing running through it too. And somewhere in the middle, a shout of “WOOHOO!” – I love that :-))

As I was starting out on the journey into the back catalogue nearly two years ago, this was the one that really just sealed the deal for me. All For You on Life In A Day was the first inkling that I’d been making a grave mistake all my life just having them as one of my “also ran” bands…but the first time I heard Twist/Run/Repulsion – I was just utterly gobsmacked. I swear I was listening to it with my mouth gaping open in full “WTF?” mode. Lol. Like, GREAT “WTF?” mode. I remember as soon as it was finished, just saying to myself, out loud, “Oh, I’m IN! You guys have got me now!” And, despite all the other great tracks before it, I also just went “I f***ing LOVE EMPIRES AND DANCE! This is IT!” And I have been in love with the album ever since. I play it from start to finish, never missing a track.

There is a demo version of Twist/Run/Repulsion that is vastly different lyrically and softer musically. I love that Virgin (quite underhandedly, I’m sure, yes) released Silver Box. I love those early demos and live versions. Although the T/R/R demo is so very lyrically different, I still love it too. It isn’t quite as strong as the final studio album version. I mean, the lyrical structure is different. It’s more laid back. Still fairly dark in subject matter, but nowhere near as dark and frenetic as the album version ends up being. Lacking that screeching saxophone as well. I do love that we have the lyric of the title highlighted…and the way Jim delivers it. And those “hole in my, hole in my…STOP!” lines. Of course, the title is in the album version too, but it can get lost as the main body of the lyric is overdubbed on top. But…well…for me it just is an incredible piece of work.

In summary. I love that frantic pace of it…the unnerving quality it has….the pace, structure and delivery of those lyrics as well. It is pure avant garde, pure “film noir”. Baby boys of 21 delivering stuff like this just blows my tiny little mind! I mean, how could you NOT fall in love with early Simple Minds after listening to this?! It is the song that made me the fan I am today. 🙂

And that is why I love Twist/Run/Repulsion.

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