Firstly that little playful synth at the beginning. Almost like a little jingle. Then, just such GRINDING ax work from Charlie. One long grinding chord. I always think it sounds like an angry cow mooing loudly. Lol. I know! And each time it grinds, I join in “MOOOOOOO!!”. And after each guitar grind, a thwacking drum beat.
Jim comes in, with what’s probably up there with HATH as one of his more….ambiguous set of lyrics. Really abstract lines like “first tear forms in the right eye / this is the eye that’s crying first”. I mean, say whaaa…? Jim? But this is why I love him as a songwriter!
Sometimes he can seem a bit…”formulaic” now. And I don’t mean that to sound in any way disrespectful. He’s honed his craft. But he tends to like to stick with the tried and tested formula these days of verse and chorus. And he still delivers magic under that formula (Spirited Away, Blindfolded, Kill or Cure, Concrete And Cherry Blossom are just some examples)…but he delivers SSOO well in abstraction. From Simple Minds most recent album offering came Liaison and Bittersweet. These two songs were particular highlights for a lot of fans from 2014’s Big Music release. And many were also up in arms that these two tracks were only available as part of the Big Music deluxe edition.
Liaison and Bittersweet (in particular) seemed to go back to that ambiguous formula. If it was INDEED a formula. Not really so much lyrically…they have structure lyrically (and they are both SEXY AF and Jim is promising MORE sexy songs on the new one! One song that’s rumoured to be on the new album is called A Silent Kiss) but they don’t follow the strict verse/chorus structure, which I like!
But getting back to 70 Cities. This seems a real Charlie and Jim piece to me. Charlie is ALL OVER THIS with all different kinds of amazing guitar pieces. Those grinding cow like moos, soaring wails, jangly riffs during the “going somewhere / getting some place / going somewhere” lines. I love the way Jim’s accent comes out in those lines! Esp. on those “going somewhere” lines 🙂 “gue-ing” 🙂
It’s oviously a song about seaching and exploring. He still has that explorer thing going on with his lyrics then. Oh, but the ambiguity is GREAT.
Best line in the song? “When the other side of midnight calls / remind me I’m glad to be here”. That’s quite a dour line for our boy by then. But I love it! I’m sure most would take that as a depressing line. It sounds low, forlorn. But to me it has an optomism.
But there are intangible elements to it to me. Getting down to brass tacks, what *is* the song about? “Follows in love / love brings the fall” – the trials and tribulations of human love? Love of exploration and searching? “He wants the world / screams everything. She’s a country / feel for life.” I’m never really sure.
And the fade out! Those shouts from Jim. Grrr!
(And don’t get me started on the song to follow!)
In summery. Guitar in bucket loads and fabulously oblique lyrics. A Kerr/Burchill classic! (Not saying it was written only by them – that’s not what songwriting credits suggest….but, well…Jim certainly would have written the lyrics…but I can only surmise how much of the music Charlie wrote alone.)
I couldn’t link to a copy of the album version on YT (well, only that stereo difference one…and half of Charlie’s guitar is missing on that!), so let’s have a 5×5 version instead (just to remind me that I wasn’t there – and how fucking HOT DANG! Jim was on that tour!). Sir even does the shouts at the end! He was in party mode that night. Sexy Sir! Grrrr!
And that is why I love…70 Cities As Love Brings The Fall
PS: The pedant in me watching this kept thinking “please, Jim…STOP POINTING AT YOUR LEFT EYE!” Lol. I can’t help myself. I’m TOO literal (anal).