That start. The bass and clang…something gritty and industrial about it. Almost like it’s going to turn into a Einstürzende Neubauten track!
Then a wonderfully buzzing style of synth that comes in. The pace of it is awesome.
I absolutely adore these lyrics! On the Dream Giver web site (simpleminds.org), Jim talks about the song being about a boy that grows up to be an arms dealer and the lyrics certainly imply that…but they can also be interpreted as…lust, desire, wanting an affair with someone.
I want to see what you see
I want to touch, let me play
I want to try every poison in sight
I want to lie where you lay
— — — — — — — — — — — —
Let me touch, let me touch
Let me feel what you feel
I want to know how certain this is
I want to know this is real
But it’s all an internal dialogue that this “arms dealer” is having with himself. The man about to leave all that destruction in his path, telling the boy of his youth that “we’ve” done it for the greater good. And that is how people justify heinous acts like that to themselves. Their god wants them to it. It filters out those “infidels”. To murder for your god is good and worthy.
And, the words in the verses to me can have duel meaning. The way Jim is singing…breathy, whispering at times. I find it a really, really sensual song. But in actual fact the song has very heavy subject matter.
As I say…before I ventured to the Dream Giver site to look it up, to confirm the lyrics for an art piece on the song…I assumed it was about the lust and desire for another person.
And then there is a melodically sweet musical breakdown as Jim delivers the lines “I long to be where you are”, contained in this part of the verse:
“I want to touch what you touch
I long to be where you are
I’ll always know – you’ll let me know all this gets too far”
It’s like the sprinkle of rain, the cascade of a waterfall…the ashen shards from hand grenade? The descending sparks from a bomb?
I had started on this “Why I Love” in the middle of September, and couldn’t rightly articulate what I wanted to say about the song at the time, so I moved on to doing one for Space, and left it until tonight.
Now it seems more eerily apt to touch upon. A metaphor for much going on for the band right now. And curious too that within the band’s history that, at this point, both Derek and Mel have come back to the fold…and Pete Walsh is once again being used as producer for the Neapolis album that Lightning is a track from.
And given what Jim said a number of days ago about the (Simple Minds) bus only moving forward, with fixed steering and no reverse gear. And that he’d said those words in 1977 as a young, headstrong kid who was “unbearable in many ways, not so bad in others” and that “I’m still that kid”.
Perhaps HE is now the “arms dealer”? Doing some detrimental damage for what appears to be “the greater good”?
It was just an observation. It’s hard not to get drawn into it. It is just a concern for the future. I’m not passing judgements, laying blame, etc. I just fear, much like of the subject matter of this song…it’ll all implode. Sometimes a reverse gear is good…when you’re careering to a cliff and there is no other way out.
But enough of metaphors. And I will not be pressed to talk anymore…so don’t ask.
As for the song itself? Musically, the pace of it, the synths, crashing guitars, that fabulous breakdown of waterfall/shards.
Jim’s lyrics are just…crazy f***ing sexy. Seriously…I really do find this song so, so sexy lyrically…even with knowing what this song is about and all. His vocal on it is just….honey…
And that is why I love…Lightning.