Sunday, July 13, 2014

Saying a Lot in Under Four Minutes

Song 207: This week's playlist song is Open Your Eyes by The Lords of the New Church, written by Stiv Bators and T. D. James. The YouTube video that I found for this track is a lyric video, and a wonderful thing that is, especially for someone like myself who had to wonder for years at what the opening words of this song are. I got the part about training the kids for war and something going on in high fashion stores, but I was missing a few important words. Sometimes when you can only get part of a lyric, maybe you guess at the rest of it, and when you later find out what the right words are, maybe you're amused, maybe you're impressed, or maybe you're disappointed, a little or more than a little. When I finally got to learn the opening lines on this track, I was truly impressed to find out that they're every bit as hard-hitting as the other lines in the song that I already knew. During that late-'70s/early-'80s punk era, I initially liked the basic idea of a rougher and harder-edged sound, but I didn't hear that many punk records that interested me because most of the songs didn't seem to have much to say. However, once in a while, a song would come along that spoke volumes in less than 4 minutes, and this track is probably the best example I could find of one of those. When I mentioned this record to a friend who was himself a big fan of the whole punk scene, he chuckled as he told me The Lords of the New Church were really a Who's Who of English punk, but I told him that I didn't care about their musical exploits -- what mattered to me then, and still does now, is that they created a record that packs a punch like very few before or since, particularly centered around a very strong and straightforward lyrical message, but also wrapped in a hard-edged musical sound to match those lyrics. If you're looking for a song with something to say, this is one that says a lot in a very short, tight space of time.

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