Songs You May Have Missed #355

shoot out

Richard & Linda Thompson: “Wall of Death” (1982)

The last album Richard and Linda Thompson made together has been called “absolutely perfect” and “a harrowing masterpiece” by critics, but it’s no lighthearted affair. Chronicling their crumbling marriage, the record is full of metaphors and double-entendres for the painful dissolution of a relationship such as “Did She Jump of Was She Pushed”, “Walking On a Wire” and “Don’t Renege On Our Love”. The tension is the grooves real; the tour in support of the record, which Linda insisted on fulfilling despite Richard’s involvement in a new relationship, was full of onstage malice and kicked shins.

But the album ends with a note of affirmation: “Wall of Death” uses carnival ride metaphors to suggest that life is, after all, better for having taken the risks:

You’re going nowhere when you ride on the carousel/And maybe you’re strong, but what’s the use of ringing a bell?

You can waste your time on the other rides/But this is the nearest to being alive/Let me take my chances on the Wall of Death

Ironically the Shoot Out the Lights album was a breakthrough of sorts in America for the soon-to-divorce British couple. Rolling Stone ranked it #9 on a 1989 list of The 100 Best Albums of the Eighties. The Village Voice ranked it as the #2 album of 1982.

See also: https://edcyphers.com/2012/10/06/songs-you-may-have-missed-187/

See also: https://edcyphers.com/2013/10/15/songs-you-may-have-missed-489/

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Songs You May Have Missed #489 | Ed Cyphers

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