Someone sings a song to you. The words are never--cannot ever be--your own. Only the thoughts that they provoke are. (are they?) These words are not mine. They're the underfoot metal screech of the wheels of a runaway train, heralding the inevitable crash. Listen.

To the centre of the city where all roads meet, waiting for you
To the depths of the ocean where all hope sinks, waiting for you
I was moving through the silence without motion, waiting for you
In a room with a window, in the corner, I found truth.

In the shadowplay, acting out your own death, knowing no more
As the assassins all grouped in four lines, dancing on the floor
And with cold steel odour on their bodies made a move to connect
But I could only stare in disbelief as the crowds all left.

I did everything, everything I wanted to
I let them use you for their own ends
To the centre of the city in the night, waiting for you
To the centre of the city in the night, waiting for you.

This is a lonely song, with a deep sense of crisis. Think alienation, abandonment, and other fun things that grab and hold you by the throat after a long night of getting nothing done, finding no one, seeing nothing to break the notion that the world is a cold, cold, lonely place. Which it often is. The question remains and has to be answered by every listener individually: does this song speak of closure, or does it just talk of the hole in your gut where something used to be before you yourself tore it out?


Shadowplay, performed by Joy Division on Unknown Pleasures (1979)
Released live on Still--recommended version--and on later compilations
Words by Ian Curtis; music uncredited.

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