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A Music Blog (#15: Checkmate! Now, king me)

Posted June 23rd, 2012 at 05:29 AM by bobandbill
Updated July 5th, 2012 at 11:06 PM by bobandbill

I only heard this song recently (or at any rate paid attention to it; it was hidden within my computer files like a molecule participating at the Hide and Seek championships) but I found it fairly interesting and so it gets featured today!

But first an important announcement, going off comments in the previous entry!
Quote:
But for those who didn't know of the band Dire Straits - you really should check out the whole album the song is from! The other song Down to the Waterline linked above (and here) is the first track of their self-titled album. Which is not bad at all for a debut album too!
Because it's a shame people don't know of them. =(

Anyways, this song is...interesting for a number of reasons. The lyrics are written by the likes of Tim Rice and music by members of ABBA, and this version is sung by a different band! Furthermore the song was used for a musical titled Chess, which apparently was fairly successful.

Most of the full version being linked, which involves the 'from a musical' aspect in an orchestrated opening for the first 1:45 or so in that (here only the first 50 seconds). It's a fairly abrupt change but it seems to work in a way. The song itself has a catchy chorus too which also contrasts with the spoken verses... in a way one might wonder what this song doesn't have. But enough rambling for the moment!


Alternate Link!
Lyrics:
Spoiler:
[THE AMERICAN:]
Bangkok, Oriental setting
And the city don't know that the city is getting
The creme de la creme of the chess world in a
Show with everything but Yul Brynner

Time flies -- doesn't seem a minute
Since the Tirolean spa had the chess boys in it
All change -- don't you know that when you
Play at this level there's no ordinary venue

It's Iceland -- or the Philippines -- or Hastings -- or --
or this place!

[COMPANY:]
One night in Bangkok and the world's your oyster
The bars are temples but the pearls ain't free
You'll find a god in every golden cloister
And if you're lucky then the god's a she
I can feel an angel sliding up to me

[THE AMERICAN:]
One town's very like another
When your head's down over your pieces, brother

[COMPANY:]
It's a drag, it's a bore, it's really such a pity
To be looking at the board, not looking at the city

[THE AMERICAN:]
Whaddya mean? Ya seen one crowded, polluted, stinking town --

[COMPANY:]
Tea, girls, warm, sweet
Some are set up in the Somerset Maugham suite

[THE AMERICAN:]
Get Thai'd! You're talking to a tourist
Whose every move's among the purest
I get my kicks above the waistline, sunshine

COMPANY:
One night in Bangkok makes a hard man humble
Not much between despair and ecstasy
One night in Bangkok and the tough guys tumble
Can't be too careful with your company
I can feel the devil walking next to me

THE AMERICAN:
Siam's gonna be the witness
To the ultimate test of cerebral fitness
This grips me more than would a
Muddy old river or reclining Buddha

And thank God I'm only watching the game -- controlling it --

I don't see you guys rating
The kind of mate I'm contemplating
I'd let you watch, I would invite you
But the queens we use would not excite you

So you better go back to your bars, your temples, your massage
parlours --

[COMPANY:]
One night in Bangkok and the world's your oyster
The bars are temples but the pearls ain't free
You'll find a god in every golden cloister
A little flesh, a little history
I can feel an angel sliding up to me

One night in Bangkok makes a hard man humble
Not much between despair and ecstasy
One night in Bangkok and the tough guys tumble
Can't be too careful with your company
I can feel the devil walking next to me


Certainly has an asian theme, this song, which I suppose is only fitting. =p Neat beat to it as well, have to say, but the chorus and how it fits in the rest of the song is my main favourite part of it in that regard.

The song itself is about a former chess player going to watch a chess world tournament match while expressing his lack of interest in anything else, such as the city ('This grips me more than would a/Muddy old river or reclining Buddha') or the other, ahem, attractions. As per the musical's story anyway.

Some rather amusing lyrics in showing that too; 'I'd let you watch, I would invite you/But the queens we use would not excite you' and in particular 'I get my kicks above the waistline, sunshine', haha. There's some clever bits in too; that mention of a 'Yul Brynner'? Apparently (yay google) was the actor in 'The King and I', acting as the King of Siam, Siam being Thailand. I guess it does risk falling flat on a number of listeners though; I had to look it up after all to understand.

And 'fun above the waistline'? They showed some Thai boxing in which that is a rule of the fighting in the video too, interestingly. I like to think that's a purposeful triple meaning in that lyric due to that.


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Comments

  1. Old Comment
    Razor Leaf's Avatar
    Is that an MTV logo I see in the top corner? How times have changed.
    Posted June 23rd, 2012 at 06:04 AM by Razor Leaf Razor Leaf is online now
  2. Old Comment
    Catholic Nun's Avatar
    I like this better than the Sultans of Swing, but I don't get the feeling that Dire Straits are my thing haha
    Posted July 2nd, 2012 at 07:08 PM by Catholic Nun Catholic Nun is offline
  3. Old Comment
    bobandbill's Avatar
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Razor Leaf View Comment
    Is that an MTV logo I see in the top corner? How times have changed.
    Back when it was decent, you mean? =p
    Quote:
    I like this better than the Sultans of Swing, but I don't get the feeling that Dire Straits are my thing haha
    Each to their own but you're alone on this. =p
    Posted July 5th, 2012 at 06:57 AM by bobandbill bobandbill is offline
  4. Old Comment
    Grovyle42(Griff8416)'s Avatar
    Aahhh. Another great song. The chorus' tune is great and the lyrics are amusing. I don't have the version with the orchestral version though. Then again, the one I got was from Limewire which told me Falco was the artist, so... =P
    Posted October 2nd, 2012 at 05:18 AM by Grovyle42(Griff8416) Grovyle42(Griff8416) is offline
 

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