Thursday, August 7, 2008

NURGH! Greatest Songs Of Our Time!!!! #5: "Cities in Dust" by Siouxsie And the Banshees (1985)

I don't recall when I first heard "Cities in Dust," but it was originally released as the first single off the album "Tinderbox" in October of 1985. It began to solidify as a personal favorite sometime around 1993, when it was in regular rotation on a wonderful new local alternative station called "The Rocket." I distinctly remember lying on my bedroom floor, staring up at the ceiling, and relishing the sound of the chimes that open the track. I've always thought the single belonged over the title sequence in a fantasy movie of my own making. Despite my inability to hear a sample, "Cities" became my first ever ringtone on my first ever cell phone. It's a tad muted, and I'd have preferred the chimes to the chorus, but there it is.

"'This was our first trip to Pompeii, another amazing experience,' Siouxsie enthuses. 'Seeing a whole civilisation petrified in lava was like putting yourself in the place at the time, and imagining how it must have been to be there when it happened. I find it really easy to do that, to get ghost images of life continuing as it was. I often wonder if that's what real hauntings are --- your imagination and your senses bringing things back to life. That's why you'd never be able to capture it on film.'"

Water was running; children were running
You were running out of time
Under the mountain, a golden fountain
Were you praying at the Lares shrine?
But oh your city lies in dust, my friend

We found you hiding we found you lying
Choking on the dirt and sand
Your former glories and all the stories
Dragged and washed with eager hands

But oh your city lies in dust, my friend

Hot and burning in your nostrils
Pouring down your gaping mouth
Your molten bodies blanket of cinders
Caught in the throes .......

And your city lies in dust

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