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“Everybody Wants to Rule the World”

Posted by purplemary54 on September 21, 2013

There’s a quote from Curt Smith of Tears for Fears over at Wikipedia, in which he says of this song, “The concept is quite serious — it’s about everybody wanting power, about warfare and the misery it causes.”

Umm, okay.  If that’s what he says, then I guess that’s it.  He did sing it.

Honestly, I don’t get that from this song, but it’s as good an explanation as anything else.  There’s a misty, sort of romantic quality to “Everybody Wants to Rule the World.”  I don’t mean romantic in terms of love, although you could interpret it that way if you want.  And if you squint at it a little.  (Emotionally, this song is all over the map, just vague enough to accommodate any variety of happiness or angst.)  I mean it sort of makes me think of idealism and dreams.  I don’t know if it’s the music that accompanies it–that sort of shuffling beat, and the sparkly opening notes.  (I’m pretty sure the opening is some sort of synthesizer, but I can’t swear to it.)  I don’t know if it’s because this song got used in Real Genius, which my brain still seems to interpret over that weird haze of youth.  But this song seems a little bit like a fever dream to me.  The lyrics make no sense; the video makes even less sense.  There’s nothing concrete to hold onto.

That doesn’t take anything away from it.  Thirty years down the line (Jesus, no wonder they’re playing stuff like this on oldies stations now), it’s still one of those songs that makes me happy.  It reminds me of a time when things were more open and possibilities were everywhere, of when I was less cynical and more optimistic.  Or maybe it just makes me feel less cynical and more optimistic.

All of a sudden, I want to see Real Genius again.



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