They couldn't see
All the things that we couldn't see
And we couldn't be
The people we all wanted to be
We go following on
Until we come to a stand
At the stations we made
At the stations we made

Like a train on twisted tracks
Afraid
Delayed
Like a train on twisted tracks

Fate never lies
It's everywhere in plain black and white
And we have to admit
We never know if wrong isn't right
But we go following on
Until we come to a stand
At the stations we made
At the stations we made

Like a train on twisted tracks
Afraid
Delayed
Like a train on twisted tracks

Like a train on twisted tracks
Afraid
Delayed
Like a train on twisted tracks


The sampled comments/vocals at the end of the track are a topic of much debate. The best guesstimation so far is...

 

You knew something I didn't know
(In black and white)
You were born on the twisted tracks weren't you?


'NM Mk2' has already divided opinion so far. I think it fair to assume that virtually all NM fans see the first two albums for the fantastic works they undoubtedly are, but Warp was a departure from that 'comfortable' norm. Hence, opinions reflect this.

Well, to me, many of the ingredients of 'classic NM' are here in this track. That 'new' percussion thuds in, but then the unmistakable Mansfield sound ensues...

Kicking right off with those distinctive electronic background 'burbles', which flow throughout the track ... Almost emphasizing a vision of a sci-fi future from a time gone by.

This is an alienated electronic sound. There is a sense of detachment to it all. It's stripped down, yet rich and warm at the same time.

The percussive white-noise effects I really like. Clean and cool: elements of Germanic-like electronics benefiting from Tony's human touch.

The vocals are 'multiplexed', and disarmingly good - even when I can't understand them. And I can't. Samplings of what seem to be surreptitiously recorded studio 'banter' are used. Even female backing vocal snippets too. It's all weird, new and experimental, and adds to the sense of detachment. (Expressing alienation in a song doesn't have to mean yelling and screaming over a mindless dirge of noise, and fortunately Tony understands this).

But what is a 'train on twisted tracks'? Could it describe in a different way man's sense of loneliness and un-ease in the modern world? (A similar theme of previous tracks such as "This World of Walter"?)

From first listen it was apparent to me this is the best track on the album. It's all New Musik - the atmosphere and magic is there and the technology is cutting edge. It's captivating and I never tire of it.

I think it's as good as the earlier material but in a new way. So I'm giving it:

96/100

(Richard M)


This track has many NM trademarks: repetition, crunchy bass sound, typical Tony lyrics, bits of sampled speech, layered vocals, etc. It is more stripped down than we're used to in comparison with the first 2 albums. I love the 'burbling' noises in the background (sample & hold?) which remind me of the Stranglers intro to Just Like Nothing on Earth.

 

If I frown a little during the first 2 tracks on this album, this one has me smiling. This one is easily in my top 10 all time favourite New Musik songs. Thumbs up.

(Rich E)


Perhaps it's this track, more than any other, that cements 'Warp' as a "proper" NM album. At last the synth themes are lush and infectious. The percussion, though clearly Venner rather than Towner, sits more comfortably than the openers.

 

The singing is, actually, not quite classic NM in its approach. More anthemic, multilayered, almost chorus-like. But it's still classic Tony.

Nuff said!

Other things I like.

The choppy bass synth lines (bretheren to 'Twelfth House').

The absolutely fantastic sample-and-hold synth burbles that permeate the whole piece and are left in isolation just past the 2min30sec mark.

But, most of all, those sampled off-the-cuff remarks that feature in the latter part of the track.

Just what do they say?

"You did something I didn't know?"

"Born on the twisted tracks mate?"

And that surreal female voice

"...in black & White..."

I've listened to them hundreds and hundreds of times through the years. I still can't nail what they say.

But it's genius.

Quite simply, no other band can make 'em like this!

(Graham G)


I absolutely adore Train On Twisted Tracks. In fact it's my fave NM track, period. To me, it's without doubt the emotional heart around which a somewhat skittish album orbits. To me, the mark of a good song is simply this - if you take away the instrumentation, the production, and the context, would it still stand up, musically, as a complete piece of work.

 

And, with Train, I think the answer's a resounding 'yes'. I could see this stripped down and reconstructed as a lounge anthem, in a New York supper club, with just a piano, a trumpet and drums played with brushes! I really could. It's a class act and, I think, shows just how much of a creative crossroads Tony was at, at this phase. Warp shows the producer and songwriter fighting it out. Sadly, over most of the album, the producer won.

But, on Train, I'm reminded of just how much potential Tony had as a classic, wistful pop songwriter he was too. Shame.

(David L)