You're running in circles
Yet travelling in straight lines
You're racing around
You move at the speed of time
We're running together
We're moving along the way
Whatever the weather
You'll find there'll be no delay

Sure you can hit the beaten track
But you can never turn it back

One way

Moving on a straight line
Moving on a straight line

You're making decisions
You wonder which way to choose
There's this way, and that way
How could you ever lose
We're shifting together
We're on a production line
All drifting together
As a patent unique design

Yes you can hit the beaten track
But you can never turn it back

One way

Straight lines. Straight lines
Straight lines. Straight lines
Straight lines. Straight lines
Straight lines. Straight lines

Moving on a straight line
Moving on a straight line

It's part of the service
That carries you on ahead
There's only the one way
The ticket is in your head
With robot precision
We're gonna be doin' just fine
So here we are, here we go
Moving in one straight line

Sure you can hit the beaten track
But you can never turn it back

One way

Straight lines. Straight lines
Straight lines. Straight lines
Straight lines. Straight lines
Straight lines. Straight lines

Sure you can hit the beaten track
But you can never turn it back

One way

Straight lines. Straight lines
Straight lines. Straight lines


Their first single I think? I never heard it as a single. First heard it when I bought 'From A to B'. That opening fooled my mum a few times, answering the door to no-one. Of course all the NM trademarks are there. Metronomic fast beat, guitar, melodic synths, catchy hook. No reverse echo on the vocals unusually? Tony sings at least two layered vocal lines. Never fail to enjoy this one but not the strongest track on the album. At over 5 mins it's a stretch - the single was shorter I think. I do love the rasping synth pads, as well as the string pads - credited to Nick Bailey (who's he?).

Never really considered what the lyrics are about, but I suspect it's trying to say that despite our bustling existence there's an air of predictable inevitability about it all. Could be completely wrong of course!

First released in '79 - shall we have a 30th party in a few years?

(Graham G)


I first heard this one on my crackly old album, and not the single release -  that passed me by. I was very excited as the stylus met the vinyl... The opening doorbell was a cool touch. (Perhaps not the first time it's ever been used in a pop song - didn't Wings' "Let 'Em in" feature it, or am I way off?) Anyway. The slow build up which follows creates tension well, and you do wonder what is about to follow...

The bass kicks in nicely and sets a fast pace (it must have nearly worn Tony Hibbert's fingers away), and I like those repeated smooth electric guitar riffs. The track is almost danceable; certainly it's very upbeat and energetic. Nice string synths (courtesy of Mr Bailey), and some good use by Tony of his twelve-string acoustic. There is an unusual 'buzzing' type of synth sound in the background which first starts at around 50 seconds in, which adds intrigue...

I like those 'rasping synth pads' Graham referred to. Well, I'm assuming they are the prominent white noise-like 'Tss Ttsss' sounds in the right speaker? And also those slightly similar but quieter sounds which almost echo Tony's "Straight Lines" vocal in the chorus. They add a certain something to the track, definitely, and are quite distinct. They also make use of the stereo soundstage in an effective manner.

Overall "Straight Lines" has some good atmosphere and a full 'band' sound. Classic NM trademarks. It's a track I've never tired of and it never outstays it's welcome even at 5:12.

And maybe it has a slightly sad (but not depressing) feel to it? The lyrics describe how we all follow a certain course in life and have no real say in the matter despite what we might like to think. Well, that's my take anyway! It's a track I like and it sets the tone well
for what follows...

(RichardM)


Being nearly 30 years ago my memeory is a bit fuzzy but I seem to remember first hearing Straight Lines on single after hearing and buying Living By Numbers and World Of Water. Being the sad sack that I am I remember being impressed that this was on the original GTO label, the same as Donna Summer singles were.

Plus, for the first time, i'd seen what the band looked like thanks to the picure cover!

As for the song itself, it was different to Living and Water, more band like and less NM effects. I did have lots of the acoustic guitar which is what I love about Tony's music.

It always puzzled me why, as there was a long version on the album, this didn't come out as a 12"?

Well not a great review, but hey, I'm an IT Technician not a music writer! ;-)

(Vince W)