My Top 1000 Songs #179: ...Floating In Space

Full title (of the song and the 1997 album it opens): "Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space." But that's kind of a mouthful to use as the post headline; it's also a spot-on descriptor of the song (and much of the album)--slip on some headphones, ingest the chemical of your choice, and off you go into the farthest reaches of consciousness.

But while the sonic explorations are fascinating--from that intermittent hospital room "ping" to the slowly-building orchestration to the trippy ebb-and-flow instrumentation--it's also a stirring, heartfelt rumination on love and hurt. That refrain of "All I want in life's a little bit of love to take the pain away" is simultaneously sad and hopeful, the loneliness of the track countered by the idealization of love's power of salvation. And it's rendered all the more powerful by its canon-like structure, overlapping verses that demand concentration even as the music compels you to drift away and bliss out.

It's also an interesting song in that, like the Velvet Underground's "Sweet Jane," the version I first fell in love with was an adulteration of the proper recording. In this case, the liberal borrowing of words & melody from Elvis Presley's "Can't Help Falling In Love" forced the band to release an edited version of the song on the 1997 album. This was ultimately replaced by the original unedited version on the reissue (with a choir singing the Elvis bit at the end), and while the "new" (i.e. original) mix is the truer representation of the artist's vision (and the choir is indeed gorgeous), as in the case with "Sweet Jane" it will always sound a little weird to me. 

Here's the abbreviated version I grew up with:

Here's the complete version from the reissue:

While it's a stunning studio creation, Spiritualized do a remarkable job recreating it live, the gospel vocals of the original uncut version really taking flight: