My Top 1000 Songs #345: Living Too Late

[I've been writing up my Top 1000 songs on a daily basis--you can see them all in descending order by hitting the All My Favorite Songs tag.]

It's the rhythm section that hooks you from the opening notes, that familiar boom-boom-THWACK single-bass-note riff, yet another variation on the stalwart "Sister Ray" motif. The Fall have visited these parts before, the song a sort of sequel to Hex Enduction Hour's "Winter." But where that song had a slow, brooding, almost threatening vibe, this 1986 single (later appended to versions of the Bend Sinister album) has a more entrancing sheen to it, a touch of the pop jangle that Brix Smith brought into the mix. 

The band let the bassline do the heavy lifting, everyone else lending some atmospheric, almost psychedelic, backing to Mark E. Smith's relatively restrained warblings. As usual, make of his wicked poetry what you will, but Smith sounds almost reticent, facing down aging despite a few more good decades ahead of him. "Crows feet are ingrained on my face, and I'm living too late."

The persistent riff weaves a hypnotic spell, intermittently broken up by sheer cacophony and chaos, the rhythm dropping away as Smith goes utterly batty, only to have the drums and bass haltingly shuffle back in and pull the mess back down to earth.

Live in 1987 (audio only, starting at 10:37):