Album: The Reducers
. . .
In the past week or so, I’ve really been hard on 1984 Jim, pointing out that he underrated “Ghostbusters” and overrated the Red Rockers Schizophrenic Circus album.
So let me now praise 1984 Jim. Because one thing that 1984 Jim, 2020 Jim and eventually, 2056 Jim will all agree upon: “Out of Step” is a fucking fantastic song from start to finish.
I mean, just check out Tom Tom Trombley’s utterly on fire snare drum pattern at the very beginning. It’s a complete attention-grabber from the get-go, as he’s joined by bassist Steve Kaika and an ever-churning twin-guitar explosion from Hugh Birdsall and Peter Detmold that has punk rock fire, but isn’t really punk at all. Except that it kinda is, especially when Detmold opens his mouth and sings one of the most relatable set of lyrics I’ve ever heard.
Every place I’ve ever been
I meet some people who don’t fit in
And I just can’t be sure if it’s just a mood I’m in
But they seem so
Out of touch
And out of step
Out of touch with society
Trombley drives the chorus, alternating stop-times with short sharp shock drum rolls, stopping the song only to push it harder. Because “Out of Step” never lets up, barreling out of the first chorus straight into the second verse.
So when they’re walking down the street
Can’t face the people that they meet
They look the other way or stare down at their feet
Because they feel so
Out of touch and
Out of step
Out of touch with you and me
This is followed by a quick bridge, which provides just a skosh of relief, as well as a cool extra touch when the rest of the band echoes the word “by” — a quick piece of extra musicality that you might even miss, because it happens so fast.
Popular trends just pass them by (by-by-byyyyyyy)
Don’t ask me to explain, I couldn’t tell you why
Of course, you might be thinking that Detmold is punching down, but he’s really protesting too much, as the third verse provides the twist you simultaneously knew was coming and are glad happened.
There’s a pressure all the time
To push it up and stand in line
But if they think I’m one of them
Well they must be fucking blind
Don’t they see that I’m out of touch
I’m out of step
I’m out of touch
I mean, if he was really talking about other people, Johnny Rotten style, “Out of Step” would still get over, just for the fiery music and impassioned performance, but the fact that he’s talking about himself, Paul Westerberg style puts it over the top. This is me, I think. This is me, you think. I’m out of touch. I’m out of step.
Of course, I’d felt that way my whole life, with the irony being that I was just beginning to find a group of people to be out of step with. Many of whom loved this song as much as I did.
“Out of Step”
“Out of Step” live in Japan, 2004
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