You don’t just sit in a rocking chair when you’ve built a revolution
More horrible direct politics lyrics from Nicky. Ignore the words, focus on the music: the thrilling drive and subtly aggressive undertone of the verse, led by the hi-hat storming drums and the guitar licks that almost go their own unique path. Quick switch to chorus, where the rest of the instruments become the backing orchestra for the chiming keyboard line. That awesome keyboard line really makes the chorus.
I used to have a lot of problems with this track though I always had the thought in the back of my head that I like it. Then I learned to just ignore the lyrics. The rocking chair bit is a fantastic line but the rest of the song is just cringy. Especially “America/The devil’s playground”. Really, the sooner you learn to just not think of the words James is sing so wonderfully, the better. For those not in the know, Baby Elián was a Cuban kid that ended up getting in the middle of a political mess when a part of his family fled Cuba and who then became the centre point of a biiiiig custody battle. Read it up on Wiki, it’s better than me for this stuff.
Shame there’s never been a full-band live outing of this song. Only James’ acoustic solo moments. It’s great in that form as well (love that verse guitar riff), but I really miss the drums and keyboard. Nonetheless, the version from the band’s Cuba gig (as depicted in the Louder than War DVD) is still well worth hearing, even if just because you can almost sense James’ nervousness in performing the song in front of Fidel Castro himself.