R.O.D.

Lyrics

(1)
It's approaching
600 pounds gas and flesh
Rotten, tainted
It's approaching
Lips and tongue abhorrent
Flickering lexicon (2)
Or a stray dog pack leader

Hide, hide, all good people hang out for a result
Hide, dive, hide, reasonable people in silence do exult (3)
Realm of dusk
Realm of dusk

The Northerns
Look at the North ones
Their brains are unhinged by the sun (4)

Hide, hide, all good people hang out for a result
Hide, dive, hide, reasonable people in silence do exult
Realm of dusk
Realm of dusk

Rare stone
Our faces are rare stone
It comes to take them
Root out the armies, and

Hide, hide, all good people hang out for a result
Hide, dive, hide, reasonable people, it's the realm of dusk
Realm of dusk
Realm of dusk
Realm of dusk

Hide, hide, dive!
Realm of dusk...

 

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Notes

1. R.O.D.=Realm of Dusk. Dannyno remarks on the Fall online forum:

This is a red herring, I'm sure, but I do like the symmetry of Rod Serling being behind the Twilight Zone. Rod = R.O.D.; Twilight Zone = Realm of Dusk.

MES talks about the song a bit here:

R.O.D. (from _Bend Sinister_, 1986) "Realm Of Dusk, what do you think of that one?" Smith asks. I say I like the guitar a lot. "That was Brix, brilliant. It was an instrumental at first, I added the vocals later. It reminded me of surf music. The lyrics are about approaching the mediocre." I ask him how he feels about _Bend Sinister_, because he says something different about it in each interview. "I like _Bend Sinister_, it's brilliant, but I think it's been over-reported on. I found that critics always write things like 'this is obviously the record of a dying band', and later say they always thought it was a great record." 

^

2. As befits a creature who appears in a realm of dusk (or is what approaches here the realm itself? If so, 600 lbs seems a bit light) it is as if the words with which we can describe it are hard to descry, flickering in out of reach.  

^

3. The origin of this line can probably be found in a poem by W.B. Yeats (1865-1939) entitled "To a Friend Whose Work Has Come to Nothing":

Now all the truth is out,
Be secret and take defeat
From any brazen throat,
For how can you compete,
Being honor bred, with one
Who were it proved he lies
Were neither shamed in his own
Nor in his neighbors' eyes;
Bred to a harder thing
Than Triumph, turn away
And like a laughing string
Whereon mad fingers play
Amid a place of stone,
Be secret and exult,
Because of all things known
That is most difficult.
 
On the Peel version the lyric comes even closer to the line from Yeats, as MES there sings "Be silent and exult."  
 
 
4. The North (of England?) is not usually associated with overexposure to the sun; perhaps the "north ones" have wandered South and, unused to the amount of sunlight there, have become unhinged.
 

More Information

R.O.D.: Fall Tracks A-Z

The Story of the Fall: 1986

R.O.D.: The Fall Online Forum  includes an interesting interpretation of the song by Dktr Skagra, whose hypothesis is that the song is about the Fall.

Comments (20)

dannyno
  • 1. dannyno | 04/05/2014

The last lines after "move out the armies" go like this, to my ears:

Hide, hide, all good people hang out for a result
Hide, dive, hide, reasonable people exult realm of dusk
Realm of dusk
etc

i.e. not "in silence to exult"

marc balance
  • 2. marc balance | 16/05/2014

...in the peel session version it is loud and clear ' reasonable people, it's the realm of dusk...' ... same, but not so loud and clear, in the album version..

Joseph Mullaney
  • 3. Joseph Mullaney | 27/05/2014

It doesn't sound like `robes in tatters' to me. Could well be `Robson tainted', which I believe has been pointed out elsewhere.

bzfgt
  • 4. bzfgt | 28/05/2014

Does "Robson tainted" mean anything? Or is it purely about phonetics?

bzfgt
  • 5. bzfgt | 28/05/2014

I agree it sounds more like that, by the way; I'm just now listening to the Peel version and it seems definitely to be "...tainted." But who the hell is Robson?

OK, I rewound it a few times and am changing it to "Rotten, tainted" unless there's a good argument for "Robson" ("rotten" actually sounds clearish to me right now). It's kind of a shame, since "robes in tatters" is evocative in a kind of trashy way...the fact that it would be wearing "robes" is kind of amusing.

Joseph Mullaney
  • 6. Joseph Mullaney | 29/05/2014

The England football team's manager in 1986 (when this song was released) was Bobby Robson. Their captain was Bryan Robson of Manchester United. Either one of these Robsons seems to be referenced in the programme for the `Hey Luciani' stage play: http://www.visi.com/fall/news/luciani.html

Of course it may not be Robson he's saying, I'll listen again.

bob stevens
  • 7. bob stevens | 04/08/2014

I think I remember reading in an 80's article Smith talking disparagingly of Robsons England. (They had failed to qualify for the 1984 Euros, and the song was written presumably after this and before the 1986 WC)
Robsons reputation had presumably took a dip since his Ipswich days and was now tainted? But I have no idea why this observation would go into this song.
The word result is in the song however.

bob stevens
  • 8. bob stevens | 04/08/2014

This has got me thinkin!
"The lyrics are about approaching the mediocre." (MES) - Mediocre is a very apt word for English football since 66

josephmullaney85@gmail.com
  • 9. josephmullaney85@gmail.com | 23/09/2014

Having listened to this again I'm certain that it is Robson.

Karl B.
  • 10. Karl B. | 27/10/2014

Just to share some thoughts on this one.i think the Realm of Dusk is describing Marks penchant for unsavoury watering holes.hes known to frequent these types of establishments soaking it up and scribble lyrics on fag boxs and beer mats.A hide or a dive is common slang for early house type bars located in old dock or market areas to cater for the working man on night shift.he too was entitled to a beer after work.they are usually shuttered from the street and can be dark grimy holes,often times hard to tell what time of day it is from withinin,its a realm of perpetual dusk but thts probably agreeable to the clientele.in the modern era they are frequnted by alcoholic derelicts,lonely old men and the racing news hard men types.verse 1 i think describes the latter type of clientele.and i think the word is rupsitating,one of marks made up words with a Lovecraftian vibe.like hes describing one of H.Ps elder gods.pure malevolence.rupturing and pulsating.simultaneously.the psycho gangleader.verse 2 describes the unsettling re-emergence from one of these establishments.verse 3 i think describes the old war veteran contingency,chiseled features,looks that are precious.still at war or in war time.anyway these are just my feelings about the song.

dannyno
  • 11. dannyno | 26/06/2015

I hear "Rotten", not "Robson". However, the song is not without potential nods to soccer.

The first live performance of the song was apparently 12 July 1986. The World Cup took place in Mexico 31 May to 29 June. Argentina won, having knocked out England 2-1 in a quarter-final notorious for Diego Maradona's "hand of God" goal.

"Hide, hide, all good people hang out for a result" sounds like it could refer to football results.

"Their brains are unhinged by the sun" could refer to Northern European teams coping with the Mexican heat.

But it all seems a bit forced.

harleyr
  • 12. harleyr | 22/07/2015

Move out the armies...

Isn't this...
Roots out the armies?

I took it to mean the giant creature who thinks our faces look like rare stones deliberately flushes out the human armies, so it can stamp on them and get on with its stone collecting.

bzfgt
  • 13. bzfgt | 24/07/2015

Could be, I am listening to it now and considering it.

Anyone up for transcribing "Pledge" or "Stout Man"?

bzfgt
  • 14. bzfgt | 24/07/2015

I think so based on Peel. I'm going to listen to BS now and check that though. I changed it for now, I like your interpretation, it ties it together nicely. I never knew what the fuck any of this thing was about.

bzfgt
  • 15. bzfgt | 24/07/2015

Oh yeah, based on BS it's definitely "root." A pleasing result.

Martin
  • 16. Martin | 04/11/2016

I've listened to a few early live performances of the song (including the debut) and every time it's sounded like "rotten" and not "Robson" to me.

bzfgt
  • 17. bzfgt | 19/11/2016

Yes, I am right now listening to Peel and I hear very clearly and distinctly "rotten, tainted," not "Robson," although it's an interesting suggestion. I'm sticking with this but Mr. Robson is now, of course, in the record.

bzfgt
  • 18. bzfgt | 19/11/2016

Oog, I don't know about the other variants, I'm going to leave it for now. What a great song!

bzfgt
  • 19. bzfgt | 19/11/2016

Not sure about "root out," Peel sounds more like "move" to me but it doesn't seem definite. Maybe I'll listen to the 1% slower version next.

bzfgt
  • 20. bzfgt | 19/11/2016

I'm still not sure, but it definitely sounds 1% slower...and BS definitely sounds more like "root"! Changed.

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