Stepping Out

Lyrics

(1)

I used to believe everything I read 
But that's all changed and now I'm stepping out
That's all changed and now I'm
Stepping out 

I used to stay in the house and never go out
But now I'm stepping out, stepping out
I used to stay in the house and never go out
But now I'm stepping out, stepping out, stepping out

I used to stay on my feet all 24 hours
But now I'm stepping out, stepping out
The light'd be on 24 hours
But now I'm stepping out, stepping out, stepping out

So people get ready, strip down your houses (2)
Cause I'm stepping out, stepping out
So people get ready, strip down your houses
Cause I'm stepping out, stepping out, stepping out

I used to believe everything I read 
But that's all changed 'cause now I'm stepping out
That's all changed cause now I'm
stepping out 

Stepping out 

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Notes

1. This is one of MES's most straightforward lyrics. Actually, I'd say it's the most straightforward Fall lyric.

And so the notes stood for over three years. At that point, Martin, one of my operatives, submitted a report that threatens to kick all that fatuous certainty into a cocked hat, as neither of us has any idea what it could mean or, indeed, if it means anything:

"It may be interesting that, in the (officially released) gig at the Tower Club, Oldham (21 August 1978) MES says between Frightened and this song: 'This next one is a sequel to the last one.' Whether this was just a throwaway comment on the night or if MES himself saw 'Stepping Out' as the answer to the fears expressed in 'Frightened,' or indeed if 'Stepping Out' was written after 'Frightened,' are questions probably hard to determine but for me nonetheless worth asking.

^

 

2. This seems to quote "People Get Ready," the 1965 hit single by The Impressions. The lyrics use common tropes from Gospel train songs (Wikipedia mentions "Wade in the Water," "The Gospel Train," and "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot," and also see, for instance, "This Train"); often these songs are thought to alude to the Underground Railroad, and the song's author, Curtis Mayfield, has said that the song is about oppression. Dan remarks that, i this light,

 "lines like this:

"I used to stay on my feet all 24 hours
But now I'm stepping out, stepping out
The light'd be on 24 hours
But now I'm stepping out, stepping out, stepping out"

look a bit different. I've always thought of it in terms of amphetamine-driven benders. But maybe, given the Impressions' song draws on the experience of black escapees from slavery, we should be seeing these lines as literally being about having to work all day."

^

 

 

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Comments (13)

Zack
  • 1. Zack | 08/06/2015

So straightforward, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if these lyrics were written by someone other than MES, as was the case with some other Early-Early Fall songs ("Dresden Dolls", "You Don't Turn Me On", etc).

Martin
  • 2. Martin | 04/10/2016

It may be interesting that, in the (officially released) gig at the Tower Club, Oldham (21 August 1978) MES says between Frightened and this song: "This next one is a sequel to the last one". Whether this was just a throwaway comment on the night or if MES himself saw Stepping Out as the answer to the fears expressed in Frightened, or indeed if Stepping Out was written after Frightened, are questions probably hard to determine but for me nonetheless worth asking.

bzfgt
  • 3. bzfgt | 15/10/2016

That is doubtless important, and doubtless inscrutable! I can't tell what the connection might be, and it might well be a throwaway comment that means nothing, but you're right, it cannot be ignored.

Remember, if you see something, say something...

bzfgt
  • 4. bzfgt | 15/10/2016

Thanks, Martin. You've spoiled the one lyric no one ever had any questions about!

I shouldn't criticize, of course, it's what keeps us in business...

bzfgt
  • 5. bzfgt | 15/10/2016

And, Zack, that's exactly what I was thinking...like "Last Orders," which is thematically similar. Now, if he'd said this was the sequel to that...

dannyno
  • 6. dannyno | 20/10/2016

Interesting.

I'm not sure you could say that Stepping Out is a continuation of Frightened, so hard to think of it as a sequel in the sense of developing a character or a story - they do feel like distinct entities and voices. However, the "but that's all changed" line could be seen as the flip side of Frightened's "I don't want to dance / I want to go home", and so you can certainly see it as a thematic sequel without too much difficult.

dannyno
  • 7. dannyno | 20/10/2016

From "A New Career in a New Town", interview by Oliver Lowenstein, Melody Maker 18 November 1978, p43

http://thefall.org/gigography/78nov18.html


"I am still in a real situation, in a music situation, so I'm not going to write about oppression, stuff like "Steppin' Out", that I used to write about work, and how I resented it. When you get in different situations you should write about them."


Dan

dannyno
  • 8. dannyno | 20/10/2016

Worth noting the 1979 Joan Armatrading song, "Steppin' Out".

http://www.metrolyrics.com/steppin-out-lyrics-joan-armatrading.html

Dan

bzfgt
  • 9. bzfgt | 21/10/2016

Hmm, so it does seem to be penned by MES, pace our conspiracy theories...

Yeah, Joan Armatrading, and I always think of Billy Joel, "If that's stepping up then I'm stepping out"...that would be a real coup if we could establish that MES was influenced by Billy Joel.

EDIT" crap, it's "If that's movin' up then I'm movin' out"...oh well.

bzfgt
  • 10. bzfgt | 22/10/2016

"a body that fits its clothes better than it suggests"

What the fuck does that mean?

dannyno
  • 11. dannyno | 22/10/2016

"People get ready"

The title, of course, of a famous 1965 single by "The Impressions", written by Curtis Mayfield. if, as MES said in that interview, the song is about oppression, and if he is deliberately referring to the Impressions single, then the connections seems appropriate.

And lines like this...

"I used to stay on my feet all 24 hours
But now I'm stepping out, stepping out
The light'd be on 24 hours
But now I'm stepping out, stepping out, stepping out"

...look a bit different. I've always thought of it in terms of amphetamine-driven benders. But maybe, given the Impression song draws on the experience of black escapees from slavery, we should be seeing these lines as literally being about having to work all day.

dannyno
  • 12. dannyno | 22/10/2016

"a body that fits its clothes better than it suggests"

<confused> Where's that from?

bzfgt
  • 13. bzfgt | 29/10/2016

Right, Dan, I can't for my part believe I missed the Curtis Mayfield connection there! Staring us in the proverbial face...

"A body that fits its clothes" was penned by one Oliver Lowenstein, in the Melody Maker article you linked to, to describe Mark Edward Smith.

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