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All Fall Down is a song written by Kevin Gilbert and published twice, once in 1989 by his band Giraffe on their album The View From Here, and revised and published in 1995 on his solo album, Thud. Lyrically, the songs are similar, as you can easily see from the lyrics below. Musically, however, the songs are vastly different.

The Giraffe version of the song musically sounds very much like the rest of their work, with the progressive rock influenced synth pop they were known for. The Thud version of the song begins with a muted brass melody with gentler vocals than the Giraffe version. With the chorus, the song launches into a more complete sound, featuring piano, guitar, drum, and bass as well as the brass, though it maintains its generally laid back tone.

The lyrics to the song describe an event where two countries, locked in a Cold War, escalate the situation to the point that nuclear weapons are used, due to understandable, but stupid reasons. The two versions present the situation from the perspective of a citizen who would be affected by the conflict.

On the face of it, the lyrics for both versions look very similar, but there are still some key differences in the Thud version which show significant improvements in the presentation and message of the song. The Thud version uses a much more familiar lyrical tone, drawing the listener in, having nominal character development for the speaker and listener ("I'll wear my favorite tie, you can wear your wedding gown"), and using the chorus to return to a vision of a physical setting to ground the lyrics. In addition, the Thud version doesn't break up the verses as much, allowing for longer and more cohesive descriptions of the situation. Finally, whereas the Giraffe version of the song uses the title and "down" in its repetition, which I think diminishes the meaning and effectiveness of the title, the Thud version shows that Gilbert gained the confidence to use a standard rock nonsense word, "na", for his background hook, allowing the chorus to have more meaningful lyrics.

Shrug (Because of Me and You) off of Thud and Because of You off of Giraffe's The Power of Suggestion have a similar situation, where Gilbert re-used and revised old Giraffe lyrics on Thud. For an example of his revisions over a shorter span of time, the special edition of Toy Matinee has earlier versions of Last Plane Out and There Was a Little Boy, both of which are very different lyrically and, to a lesser extent, musically from their finalized counterparts.

"All Fall Down" from The View From Here by Giraffe

[spoken] "Sundays, holidays, vacation time, we must be ready every day, all the time, to do the right thing if the atomic bomb explodes."

I guess this is it, it's time for what's been called the finale
And this one is quite a surprise
One of a kind, you'll never see this anywhere else friends
Sort of brings tears to your eyes

All fall down, they all fall down

Be watching closely, and you'll be impressed
An order is given and a button is pressed
And a light that is blinding, and a sound that is shrill
Don't blink or you'll miss it, it's the end of free will

Ashes to ashes, all fall down

Down, down, down, they all fall down
Buildings and bridges while we just stand around
Down, down, down, they all fall down
Even the tallest fall down

They all fall down

Look at them now, drawing little lines with their speeches
Each daring the other to cross
It won't be long now, cause one will make a stand he believes in
Believing it's well worth the cost

The other gets angry, refuses to budge
Fueled by some understandable grudge
Now we wait quietly 'til the missile arrives
There's no need to shout about the end of our lives

Ashes to ashes, all fall down

Down, down, down, they all fall down
Buildings and bridges while we just stand around
Down, down, down, they all fall down
Someone unlocked the big cage, and the beast cannot be found, oh
Down, down, down, they all fall down
Cities and nations all leveled to the ground
Down, down, down, they all fall down

It started up as untamed anger
But we can't erase our history
It's in our eyes, it's in our hearts
It's in our hand, we're just what we thought we would be

Down, down, down, yeah, they all fall down
Buildings and bridges while we just stand around
Down, down, down, now gather 'round
As they all fall down

"All Fall Down" from Thud by Kevin Gilbert

I guess this is it
Time for what's been called the finale
And this one comes as no surprise
One of a kind
You'll never see this anywhere else, friends
Sort of brings a tear to your eye
So be watching closely and you'll be impressed
An order is given and a button is pressed
Then a light that is blinding and a sound that is shrill
Don't blink or you'll miss it, it's the end of free will

So turn the radio up and pass the bottle round
And then we'll have one more dance before we all fall down
I'll wear my favorite tie, you can wear your wedding gown
And then we'll both look real sharp when we all fall down

We all fall down

Look at them now, drawing little lines with their speeches
Each daring the other to cross
It won't be long now cause one will make a stand he believes in
Believing it's well worth the cost
Then the other gets angry, refuses to budge
Fueled by some understandable grudge
And now we wait quietly till the missile arrives
There's no need to shout about the end of our lives

So bring your friends now, and we'll laugh at all the clowns
Who think there'll be a better world when we all fall down
And we can sing this song, we'll make a joyful sound
We'll be singing na na na when we all fall down

Buildings and bridges, all leveled to the ground
Cities and nations and we just stand around
Someone unlocked the big cage and the beast cannot be found
So strike up the music and we'll all fall down

So turn the radio up and pass the bottle round
And then we'll have one more drink before we all fall down
I'll wear my favorite tie, you can wear your wedding gown
And then we'll both look real sharp when we all fall down

So come on, sing this song, we'll make a joyful sound
We'll be singing na na na when we all fall down
We all fall down
We all fall down

CST Approved

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