DREAMING IN REVERSE // #003
"Song from the Edge of the World" by Siouxsie & the Banshees (1987 // Polydor)
When I decided to start the process of building a catalog of favorite “forgotten” songs from years gone by, it was songs like this that I had in mind. Of course, it’s kind of hard to say any song by a band as influential as Siouxsie & the Banshees is “forgotten”, but over the years “Song from the Edge of the World” has certainly fallen into the rarer side of things.
I first encountered the song in 1997 on a mixtape that an older friend played religiously in his barely functioning 1986 Ford Taurus. The mixtape had made the long journey from Sacramento by way of another friend’s cousin, which was left in that friend’s car while on a family trip to Utah, which eventually made it’s way to our hands in Michigan a year or two later. And it was that ragged sort of discovery that made us crazy about what was contained within. The tracklist was long gone and the bulk of the songs were b-sides from post punk and new wave bands that we recognized but couldn’t begin to place. But it was this song, which closed out Side One that I was mildly obsessed with for several years until I finally discovered it’s name and origin. Truth be told, I didn’t look too hard because I had a copy of the song on a mixtape of my own, but it was always labeled as just “Siouxsie”, because I’d managed to figure out the band fairly easily. That was enough. Over the next few years, I’d lost the tape and semi-forgotten about the song until one day in 2003, when I was passing through Denver and found myself wading through the stacks of used discs at the wonderful record store, Wax Trax. That familiar drum roll filled the speakers and I fell in love all over again. Luckily, at that point I was in an establishment that was staffed with a couple of guys who couldn’t be happier to fill me in on the name and availability of the track. “Song from the Edge of the World” had been a one off single from 1987 that the band had issued in limited release despite not being overly fond of the production sound. It had just recently been re-issued (in an extended mix) on the deluxe double disc edition of The Best of Siouxsie and the Banshees, and there, after several years of listening to worn out cassettes, I finally had a pristine digital copy with which to play the everloving shit out of until the end of time, or whenever I would lose that disc (two months later it was stolen out of my car while parked at my then apartment in East Lansing, Michigan).
Growing up, I had always been a fan of the singles of Siouxsie & the Banshees, but it wasn’t until I was an adult that I really dove into the deep end of the discography and realized how many wonderful songs were hidden deep inside of some of their less popular albums.There have been many obsessions with many of those songs over the years, but “Song from the Edge of the World” has maintained a hold on my head and heart since that worn out, miles-journeyed mixtape.
I know, i know - I’ve explained the route the song took to find me, and later me to find it’s full story, but I haven’t talked of how it sounds. And honestly, I don’t think I can do it justice after all this time because it sounds like Halloween mixtapes and road trips through the mountains and getting drunk at the Library on Avenue A while waiting for friends on rainy autumn nights and it sounds like trying to get over losing friends and trying to make it through a flight from O’Hare to LAX without having an anxiety attack because while everything was changing at the speed of light, there were still some markers driven into memories that could make you feel better if only for the duration of a four minute song. That is to say it sounds like a great fucking song.
LISTEN to “SONG FROM THE EDGE OF THE WORLD” by SIOUXSIE & THE BANSHEES: Soundcloud // YouTube // Spotify