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I've got a telegraph in my hand
Words on paper, written in sand

We've got telegraph

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark - Telegraph (2008 Digital Remaster) Lyrics


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  • What I find particularly ironic 20 years later is that current systems of communication like texting or Twitter are more transitory than the printed word ever was. One could imagine if our society fell to a great calamity the digital records would be imperceptible to any future discoverers. Therefore, current techniques of communication are even cheaper than said telegraphs were. On a side note this is a great tune, musically & interesting.
  • With the possible exception of "Radio Waves," this is the poppiest and most immediately accessible track on the album--though it's still densely layered and about obscure and obsolete technology. The track's melody is sweet; its vocals are jubilant; and it's not as dissonant and cluttered as "Genetic Engineering," though it retains the earlier track's liveliness. Still, the track isn't nearly as positive as it might first seem. McCluskey's voice seems to be straining to find exuberance; the lyrics harp on the impermanence ("words on paper, written in sand") and meaninglessness ("It doesn't mean a damn thing") of the communication; and while the faux morse code sounds pretty, it's now anachronistic gibberish communicating nothing ("we don't understand, we never understand"). The upshot seems to be that the medium is the message: cheap, easily delivered messages, like those delivered via telegraph, will be insignificant, easily forgotten ones.

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