By DAN MALOSSI, CollegeBand Senior Contributor
After returning stateside from a quite-literal trip “Around the World,” singer Jamie Anderson penned this upbeat rocker to give substantive voice to the recent shedding of his suburban naïveté. After his junior year—from 1984 to 1985—Anderson lived in Nanjing, China and Taipei, Taiwan for a total of nine months, and afterwards circled the globe. “The world is a big place,” said Anderson. “But I really hadn’t seen much of it until I made that trip.” When he returned to Cambridge and his band dropped a particularly-propulsive groove during a fortuitous songwriting session, the lyric came together and “Around the World” was born. Played live, the song was more thrashing and less dance-worthy, but the recorded version catches the band at its gamboling best—aiming to get bodies onto the dance floor with just a dash of social commentary aimed at those deep-thinkers loitering by the punch bowl.
“I was a naive suburban kid with little real knowledge of how others lived,” said Anderson. “I remember writing those lines as plainly as I could to describe what I saw: people living in glittering new buildings, other people living in caves.” Anderson seems to poke fun at his own sheltered upbringing when he writes: “Down on the beach / Resting by the palms / Working on my suntan, oh / I’ve been around the world. And as he comes to grips with lives and places that are alternately “ugly” and “great,” you can almost feel the lobes associated with social justice pulsing and swelling in the nascent songwriter’s brain. Ultimately, after exploring the deep financial and social rifts running through the world’s social strata, Anderson settles on a message of unity: “I’ve been around the world / I’m gonna tell you it true / The people of the world are just like / Me and you.”
Besides the galvanic, Copeland-esque tub-thumping of Manchester, England’s own Robin Forrest and the steady bass groove laid down by Miles Coolidge, Anderson and Phil Robbins’ guitars mesh quite well in a post-punk, open-chord jangle that fits just about right with the pumping rhythm section and carries the lyric upon its shoulders majestically. The band were certainly conscious of the audience when they wrote the music for “Around the World.” Anderson said, “The tempo…lets the listener enjoy the groove without thinking about any deeper meaning, and yet makes room for hearing the lyrics as well.” And for a song that strives to help make sense of an inherently unfair world, this instinct proved crucial.
Why it Matters to Fans of The Stickmen
With bits of appropriated post-punk bliss for the everyman, Stickmen ’87 fans young and old should be able to satisfy their mid-80s fix with this joint. Break out your black turtlenecks, wrap-around shades, and take off #aroundtheworld