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In the City
The Jam Lyrics


Jump to: Overall Meaning | Line by Line Meaning

In the city there's a thousand things I want to say to you
But whenever I approach you, you make me look a fool
I wanna say, I wanna tell you
About the young ideas
But you turn them into fears
In the city there's a thousand faces, all shining bright
And those golden faces are under twenty-five
They wanna say, they gonna tell ya
About the young idea
You better listen now you've said your bit-a, go!

And I know what you're thinking
You still think I am crap
But you'd better listen, man
Because the kids know where it's at

In the city there's a thousand men in uniforms
And I've heard they now have the right to kill a man
We wanna say, we gonna tell ya
About the young idea
And if it don't work, at least we said we've tried

In the city, in the city
In the city, in the city
In the city there's a thousand things I want to say to you

Overall Meaning

The Jam's song "In the City" is a powerful commentary on the experiences of young people in urban environments. Frontman Paul Weller sings about his frustration with trying to communicate with someone he cares about, who consistently dismisses his ideas and fears. Meanwhile, the vibrant city around him is full of youthful energy and creativity, represented by the "golden faces" under 25 who want to make their mark on the world. The song takes a darker turn in the final verses, addressing the police violence and oppression that young people face in the city.


At its core, "In the City" is about the struggle to be heard and taken seriously as a young person in society. The protagonist feels powerless and frustrated in the face of someone who won't listen to him, while the city he inhabits is a reflection of the energy and ideas that are constantly bubbling up from the younger generation. The idea of the "young idea" is repeated throughout the song, representing the potential and creativity of young people that is often stifled by those in power.


The final verses of the song take a political turn, addressing a growing sense of unease around police brutality and state-sanctioned violence against young people in the city. The reference to the "right to kill a man" is a chilling reminder that the city is not always a safe or welcoming place for young people, particularly those who are marginalized or disadvantaged. The song ends on a note of defiant optimism, with the narrator declaring that even if their ideas and actions don't ultimately succeed, they will still have tried to make their voices heard.


Line by Line Meaning

In the city there's a thousand things I want to say to you
The city is full of thoughts and feelings that I want to express to you.


But whenever I approach you, you make me look a fool
Every time I try to talk to you, you embarrass me and make me feel foolish.


I wanna say, I wanna tell you About the young ideas But you turn them into fears
I have some fresh and innovative ideas that I want to share with you but you are dismissive and make them scary.


In the city there's a thousand faces, all shining bright And those golden faces are under twenty-five They wanna say, they gonna tell ya About the young idea You better listen now you've said your bit-a, go!
There are numerous promising young talents in the city who want to share their creative ideas with you. You should listen to them since you've already had your turn to speak.


And I know what you're thinking You still think I am crap But you'd better listen, man Because the kids know where it's at
I am aware that you think lowly of me and my ideas, but you should take young people seriously since they are knowledgeable about what's happening in the city.


In the city there's a thousand men in uniforms And I've heard they now have the right to kill a man We wanna say, we gonna tell ya About the young idea And if it don't work, at least we said we've tried
There are many police officers in the city who can legally take someone's life. Despite the risks, we are still going to share our young ideas and although we may not succeed, we will know that we tried.


In the city, in the city In the city, in the city In the city there's a thousand things I want to say to you
The city is bursting with things that I want to express to you, and the repetition emphasizes this overwhelming feeling.




Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group
Written by: PAUL JOHN WELLER

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind
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Most interesting comment from YouTube:

Audrey

In the city there's a thousand things I want to say to you
But whenever I approach you
You make me look a fool
I wanna say
I wanna tell you
About the young ideas
But you turn them into fears
In the city there's a thousand faces all shining bright
And those golden faces are under 25
They wanna say
They gonna tell ya
About the young idea
You better listen now you've said your bit-a

And I know what you're thinking
You're sick of that kind of crap
But you'd better listen man
Because the kids know where it's at

In the city there's a thousand men in uniforms
And I've heard they now have the right to kill a man
We wanna say, we gonna tell ya
About the young idea
And if it don't work, at least we still tried

In the city, in the city
In the city
In the city
In the city there's a thousand things I want to say to you



All comments from YouTube:

Erik Ph. G. Solberg

Bought this album 14 years old in '77. It is still an important part of my life. The jam Forever!

Bobby Chuck

Hell yes!

ToxicGunz

YES I GOT AT 14

David Bruce

When I first heard this back in the day blew me away been a JAM FAN ever since even now at nearly 50 years of age listening to them still gets me going in my opinion best band in the world

Free Music Backing Tracks

+David Bruce the stone roses, the smiths, the jam we have some banging bands

Ronald Dump

Best is kind of subjective no ? I was lidtening to this in the 80s too when mainstream punk was too heavy for me .

JustAMeanie

wowwwwwwwwwwww

ToxicGunz

THE BEST F@@@ING BAND IN THE WORLD. JHON WELLER

Brian Barrett

Ditto

Rouge Lion

One of the greatest debut singles.

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