You Take Me Up

Album: Into The Gap (1984)
Charted: 2 44
  • songfacts ®
  • Lyrics
  • This song is an odd contradiction: With music based on African American spirituals, it tells the story of a factory worker in desperate financial condition, but it also has a fun, quirky feel that belies the message. It's almost like the Seven Dwarfs singing "Heigh Ho" as they go into the mines.

    In our interview with lead singer Tom Bailey, he explained: "On the face of it is very kind of fun-oriented. It's kind of a novelty song. It's almost forgettable in a certain sense, but behind it, the subject matter is really important."

    Tom added that they had a specific social commentary in mind for the tune. "It takes its musical form partly from Negro spiritual songs that slaves would sing in the cotton fields," he said. "We reimagined that as a contemporary reality for people working in factories and sweatshops and places like that. The modern forms of slavery, if you like."
  • Tom Bailey wrote this song with the other members of the Thompson Twins trio, Alannah Currie and Joe Leeway. The lyric is intentionally gender-neutral - "I know what it means to work hard on machines" can apply to either a man or a woman working in a factory.

    The video, however, portrayed the labor as outdoor construction work with lots of digging.
  • According to Bailey, the group didn't get a good feel for many of their songs until they performed them in front of an audience. This one really hit home when they realized that they were selling T-shirts and other merchandise at their shows that was likely made by exploited factory workers very much like the one they were singing about.
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