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These Colours Don't Run

Discussion in 'A Matter Of Life And Death' started by Anonymous, Aug 30, 2006.


How good is These Colours Don't Run on a scale of 1-10?

  1. 10

  2. 9

  3. 8

  4. 7

  5. 6

  6. 5

    0 vote(s)
  7. 4

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  8. 3

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  10. 1

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  1. Anomica

    Anomica Trooper

    Re: 'These Colours Don't Run'

    I think this might be extra valid in the US as - as far as I know - the GI Bill mean that after 4 years in the armed forces, the military will pay for a college degree and to many people that may be the only way to afford it (and a way out of a bad situation).

    On another note, I find it hard to believe that Maiden would write a song that in any way glorifies war or being a soldier, regardless of the respect they may feel towards the ones that enlist. But "this colours don't run", to my knowledge is an expression (idiom?) that means roughly that I won't back down, I'm no coward. Sure, the obvious interpretation of the lyrics is that the song is about war, but there are other kinds of wars being fought every day, everywhere. Some kids go to war at school, being bullied and some end up killing themselves or someone else (happend quite a lot in Sweden lately). That's why I love some of IM's songs - they're open for interpretation -_-
  2. Genghis Khan

    Genghis Khan Ancient Mariner

    Re: 'These Colours Don't Run'

    I've posted about this song before, but alas the post has disappeared (deleted).  My post was late, and probably seemed like a semi-conscious rant anyway.  But after reading the long discussions between Jacen, Maverick and Perun and others about the nature of war, I decided I needed to add something of my own. 

    First -- what do I think this song is about?  At certain points in the song, the expendability of a soldier's life, which is the view of policy makers and politicians, is stressed.

    There is no one that will save you, going down in flames
          No surrender certain death you look it in the eye
          On the shores of tyranny you crashed a human wave
          Paying for my freedom with your lonely unmarked graves

    The chorus is written like it supports the war until I listen closely to the way Bruce sings these parts:

    You're a soldier, for your country what's the difference, all the same

    It kind of sounds like he is stating reasons to go to war, but it does not make a difference because the propaganda will tell you that it is for your country and nothing else matters, i.e. its all the same.

    So then when Bruce gets to the most important part of the lyrics "these colours don't run from cold bloody war", he is either a) ironically stating that soldiers still believe in the reasons for war even after they experience its brutality and inhumanity, which would imply that they are either stupid or in PTSD; or b) he is trying to sympathize with the soldiers' duty.  Perhaps even both.

    Second -- BTW Maverick, I have re-read your post on another war song 'Afraid to Shoot Strangers' and see your reasons for the posts on this thread.

    I did not mean to insult you with my previous post, and if I did I apologize.  If that is not the reason you deleted it (I imagine that's what happened) than this might be confusing.  Having read the whole thread for this song, I have changed my opinion on the content/message of the song.

    Third -- I really like the solos here.
  3. SneakySneaky

    SneakySneaky Trooper

    Re: 'These Colours Don't Run'

    Same with Greeks and Turks here.  I can't understand my friend's hostility towards the Turks,  for stuff that happenned long before their parents were even born.

    As for your three premises Jacen, I'll summarize what the others have said plus add my own bit.  Either it's for the money,  or you're a complete nutcase.  If the latter,  then, there are 2 categories of craziness: 1.  You're a nutcase who wants to kill other people just for fun,  or 2.  you're a nutcase that has been propagandized.  You have been told that you have an enemy,  he hates your guts,  will try to do harm to you and everyone you love,  will destroy your home etc.  And so you must fight...
  4. Raven

    Raven Ancient Mariner

    Re: 'These Colours Don't Run'

    Good post, Genghis.  The chorus, is as you said, trying to empathise with the soldiers, and the idea that no matter what reasons they joined up for, they still have to fight, and make the best of what they've got.  I would say this song is trying less to mock the military than empathise with the average soldier-most Maiden war songs focus more on the men than the machine, and criticism is usually employed from the point of view of the soldier (think of the last few lines of 'The Trooper', or the rhetorical questions of the soldier in AtSS).
  5. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    Re: 'These Colours Don't Run'

    In my personal opinion, this song brings to mind both Flash of the Blade and The Duellists from Powerslave. Both are about the stupidity of youth and where it can take you. Both are about the futility of a life wasted on violence.
  6. LooseCannon

    LooseCannon Self-propelled artillery Staff Member

    Re: 'These Colours Don't Run'

    This is what Bruce said about the lyrics from this song (on the special edition DVD):

  7. Cornfed Hick

    Cornfed Hick Electric Eye

    Re: 'These Colours Don't Run'

    I also understand the song to be about the "band of brothers" mentality.  There is extensive scholarship arguing that, while patriotism might inspire people to join the army in times of crisis, when the bullets start flying what really motivates troops is the desire not to let their comrades down. In the panic of battle, a soldier tends to forget about the flag on his uniform and worry more about either (a) his own skin, (b) his buddy next to him.  Indeed, the U.S. military, for example, bases its training techniques on this very notion, trying to get soldiers to act more with an eye to (b) than to (a). 

    LooseCannon -- to whom everyone seems to defer on military history matters -- is no doubt familiar with the writings of John Keegan, a well-known (even here in the States) British military historian who is an excellent writer.  Fans of Iron Maiden's songs dealing with the perspectives and experiences of the soldier "on the ground" (e.g., this song, Trooper, Paschendale) will probably enjoy Keegan's book "The Face of Battle".  It is relatively short and accessible to nonhistorians, and focuses on what it was like for the soldiers in the field at three famous British battles from three very different eras: Agincourt, Waterloo and the Somme.  A fascinating read, and it would not surprise me if the band members were familiar with this book. 
  8. Shaun056

    Shaun056 Prowler

    Re: 'These Colours Don't Run'

    Back in the first world war, many people beleived that signing up for your local regiment would earn you the respect of your fellow men. Some people fought, purely for their country and head of state, which reminds me of a Quote from Blackadder

    But then conscription came in and you had to join up, if you wanted to or not. So what you gonna do? Desert? They shoot deserters. Or ride it out. Ride it out and hope that the madness will be over and you'll be able to go back to your lives.
    Then it comes to the battlefeild. All fears are forgotten. Of course your scared, your terrified to death of what might happen, but no matter how bad it is you stick at it, you carry on no matter what. I've never been in a battle situation, but I suspect... especially in battles like the Somme, you just fight. It doesn't matter why you signed up (if you signed up) you just do it because its the only thing you can do. Fight, or turn away and get shocked.

    This song, is my favourite from the whole album... I love it...
  9. Genghis Khan

    Genghis Khan Ancient Mariner

    Re: 'These Colours Don't Run'

    Propaganda had a lot to do with that, too.  Propaganda is present in this song too.
    "Where you're going lies adventure others only dream of" and "You're a soldier, for your country what's the difference, all the same" are examples.
  10. Natalie

    Natalie Insect of Terror Staff Member

    Re: 'These Colours Don't Run'

    I googled around a bit and I found this:


    Talk about putting pressure on the British men, eh?
  11. Genghis Khan

    Genghis Khan Ancient Mariner

    Re: 'These Colours Don't Run'

    I have read an interview some time ago (I lack the time to dig it up right now, sorry) that said the "Oh, oh, oh, oh..." parts of this song is so "contrived". 

    When I first started listening to this song, I thought that the lyrics had a more positive image.  I've changed my mind since then, yet the "oh, oh, oh" part still seemed a bit too cheerful for this song.  I've come to accept it.  I cannot say for sure that the tone in this typical Maiden style (oh, oh, oh) best suits the atmosphere of this song, yet I still like it -- quite a lot actually.  I suppose, as with the rest of the song, the chanting of "oh, oh, oh..." is done from the soldiers' perspectives, therefore the soldiers would need a more courage-building chant if preparing to go to war.

    This is an excellent contrast to the more melancholy Paschendale.
  12. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    Re: 'These Colours Don't Run'

    I disagree with some opinions here. "All the wars are unjustifiable". It depends on what we´re talking about. One cannot take away the aggression off the human mind or body, it´s rather impossible. Either the reasons are about money, jealousy, pride, honour, political or strategical demands, or other, like starvation or diseases, or searching for better life conditions.

    Looking at what a flag means, we could say: "So many people died to preserve this land", nothing could be more important as that; or the flag represents a certain knowledge of life, a certain past. If someone put that notion on the line, the war wasn´t justifiable ? or, in modern times, the UN soldiers, certainly they aren´t fighting for their country (although UN forces sometimes make huge errors...).

    What about the future ? five persons share the last water pocket on Earth, while one hundred are dying of thirst... this understanding is not so easy. Maybe war and aggression don´t justify anything, but i think we can talk about the conception of "the fair war".

    I must say i don´t like war at all. I didn´t join the army.  Besides, i hate violence in any form. There is only one scenery i admit to question this: my country's invasion.

    It's the same in every country when you say you're leaving
          Left behind the loved ones waiting silent in the hall

    This is about someone who is fighting away from his own country. In my opinion, maybe defending someone's else territory or defending their countries' possessions.

    For the passion, for the glory, for the memories, for the money
    You're a soldier, for your country what's the difference, all the same

    This line here is about profissional soldiers.

    Far away from the land of our birth
    We fly a flag in some foreign earth
    We sailed away like our fathers before
    these colours don't run from cold bloody war

    They´re supposing fighting like their fathers did on the past. But these colours don´t run anymore, right ? different times, different minds.

          There is no one that will save you, going down in flames
          No surrender certain death you look it in the eye
          On the shores of tyranny you crashed a human wave
          Paying for my freedom with your lonely unmarked graves

    To lose the freedom "on the shores of tyranny"...  i wonder who are those "tyrants" ? is this a neutral point of view ? i mean, the only critic in the song is the subjugation of the soldiers' freedom into the loneliness of a forgettable war.   

    Good song anyway.   
  13. Genghis Khan

    Genghis Khan Ancient Mariner

    Re: 'These Colours Don't Run'

    It could easily be about soldiers fighting over seas during WWI and WWII.
  14. LooseCannon

    LooseCannon Self-propelled artillery Staff Member

  15. LooseCannon

    LooseCannon Self-propelled artillery Staff Member

    Daily Song: These Colours Don't Run

    Welcome to the Daily Vote Thread! Rules are here.

    Remember, only a decent review will count towards the contest.

    Today's song: These Colours Don't Run

    Yesterday's song remains open for voting! You can find it here. [hr][/hr]
    This track is great. A slow buildup, a bit of tension, Bruce oozes the feeling in this one, as he oft does when he means it. These colours don't run from cold bloody war! It also really speaks to me, given that my life has been affected by the concept of a loved one going away to fight for...whatever reason. 10/10.
  16. Dr. Eddies Wingman

    Dr. Eddies Wingman Brighter than thousand_suns

    Re: Daily Song: These Colours Don't Run

    Agreed, it is a great song. Delivered with conviction, you feel they mean it. However, it has never blown me away to the extent that it earns a 10. It gets close, though. 9.
  17. Forostar

    Forostar Conjure the Death Star again

    Re: Daily Song: These Colours Don't Run

    That intro builds the tension immensely and I love the way the song continues with that riff, a very catchy, exciting and atmospheric part. I find the choruses the least good moments of the song, but the rest is mighty and full of spirit! Great vocal melodies in the couplets and pre-choruses, we can "see" the fire his the eyes when we hear Bruce blazing out his lyrics.

  18. Zare

    Zare Dream of broken citadels

    Re: Daily Song: These Colours Don't Run

    9, as well. I also think that chorus isn't on par with rest of the song, especially the mid-instrumental part.
  19. bearfan

    bearfan Ancient Mariner

    Re: Daily Song: These Colours Don't Run

    Fantastic song the the first of many 10s on this album.   Really insightful lyrics, moody guitars, great vocals ... all around great song.
  20. Habberdasher

    Habberdasher Trooper

    Re: Daily Song: These Colours Don't Run

    Best song on the album. Would have liked it better if it was a tad faster and less repetitive (the chorus seems to lumber), but otherwise a great song both musically and lyrically. 8

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