Friday, February 26, 2010

Come In Number 51, Your Time Is Up

Come In Number 51, Your Time Is Up 5:05
     (written by Waters, Gilmour, Mason, Wright)


Vocals: Roger Waters (screaming), Dave Gilmour (crooning)

The bizarre, out-of-place finale of the album and the film was Come in Number 51, Your Time is Up. This was the only song in the film to become an integral part of the visual imagery or create any kind of mood; in fact, the only piece of music that seemed vaguely important. A shorter version of the album track (3.43) is seen during the final scene of the film, when the female lead character imagines her boss' house in the desert (the same mentioned in Crumbling Land) exploding in a variety of entertaining ways.

This was the seventh version of Careful with that Axe, Eugene, and the reason Antonioni contracted the band to score the movie in the first place. (In discussing the songs recorded for Zabriskie Point, Dave said " was a remake of Careful with that Axe, Eugene which is what he probably got us for.")

A little shorter than usual and lacking lyrics, it has the same familiar intensity and power. It is a very good performance, and different enough from existing recordings to make it worth hearing. One difference between this and other versions is that the tension begins to build up, and then quiets down again noticeably before building up to the final climax. In addition, Dave's vocal presence (he goes 'oooooohh') is much more noticeable here.

In a bit of trivia connected with the title, 'come in, number (blank), your time is up' is a phrase which originated in England, where people could go to a lake and rent little boats from a vendor, and putter about on the lake with them. Each boat had a number painted on the side, and after a predetermined amount of time, a man on the shore would call out the aforementioned phrase through a megaphone. In recent years, the phrase has become assimilated into pop culture in a more sinister context, representing the mechanisation of society to the extent that people have become numbers with an alloted time to live (in science-fiction novels such as Logan's Run and television programmes such as The Prisoner). This seems to be the context for Come in Number 51, Your Time is Up as well.

TRACK LISTING (only Pink Floyd contributions)
Heart Beat, Pig Meat
Crumbling Land
Come in Number 51, Your Time is Up

The following tracks were recorded for Zabriskie Point but were not used in the film or soundtrack:
Fingal's Cave
Rain in the Country
Violent Sequence, The