pete burns - let's just dance

a bit more introduction on this one: this is an 'essay' on pete burns' song 'let's just dance'. it was actually never published; more on that later. but anyway:

All I did was think about you Tried to live a life without you Vicious rumours spread about you What a fool I was to doubt you

we start with this seemingly bitter verse. the protagonist seems to be justifying something, to someone they have lost: they did nothing wrong, they simply tried to move on with their life. i imagine here they are alone, in a room, sitting across from one another. the lover, someone who has been badly hurt, gone through a lot of pain because of this person, leans forward accusingly, demanding answers. the protagonist gets defensive. 'i did nothing wrong,' they almost yell, 'you left me and i tried to deal with that.' their lover left them and they were shattered. they tried to find ways to cope. they tried, as they put it, to live a life without them. yet they continued to think about them, first sad, then angry at this person for leaving. they did something to slander this person, to put them in the public eye as a negative figure, to not only equal the harm they caused but do much more than it.

I burned down cities and I crashed a plane Behaved in ways I won't again But nothing got me what I need To bring you running back to me

they go on here, about how they realized that what they had done was too much, that causing more harm wasn't helping anyone: burning cities and crashing planes doesn't make one feel better, but it does kill or harm many, many people. they 'snap out of it', looking at what they've done: standing over the remains of their metaphorical burned city, they survey the fire and ash and realize this is not what they needed. what they truly needed was love, the love given them by their lover.

You're everything I'll ever want You're everything I'll ever need And standing right outside my door Is everything I'm looking for It's open wide so come on in I'll never break your heart again Let's give our love another chance
You're everything I'll ever want You're everything I'll ever need And standing right outside my door Is everything I'm looking for It's open wide so come on in I'll never break your heart again Let's give our love another chance And let's just dance

then we reach the first chorus. the protagonist has had their head in their hands at this point. now they look up, maybe small tears running down their cheeks, maybe sobbing, maybe simply looking grim. they say quietly (or again, maybe loudly; who's to say?) that their lover is everything to them. they have shown they cannot live without them; that, funnily enough, as pete burns says in his hit 'you spin me right round', 'i need your love, (oooooo-oooo-ooo-oooooove)'. they attempt to flatter their lover, somehow, taking on a more complimentary, almost flirty tone. 'hey baby, i was about to go out, but it looks like everything im looking for is already right outside my door.' it doesn't work. the protagonist attempts to crack a smile. the lover is unamused. they promise they will not repeat their mistakes, that they will never break their heart again (or maybe more accurately, never break them again). seeing the lack of response on their lover's face, they try a new angle: they imply that they understand their lover's denial of them, and that they have a right to do that, but that their door is always open. they wonder: maybe, rather than rekindling their love, pretending everything is fine, they can just dance? they recognize their own mistakes, they regret them, but they can't deny their desires.

I was lost and bad and broken Slanderous, the words I've spoken Wishin' people would forget them Realize how I regret them
I burst our bubble and I caused you pain And all my anger was in vain

they reiterate their previous statement, that they made a mistake, that their anger did nothing. they delve deeper into this regret, attack themselves for it, wish that everyone could just forget, though they know this is impossible. and this only adds to their pain. they have done something awful, and they have to stew with the knowledgeb that it is permanent. in a way, their original goal has been achieved: they attempted to make their lover share their own emotional pain, and now they have to live with it forever, just as their lover does.

It never did occur to me That you were still right there for me

and maybe now their lover comes to that same realization. maybe they realize this person truly does regret something, does share their pain, realizes that, as the protagonist has long ago, they cannot put their pain above all else. they aren't willing to forget everything, as again the protagonist has just realized: the offense was permanent. they aren't willing to rekindle their love, maybe not now, maybe not ever. but they look the protagonist in the eye, and smile slightly. they put their hand on theirs. they may not be willing to remake their love, but they are willing to just dance.

epilogue

the site i got these lyrics from says this:

Composed by Pete Burns, it was probably recorded in 2006 and performed with DJ and music producer Paul Masterson. Although it was never officially published, it was presented as a scoop in an interview on the "Unspun" program. The reasons why it is remained unpublished are never been cleared.

i heard this track in a video from 2019. pete burns died in 2016. this, in my view, adds even more depth to the song: it's a snapshot of an interaction between two people. we aren't given all the details; we don't know who these people are, what has been done, how it affected both of them. we see their thoughts in the moment, and then the song ends, and we don't know how the dance ends. the song makes it seem like the songwriter is mournful, especially given that i only heard it 5 years now since his death. nothing like this ever happened to pete burns, as far as i'm aware; but he makes it seem like it does. he evokes that mournful feeling, as if he regrets something. i don't have some greater point here. i just thought this was food for thought.

back to home