Dancing With Tears in My Eyes by Ultravox Lyrics Meaning – Unveiling the Depths of an 80s New Wave Anthem

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Ultravox's Dancing With Tears in My Eyes at Lyrics.org.
Article Contents:
  1. Music Video
  2. Lyrics
  3. Song Meaning


Dancing with tears in my eyes
Weeping for the memory of a life gone by
Dancing with tears in my eyes
Living out a memory of a love that died

It’s five and I’m driving home again
It’s hard to believe that it’s my last time
The man on the wireless cries again
It’s over, it’s over

Dancing with tears in my eyes
Weeping for the memory of a life gone by
Dancing with tears in my eyes
Living out a memory of a love that died

It’s late and I’m with my love alone
We drink to forget the coming storm
We love to the sound of our favourite song
Over and over

Dancing with tears in my eyes
Living out a memory of a love that died

It’s time and we’re in each other’s arms
It’s time but I don’t think we really care

Dancing with tears in my eyes
Weeping for the memory of a life gone by
Dancing with tears in my eyes
Weeping for the memory of a life gone by

Dancing with tears in my eyes

Full Lyrics

In the vast pantheon of 80s music, where synthesizers and melodrama reigned supreme, few songs capture the existential zeitgeist of the era quite like Ultravox’s ‘Dancing With Tears in My Eyes’. On the surface, it’s an anthemic, synth-driven track that compels your body to move. But beneath its danceable beat pulses a heart heavy with memory and loss.

Here, we plunge into the song’s layers, stripping back the catchy hooks to explore a poignant narrative that is as much a personal catharsis as it is a reflection of global anxieties. The haunting timbre of Midge Ure’s voice serves not merely as a siren call to the dance floor but as a vessel for deeper introspection and a mirror to the turmoil of its time.

A Dance Floor Dirge: The Inescapable Pathos of an 80s Hit

To many, ‘Dancing With Tears in My Eyes’ is synonymous with the vibrant club scene it often soundtracked. However, the juxtaposition of upbeat music with sorrowful lyrics offers a window into a complex emotional landscape. It invokes an image of a solitary figure lost in dance, trying to shake off the weight of a saddened heart. It is this interplay that transforms the song into a somber elegy, wrapped in the guise of a pop tune.

The synthesizer, with its alternately bright and brooding tones, underscores the dichotomy at play. It’s a juxtaposition that the New Wave excelled in, turning nightclubs into places where catharsis was achieved not through escapism but through a palpable acknowledgement of sadness amidst revelry.

The Final Drive Home: A Metaphor for Endings and Goodbyes

The lyric ‘It’s five and I’m driving home again’ conjures images of reflective solitude, a moment caught between the day’s end and the night’s embrace. This could be a metaphor for the universal human experience of approaching life’s inevitable conclusions or departures. The ‘last time’ and the ‘man on the wireless’ hint at themes of final broadcasts and end of days scenarios, signaling perhaps not just the end of a relationship but an end of an era or way of life.

There’s a tangible sense that the song’s protagonist is mentally preparing for an unwelcome yet unavoidable reality. Here, Ultravox might also be touching subtly on the political anxieties that permeated the cold war era in which they were writing—a time when the threat of nuclear annihilation was ever-present.

Intimacy in the Face of Catastrophe: A Resonant Tale of Love and Loss

The lines ‘It’s late and I’m with my love alone’ followed by ‘We love to the sound of our favourite song’ trace the contours of a love story shadowed by impending doom. The mention of drinking to forget a ‘coming storm’ symbolizes not only personal sorrows and relationship issues but also the broader desire to find solace in the arms of another, despite knowing that a larger disaster looms.

This interplay between the intimate and the universal makes the theme of the song resonate on multiple levels. Its evocation of lovers clinging to one another as the world crumbles around them is both romantic and deeply tragic—a narrative that would resonate with anyone familiar with the works of poets and playwrights throughout history, where love is often a haven in the midst of chaos.

Echoes of a Haunted Refrain: The Song’s Most Memorable Lines

Certain lines in ‘Dancing With Tears in My Eyes’ refuse to leave the listener’s memory, such as the potent ‘living out a memory of a love that died’. It invokes the idea that we sometimes dance with ghosts, reliving moments and people long gone, enacting rituals of remembrance and mourning through song and dance.

When Ure croons ‘Dancing with tears in my eyes, weeping for the memory of a life gone by’, it is more than just a chorus; it becomes a mantra for the pain of nostalgia, the longing for what was once held dear, and the bittersweet knowledge that dancing cannot bring it back. These words encapsulate the heart of the song’s message, serving as its soulful core amidst the rhythmic pulses.

Unearthing the Secret Message: The Song’s Hidden Meaning

Beyond its portrayal of personal heartache, ‘Dancing With Tears in My Eyes’ harbors a more profound subtext. The repeated chorus creates an atmosphere that is almost meditative, urging listeners to find a deeper, often overlooked meaning. Could it be Ure is also referencing the hollow pursuit of happiness in modernity, where joy is often marred by a lingering sense of something lost or unfulfilled?

The dance becomes a metaphor for life itself, a series of movements we perform in hopes of finding closure or meaning in our actions, even when our hearts are not in it. Each step we take on the dance floor is shadowed by the steps of the past, and as Ultravox brilliantly illustrates, not every dance is joyful—but the dance must go on.

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