Like Nena with her red balloons, 80s artist Kim Wilde has reheated her top hit a few times over.
The narrator seems to be watching city life from a window above, and assumes the action below is change happening. The change could be nothing more than new wave music as this was 1982. Or the change may be about youth bringing new ideas. In a world with the vapidity of “suburbia’s sprawling,” there’s a young, down town energy needing to be harnessed. And Kim Wilde is ready to do it.
Of course, politicians love to say that children are our future. And young people imagine they can shake things up. While there are wonderful examples of the power of youth, history also shows many conform more than they planned. The flower power hippies supposedly became the Gordon Gecko capitalists or yuppies of the 1980s, for example. This is not to say everyone sells out! Having bills to pay and kids to feed can make for a very satisfying life. But such responsibility can damper the enthusiasm of 80s tunes with the potential of more revolutionary, less conservative intent.
What might be most interesting, politically, about this song, is whether any 40-somethings today that rocked to the spirit of this song back in the day, still get that energy boost for activism from it… in between minding their retirement portfolios and paying for their children’s college educations.