Hearts traveling faster than the speed of love ~ the B-52s, Topaz

A vivid memory of dancing solo on an Australian beach, the full moon intermittently obscured by racing clouds even as its rays glitterred off the cascading breakers pounding the beach. This song, Topaz, blasting at top volume from the small portable stereo speakers attached to my iPod. A breathless churning of limbs and heart and soul as the waves washed up and around my legs.


New cities by the sea
Skyscrapers are winking
Some hills are never seen
The universe expanding
We’re gazing out to sea
Blue dolphins are singing
Minds swim in ecstasy
Clear planet, ever free
Our hearts are traveling faster,
Faster than the speed of love
Straight through a tear in the clouds
Up to the heavens above
Bright ships will sail the seas
Starfishes are spinning
Some hills are never seen
Our universe is expanding
Moonrise upon the sea
Starships are blinking
We’ll walk in ecstasy
Clear planet blue and green
Our thoughts are traveling faster
Moving beyond the heavens above
Planets pulsating, constellations creating
Voices are guiding me to the cities by the sea
Yes, I see cities by the sea
Deep forests by the sea
Skyscrapers are winking
Some hills are never seen
The universe is expanding

but for this one. On the grass, a sassy blonde beauty in a cowboy hat can’t decide between me and the man she arrived with. We dance. She hesitates. A tasty, lingering kiss, then she’s gone. But so is he, already, faster than the speed of love.

In a vast catalogue of B-52s oddities, this song stands out as unique. Usually characterised by whimsical, non-sensical, even ridiculous lyrics — “She came from Planet Claire” and “His earlobe fell in the deep” — Topaz reads like an issue of Common Ground, Vancouver’s monthly New Age spiritual magazine.


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