Running through my head secretly
The shout of the boys in the factory
I'll ring you on the telephone silently
Like blood, like the wine in the darkroom scene
The darkroom scene, darkroom scene

A letter once composed
Seven years long and as tall as a tree
Written on the wall efficient, efficiency
Efficiency, efficiency

Resurrect, as a feeling, on my window
Of a past reunion
Resurrect as a feeling on my window
Of a past reunion
Mission of a picture like the city and the air we breathe
The air we breathe, the air we breathe

She stood beside me once again
I knew her face
We met before in the street
Recalling all the children dancing at our feet
Their dancing feet, dancing feet

Lyrics submitted by Fistan, edited by blueryuu, BallyTheDog

Ice Machine [(2006 Remaster)] Lyrics as written by Vince Clarke

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Ice Machine song meanings
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  • +4
    General Comment

    After much deliberation with this song, I think I might have come up with an idea. a few actually. My first is that it sounds like an affair he shouldn't be involved in. A very long winded secret affair that he knows he should be giving up, or HAS already, and is constantly reminded of why he stays. "Running through my head secretly," being all he can think of. "Shouts of the boys in the factory," perhaps how he knows her? "I ring you on the telephone silently," is reference to it being hidden. "Like blood, like the wine in the dark room scene," sounds like a refernence to love, as blood and the heart is often a metaphor, and the dark room scene sounds like, again, a secret reunion, perhaps they get together at work or something.
    The second verse sounds like perhaps a letter to end the situation. "A letter once composed, seven years long and as tall as a tree" he wrote a long winded letter ending it, Third verse, "resurrect as a feeling..." is the reminder. Either why he can't forget, or an affair or a woman he left long ago, and meets again later, and the earlier verses are just the story of a while ago. Sounds like sunrise, "resurrect as a feeling..." could be a metaphor for a new beginning?
    And the last verse is meeting her again, and being able to be out and about, knowing no one would see them, and they can enjoy the small things, and their affair from days long ago, or their time together while it's still possible. Or, another possibility is literally about a factory. The sounds and sights of being in the working class, and things it takes, destroys, uses. A letter, once composed, WOULD be a tree, but now it's simply reports of how everything is going? Resurrect as a feeling sounds like sunrise still, a city waking up, and the view would be the vision of a picture, while the air we breathe has to do with the emissions... Then the last verse doesn't fit, just as the second doesn't fit for my first breakdown of the song. My third thought is just when you write a song, you think up the musical parts first, and sometimes you just make up nonsense words that rhyme and have the correct amounts of syllables and sounds. You later replace those words with the real lyrics which make more sense. BUT, perhaps these were the lyrics they thought of, and they were intriguing, and they realized that the song was fine as is. It would fit this way, when you think, because "The dark room scene," "Efficiency," The air we breathe," The Dancing Feet," and "The Ice Machine." ALL have four syllables, with the last ending in "EEE hee eee ee EEE, eee ee e." It sounds like there was either another verse (perhaps in the minute or so outro,) that was going to make the title Ice Machine (the songs last words were meant to be these?), and, even though the verse was deleted, they got attached to the name, or liked the mystery of a song name that seemingly has nothing to do with the song. It's my feeling that maybe this last verse was going to explain everything, and tie it all together, but they chopped it off the keept the myster. Or it's about murder. Hell, the shouts of the boys in the factory, the blood, dark room scene..

    MagentaMSIon July 24, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    This, Shake the Disease, and Puppets are my absolute favorite songs. Possibly in that order. I can't believe mine is only the second comment on this song. I mean, fuck, this song is amazing, brilliant, and catchy as hell.

    MagentaMSIon May 14, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    if you like more industrial sounding synth-pop this is the DM tune for you. i love dancing to it at goth night at the vouge in seattle

    newwavefan28on September 14, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    ^MagentaMSI was scarily correct - the recently-unearthed demo of this song has Dave singing "The ice machine, the ice machine" during the song's outro. It's also present in the 1980 Bridgehouse version (the earliest known recorded DM concert).

    Outruneon March 18, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    Have you seen the cover of this song by Röyksopp and Susanne Sundfør. It's just brilliant!

    SnarkBeon May 16, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    I think ‘the dark room scene’ is referring to the gay clubbing culture. Some night clubs have special rooms where people can have sex while partying.

    chris10anon August 22, 2020   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    This most definitely is a sensitive gay song from the early 80s. Just whopping magnificent, akin to Small Town Boy and Culture Club.

    peterhaslundon October 19, 2020   Link

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