Got to take in what I can.
There is no time to do what must be done,
While I do some thinking.
Sleeping is hard to come by,
So we'll all sit down and try to play in time,
And we feel like singing.
Talking to people in my way.

Blues were my favorite colour,
Til I looked around and found another song
That I felt like singing.
Trying so hard to reach you;
Playing what must be played, what must be sung
And it's what I'm singing.
Talking to people in my way.

Lyrics submitted by knate15

"Play in Time" as written by Ian Anderson

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management

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Play In Time song meanings
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    My InterpretationStart by reading my comments about the song "Nothing to Say" from this same album... that is part of the key to Jethro Tull in general, as is this song.

    Anyway, looking at this song, Ian has this powerful urge to "do what must be done" as far as satisfying his own conscience that he has communicated important truths to people. Yet he feels it is "no time" to be doing that right now, because he has to "take in what (he) can" as far as making money, while he has the chance. As he said in the song "We Used to Know" off the "Stand Up" album, he felt the success of the band could be a case of "slowly upstairs, faster down."

    So here he is, singing what he feels he must sing, but he is informing us that to do it without alienating fans and undermining his own success he plans to do it by "talking to people in (his own cryptic) way."

    It is especially important to note that at one point in this song (in the album version, at least) it sounds very much like music being played backwards. I don't imagine there is any actual message encoded in there, but it is a clue for us to look deeper; that what we hear on the surface is not necessarily what he is actually saying.
    Fuzzbeanon June 30, 2018   Link

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