Single Review: T’Pau “China In Your Hand”

China In Your Hand
Album: T’Pau (US)/Bridge of Spies (UK)
Year: 1987

According to tpau.org, “China In Your Hand” is based upon Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.Lead singer Carol Decker had seen a Shelley documentary and was inspired to write a song.

Decker focuses on the story of Frankenstein in the first verse. The theme which Shelley had for Frankenstein was the two selves of a person: the normal person and their self-destructive side. Victor Frankenstein’s scheme was to create a monster, which he does successfully and in isolation while attending the University of Ingolstadt. (“It was a theme she had/On a scheme ein was the two selves of a person: the normal person and their self-destructive side. Victor Frankensteinein was the two selves of a person: the normal person and their self-destructive side. Victor Frankenstein’s scheme was to create a monster, which he does successfully and in isolation while attending the University of Ingolstadt. (“It was a theme she ha’s scheme was to create a monster, which he does successfully and in isolation while attending the University of Ingolstadt. (“It was a theme she hahe had/Told in a foreign land/To take life on earth/To the second birth/And the man was in command”). Decker hints at Shelley’s depression and fear of not being able to bear a healthy child (“It was a flight on the wings/of a young girl’s dreams/that flew too far away”).

In the chorus, Decker warns Shelley to take her time and remember that her dreams are delicate. (“Don’t push too far/Your dreams are china in your hand”). She tells Shelley to be careful for what she wishes for. (“don’t wish too hard/because they may come true/and you can’t help them/you don’t know what you might/have set upon yourself/china in your hand”).

In the second verse, Decker discusses the character of Victor Frankenstein. She saw him as a selfish man who didn’t respect life. Through his thirst for knowledge and wanting to know the secret of life, he made one of dead body parts. (“Come from greed/Never born of the seed/Took a life from a barren hand”). She views Victor as being shocked and proud as the monster, who is has the mind of young, questioning child. She views Frankenstein as a victim of his own intellect and curiousity. (“Oh eyes wide/Like a child in the form of man/A prophecy for a fantasy/the curse of a vivid mind”).

The stereotypical saxophone jams away during the instrumental as a chorus “oohs” dramatically in the background. The chorus continues until the end.

Frankenstein is an ambitious, creative topic for a single. However, it’s not done in a pretentious manner. Decker has grasped the main ideals of the story without trying to write a literary essay.

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