Chords (capo 5)
Verse 1: Am Am-maj7 Am7 D, Dm Am E E7
“I’m not sure…”: Dm Am E, Dm Am F
“Step inside…”: C G F
Instrumental: C F
“Get me out of here…”: C F G F x2, Am F G F Am, F G
“Step inside…” ending chord: A
Final verse: Amaj7 G#m F#m E

I’m just a child
At the end of it all, I’m just a child back in time
Surrounded by the faces I left behind
Open my eyes and see faces…

I’m not sure I know what to expect
Will it be as good as I recall?

Step inside the time machine with me
Step inside the time machine with me

Get me out of here and back to the life that I used to hold so dear
I was missing what I had before but I felt safer there than I do here
I know you’ve seen that I’ve never been good with responsibility
But I’m surrendering – I’m giving in to the stronger side of me

Step inside the time machine with me
Step inside the time machine with me
Step inside the time machine with me
Step inside the time machine with me

And here I am, filled with a childish sense of wonder again
A full-grown man, back in the same place and in the same mind again

You may have already spotted this (or come to this page just to double-check your theory) but when you compare the two parts of The Time Machine, you’ll find that one is the inverse of the other. The Time Machine is a palindromic song.

The song was first written as it appears in part 1, but always with the intention to make it palindromic. By using fairly vague, standalone lines in the middle verse – never mentioning explicitly where the singer is getting away from or planning to go to – it was easy to switch it upside down and have it still make sense. The final verse of part 1 / first section of part 2 was a little trickier, but by carefully changing where the lines end and the singer pauses, the meaning was changed from “I’m back with people I’ve long forgotten! Yay!” to “This isn’t so great… I want to go back.”

As with Night On Space Mountain, this felt like an amazing concept from the very first move but seemed like it would be almost impossible to pull off. After all, the songs would need to be reasonably different from each other and good enough to stand alone by themselves, yet still be very connected. In the end, I think it came out even better than I thought it would! I really hope that listeners will have a small Eureka moment when they realise the exact way in which the two parts are linked!