Song du semaine: Police, "Synchronicity II"

“I would like all of you to come out and support my new band, Scrantonicity II. We are in no way associated with Scrantonicity.”

Synchronicity II was much more than a convenient pop-culture reference for Kevin’s band on The Office. It was the Police’s hardest-rocking song, a distinct departure from their playful punk and righteous reggae. Andy Summers cranked up the squealing guitar, Sting’s bass brooded like Roger Waters (the man, not his bass), Stewart Copeland went for full power, and Sting’s lyrics unleashed the inner demons of a family bring crushed by an unfulfilling life.

It’s brilliant. And everyone loves the video, which seems to be set in a post-apocalyptic trash heap:

Sting’s way with words is on full display here. The narrative — a simultaneous telling of suburban frustration and a monster rising from a dark Scottish lake — is compelling in its own right. But Sting makes it better with impeccable word choice. Mother chants her litany of boredom and frustration. They’re packed like lemmings into shiny metal boxes. The factory belches filth into the sky.

Surely there’s a grammatical term for using a verb as a metaphor as he does with the factory belching. Sting uses that technique beautifully in The Wild Wild Sea: “The grey sky, she angered to black.” This is why I finally realized, somewhere around my senior year of college, that I’d never be anything but a hack songwriter by comparison, thereby sparing the world some awful late-80s whiny alternative bullshit about 20something angst.

(Sting does use two references to suicide. I’m not nit-picking. I’m just looking for an excuse to reference a great Robert Wuhl bit on making Born to Run the state anthem of New Jersey. He notes the double references to suicide and builds up to the great line of any state anthem, “We gotta get out while we’re young!”)

Brilliant stuff, brilliantly delivered by a sneering Sting while Copeland and Summers thrive outside their punk-reggae comfort zone.

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2 Responses to Song du semaine: Police, "Synchronicity II"

  1. Dave Lifton says:

    Forgot how funny that Wuhl bit was. Good stuff.

  2. Py Korry says:

    This song was SO great in concert. I think it was one of the highpoints, which, sadly, came all-too-early.

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