The “Love” Songs of The Police
I’ve been listening to The Police a lot recently, having recently acquired their complete recordings. My favourite band in high school, The Police remain a firm favourite today for their wonderfully layered music and poetic lyricism.
I’ve been reflecting a lot on The Police’s oeuvre, noticing that they make for an unusual popular rock act for their political lyricism and tendency towards such densely layered instrumentation. Their pop hooks are top notch, of course, but merely represent their biggest hits, rather than their varied artistic experimentation.
What I’m getting at is that for a big pop/rock act in the 80s, the band has virtually no love songs. Instead, The Police consistently explore the dark undersides to love, from stalkers (“Every Breath You Take“), to pedophelia (“Don’t Stand So Close To Me”), to cannibalistic metaphors (“Hungry For You [j’aurais toujours faim de toi]”), to intense loneliness (“The Bed’s Too Big Without You”). The nearest The Police ever get to a romantic love song is “De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da”, about the speaker’s inability to articulate his romantic affections for his lover. Of course, this song compares losing such eloquence to the chaos of this world as a rape. How romantic.