19. "Hole In My Life"
18. "Invisible Sun"
17. "Canary In A Coalmine"
16. "Walking On The Moon"
15. "When The World Is Running Down"
14. "So Lonely"
13. "Every Breath You Take"
12. "Spirits in the Material World"
11. "Next To You"
10. "Wrapped Around Your Finger"
9. "King Of Pain"
8. "Murder By Numbers"
7. "Synchronicity II"
6. "Message In A Bottle"
5. "De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da"
I can't remember if it was "De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da" or "Roxanne" that I heard first way back in junior high. I guess it really doesn't matter anymore since either song was a great introduction to this pioneering new wave trio. This simple yet intellectually deep song is off their third album, Zenyattà Mondatta, and was the second single from that album behind "Don't Stand So Close to Me." Quick note: Zenyattà Mondatta is my favorite of the five albums. Just wanna throw that out there. Not that it matters or you care or anything. Ahem. I guess I'll continue.
Sting told Rolling Stone in 1988 that "[he] was trying to make an intellectual point about how the simple can be so powerful." He does this, pretty well even, but at the same time when you go from "Their logic ties me up and rapes me" to "de do do do, de da da da" that salient point might be lost on the average listener who just thinks of it as a cute little ditty a la doo wop classics like "Blue Moon" or "Duke Of Earl." Or even, as Sting himself mentions, "Da Doo Ron Ron" or "Do Wah Diddy."
I know that most songs Sting, Stewart Copeland, or Andy Summers wrote were trying to make a point politically or socially. But sometimes I willingly let their eloquence escape me because the simple can be more than enough. De do do do, de da da da, They're meaningless and all that's true. --Mr. Big Dubya
4. "Can't Stand Losing You"
Let it never be said that I didn't try my damnedest to completely destroy every ounce of mystery I may have managed to manufacture for myself over the years by broadcasting every unsolicited opinion and half-baked idea that wandered through my head. This is up to and including my continued obsession with a certain currently defunct '80s band who never officially "broke up," thereby not giving me an acceptable grace period for mourning while keeping me on tenterhooks since I was in knee socks and braces.
Yes, that's right. I'm talking about The Police.
This week, we Culture Brats were tasked with making what would appear to be a very easy top song list.
For me this devolved into a Sophie's Choice type of dilemma where I spent hours switching the order while agonizing over having to leave certain songs off.
The pain is still fresh and the list I came up with doesn't even remotely resemble the Culture Brats overall list, but ALL Police songs are great so here's my love letter to one of the best.
Oh "Can't Stand Losing You," I remember the first time I ever heard your opening notes. Having just run into the house with my newly purchased Outlandos d'Amour, still in my uniform and eager to listen, I placed you gingerly on the turntable and waited for the sound to boom out of the living room stereo.
I've called you so many times today
And I guess it's all true what your girlfriends say
That you don't ever want to see me again
And your brother's gonna kill me and he's six feet ten.
I'd like to say I was the picture of calm reflection, but the reality was me jumping up and down with my face full of metal, hugging the album sleeve, and planning my under-aged polygamist's dream wedding to all three members.
There are so many facts I could spout off about The Police and their second single, like the original 45 sleeve has a photo of Stewart with a noose around his neck, standing on a block of ice with a heater next to it. That the BBC got in a bit of a snit about the suicide-themed song and banned it, or that the b-side was the nowhere near as good "Dead End Job."
I could list the endless string of life experiences that befell me while this played in the background as the soundtrack of my youth, but I think the best way to explain how dear this song is to me is just to listen to it.
After all these years, I still love you guys.
[Insert tear splatters here] --Dufmanno
3. "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic"
Remember the first time you saw that person, the one whose very image bowled you over so much you could swear the air sparkled around them? Yeah, me too. Of course, The Police, kings of all painful love, knew it too. "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" does the impossible: it takes a song about unrequited love and insecurity and makes it upbeat and catchy. It's one of those songs you can sing along with in a moment, that you never get sick of and that never seems dated, even when it takes you back to that first look. This song is both joyous and despairing, which pretty much sums up every crush I ever had on a boy.
Better yet, even though living through those crushes was hell, my most secret of secret wishes was that someone, somewhere, would think everything I did was magic, too. The Police made it OK to have a wish like that. And maybe even believe a little that it would come true.
Thanks, guys. --The Weirdgirl
All you have to do is think of the song and you hear it, that immortal first line: "Roooooooox-aaaaaaane."
That's how you know a song is more than a hit, that it's a pop culture icon. It's been sampled in hip-hop songs, it's been famously bellowed by Eddie Murphy in 48 Hrs. It managed to cross all divides and seep into our collective consciousness.
The ingredients are kind of simple: take one tango beat, add reggae guitars, and combine with a piercing falsetto and you've got magic. Originally "Roxanne" was not a hit, only becoming a smash when re-released a year later and becoming one of the defining songs of The Police. Thankfully it did, because without it, none of the other songs on this list would exist. --Daddy Geek Boy
1. "Don't Stand So Close to Me"
The band's Lolita-inspired tune about a teacher tempted by a female student (complete with a shout-out to Nabokov in the third verse) came out in 1980, a highlight on the band's Zenyattà Mondatta album, released smack in the middle of their recording history, which lasted from 1978 to 1983. The band remade it during their awkward "reunion' in 1986, but the new version couldn't touch the original.
This is one of Sting's early successes at bringing a sense of fingertip-light storytelling into his songs. Synthesizers lurk below an insinuating guitar, as each verse describes the slow, forbidden dance between a teacher and his students. Each verse ramps up the rising seduction, as the teacher and student circle each other ("Wet bus stop/she's waiting/his car is warm and dry"). And in between, the buoyant, cymbal-crashing chorus keeps repeating itself relentlessly as the teacher begs the student to leave him alone. But of course, he doth protest too much. Way too much.
The video is sort of dippy, although by 1980 standards, it was sturdy enough: Professor Sting sits at the front of a classroom, as the barely seen female student approaches. And in between, we get clips of him with Andy and Stewart, jumping around during the chorus, wearing graduation robes and swinging some sort of... what is that, a wicker badminton racquet?
A great song, musically and lyrically. Sure, it's missing the inevitable fourth verse about how the teacher gets busted for sleeping with a minor and losing his job after appearing in To Catch A Predator. Still: one of The Police's all-time best, at a time when virtually every song they wrote was a classic. --Didactic Pirate
We showed you ours, now show us yours! What's your favorite Police song?