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Music / Synchronicity

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With one breath, with one flow
You will know Synchronicity

A connecting principle
Linked to the invisible
Almost imperceptible
Something inexpressible
Science insusceptible
Logic so inflexible
Causally connectible
Yet nothing is invincible
—"Synchronicity I"

Synchronicity is the fifth and final studio album by English-American New Wave Music band The Police, released in 1983. Marked by a shift to a smoother, jazz influenced sound that would foreshadow the style of Sting's solo material, it was a huge critical and commercial success and spawned hits such as "Every Breath You Take", "King Of Pain", "Wrapped Around Your Finger" and "Synchronicity II".

The album went through a Troubled Production. Sting had just divorced from his wife and songs like "King Of Pain", "Every Breath You Take" and "Wrapped Around Your Finger" reflected his feelings. Apart from that the band was on the verge of falling apart. They recorded in separate rooms because they couldn't stand being in each other's presence. Copeland had to record his parts in the studio's dining room, Sting in the control room, and Summers recorded his parts in the actual studio. Plus, overdubs had to be done with only one member in the studio at a time.


Tensions reached the peak with the recording of "Every Breath You Take": fights between Copeland and Sting were becoming increasingly common, and culminated when Sting and Copeland got into a full-on fist fight during the recording of this song. Hugh Padgham, the producer of the album, nearly walked out and cancelled the recording sessions completely, but a meeting with the band's manager Miles Copeland (Stewart's brother) helped the band continue recording the album. Nevertheless, the incident showed how quickly the band was falling apart, and after a brief hiatus following this album (during which Sting put out his first solo album, 1985's The Dream of the Blue Turtles), the band would split for good in 1986 following one final heated argument over— of all things— which drum machine to use for a re-recording of "Don't Stand So Close to Me".


The creative process behind the making of the album was subject of an episode in the documentary series Classic Albums. The record was also listed at #448 in Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.


Side One

  1. "Synchronicity I" (3:23)
  2. "Walking In Your Footsteps" (3:36)
  3. "O My God" (4:02)
  4. "Mother" (3:05)
  5. "Miss Gradenko" (2:00)
  6. "Synchronicity II" (5:00)

Side Two

  1. "Every Breath You Take" (4:13)
  2. "King Of Pain" (4:13)
  3. "Wrapped Around Your Finger" (5:13)
  4. "Tea In The Sahara" (4:11)
  5. "Murder By Numbers" (4:36)note 

Principal Members:

  • Stewart Copeland - drums, percussion, xylophone
  • Sting - lead vocals, bass, keyboard, oboe, saxophone, drum machine
  • Andy Summers - guitar, backing and lead vocals, keyboard

Every Trope You Take:

  • Anti-Love Song: "Every Breath You Take" is this, as it is about a possessive person stalking another person who just left him.
  • Bad Boss: "Synchronicity II"
    And every single meeting with his so-called superior is a humiliating kick in the crotch
  • Book-Ends: The video for "Every Breath You Take" opens with a zoom in on a smoldering ash tray with a Match Cut to the head of Stewart's drum, and wraps up by dissolving from the drum head back to the ash tray and zooming out the same way it came in.
  • Break Up Song: "Every Breath You Take", "King Of Pain" and "Wrapped Around Your Finger" were all recorded after Sting went through a divorce and reflect his emotions.
  • Broken Record: The word "synchronicity" in "Synchronicity".
  • Careful with That Axe: "Mother", where the lyrics are screamed.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: "Synchronicity II"
    Grandmother screaming at the wall
  • Continuity Nod: Part of the lyrics from "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" (from Ghost In The Machine) appear at the end of "O My God".
    Do I have to tell the story
    Of a thousand rainy days?
    Since we first met?
    It's a big enough umbrella
    But it's always me that ends up getting wet.
  • Crapsack World: The performance video for "Synchronicity II" seems to take place in one.
  • Crossing the Desert: "Tea In The Sahara", about three women who die in the desert.
  • A Day in the Life: "Synchronicity II" is a crapsack-y version of it.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The music video of "Every Breath You Take" was shot in black-and-white.
  • Doowop Progression: "Every Breath You Take".
  • Downer Ending: The original album ends with the melancholic "Tea in the Sahara." Re-releases end with the spookier "Murder By Numbers".
  • Face on the Cover: The band members can be seen on the album cover.
  • Groin Attack: Metaphorically (we hope) in "Synchronicity II"
    And every single meeting with his so-called superior is a humiliating kick in the crotch
  • Henpecked Husband: "Synchronicity II" is about a man whose family, work, and general circumstances so dominate his life that he's either going to blow up or just collapse into hopelessness.
  • Hidden Track: "Murder By Numbers" follows right after the final track "Tea In The Sahara".
  • Interrupted Suicide: "Synchronicity II"
    Mother chants her litany of boredom and frustration
    But we all know her suicides are fake
  • It Gets Easier: "Murder By Numbers"
  • Laughing Mad: "Mother" ends with insane laughter.
  • Match Cut: The "Every Breath You Take" video opens with a dissolve from a circular ash tray to the circular head of Stewart's snare drum. The closing sequence adds a third element by dissolving from the window washer silhouetted in a circular window, to Stewart's drum head, and finally back to the ash tray before the camera zooms out.
  • Mommy Issues: "Mother", though it's Played for Laughs.
    Every girl I go out with
    Becomes my mother in the end
    Well, I hear my mother calling
    But I don't need her as a friend
  • Mood Whiplash: Done on purpose with "Mother", a yelled, dadaist song by Andy that is markedly different to the usual laid-back sound of the album. There is a large contingent of fans who wish the song wasn't on the album. The CD of the same album also appends the creepy "Murder By Numbers" after the melancholy "Tea In The Sahara", but it works better because it remains jazzy.
  • New Sound Album: The album moved away from the reggae sound the band was famous for and showed influence of world music in tracks such as "Tea In The Sahara" and "Walking In Your Footsteps". The album's direction would also take on more direct influences from jazz, foreshadowing that brand of art pop that would define frontman Sting's first three solo albums and, from a broader perspective, his shift to slicker pop rock in 1993 and contemporary classical music in 2006.
  • Obligatory Bondage Song: "Wrapped Around Your Finger", about a man dominated by a woman. The music video is serious Overcrank.
  • Obsession Song: "Every Breath You Take", which is about a rejected lover chasing his beloved the way you would chase your stolen car.
  • One-Woman Song: "Mother", "Miss Gradenko".
  • One-Word Title: "Synchronicity".
  • Overcrank: "Wrapped Around Your Finger" was one of the first music videos to use the technique.
  • Properly Paranoid: The father in "Synchronicity II" is a Henpecked Husband on the edge of insanity about his meaningless life and dysfunctional family.
  • Rage Breaking Point: "Synchronicity II" strongly implies this is what Daddy is building up to, and that years of his dysfunctional family, crappy job, and the grind of daily life slowly chipping away at his Mask of Sanity are going to end tonight, somehow. The song ends on a set of lines that parallel his car headlights pulling into the driveway with the shadow of the lake monster looming on the door of a lakeside cabin.
  • Sanity Slippage Song:
    • "Mother", where Andy Summers shouts the lyrics more than he sings them.
    • By the third verse of "Synchronicity II", "Daddy" has endured another hellish morning with his dysfunctional family, a more hellish day at work, and an even more hellish drive home in rush hour traffic, and "knows that something, somewhere, has to break". The juxtaposition of his breakdown with the Stock Ness Monster's shadow on the door of a Scottish lakeside cottage implies that, somehow, he will reach his breaking point tonight.
  • Scylla and Charybdis: Mentioned in "Wrapped Around Your Finger"
  • Shout-Out:
    • The album was inspired by Arthur Koestler's "The Roots of Coincidence", a book about Carl Jung's theory of synchronicity. Sting is also reading Jung's "Synchronicity" on the album cover.
    • The title track mentions "Spiritus Mundi", a line from "The Second Coming", a poem by W. B. Yeats.
    • "Oh My God" contains the line, "Fat man in his garden, thin man at his gate." This may be a shoutout to the parable of Dives and Lazarus, and is certainly a shoutout to a now seldom-sung line of the hymn, "All Things Bright and Beautiful." The bassline quotes The Beatles' "Day Tripper".
    • "Wrapped Around Your Finger" mentions the Scylla and Charybdis from Greek Mythology and the legend of Faust.
    • "Tea In The Sahara" is inspired by Paul Bowles' novel The Sheltering Sky.
    • "King Of Pain" makes a reference to Oedipus Rex
      There's a king on a throne with his eyes torn out.
    • Andy Summers' guitar part during "Every Breath You Take" was inspired by Béla Bartók's "Violin Duos".
  • The Show Must Go Wrong: During "Synchronicity II" guitarist Andy Summers was unable to hear what was going on in the other recording booth, so he just jammed a bit and waiting for the others to start playing. So, in short all the feedback on the track was a mistake.
  • Stalker with a Crush: "Every Breath You Take"
    Every smile you fake, every claim you stake, I'll be watching you.
  • Step Up to the Microphone: Andy Summers sings lead vocals on "Mother".
  • Stock Ness Monster: "Synchronicity II" name-drops the Monster of Loch Ness, which is a metaphor for the anger of a frustrated father. In the music video footage of Loch Ness is also seen.
    Many miles away
    There's a shadow on the door
    Of a cottage on the shore
    Of a dark
    Scottish lake...
  • Surpassed the Teacher: "Wrapped Around Your Finger", in the end.
    I will turn your face to alabaster
    When you find your servant is your master.
  • Teacher/Student Romance: "Wrapped Around Your Finger" where a student is seduced and dominated by his teacher. In the end though, the tables get turned.
  • Terminology Title: Synchronicity: in Jungian psychoanalysis, the possibility that two apparently coincident contemporaneous occurrences can hold some deeper meaning.
  • Title Track: "Synchronicity".
  • Trauma Conga Line: "Synchronicity II"
    Another suburban family morning
    Grandmother screaming at the wall
    We have to shout above the din of our Rice Krispies
    We can't hear anything at all
    Mother chants her litany of boredom and frustration
    But we know all her suicides are fake
    Daddy only stares into the distance
    There's only so much heartache he can take
  • Two Lines, No Waiting: There's actually two different scenarios going on in "Synchronicity II" (presumably they vaguely have something to do with each other): While the family drama as described above takes place, many miles away something is crawling to the surface of a dark Scottish lake. The family drama gets to the point that it disturbs the sleep of whatever's at the bottom of that lake. And it's none too pleased.


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