Internal Soundtrack: Bombs Away · 8 February 2007, 09:02
Since the announcement last week of The Police reunion, I’ve been bingeing on their music. As I’m sure half the western world is.
The thought of seeing the Police live is exciting for me. I came to the band later than some, because I had no formative influence to introduce me to pop music. I’m an oldest child, and my parents, bless them, listened to John Denver and Nana Mouskouri.
It was Synchronicity that broke into my consciousness. I was in grade 10 and was filled not only with the energy of the music, but more importantly the clarity of Sting’s lyrics.
Even then I was into words more than anything. A few weeks ago I found an essay I wrote for grade 11 English analyzing the lyric to “King of Pain.” I thought I was a genius, coming up with the idea that pop music was contemporary poetry.
Synchronicity led me to the band’s back catalogue, but I barely remember what song comes from what album anymore. Since I got rid of those cassettes, I don’t listen to the actual albums, I listen to the music in the order of the box set, Message in a Box: The Complete Recordings (which came from cousin T, and is one of the best Christmas gifts I’ve ever received).
The Police have been on everyone’s mind lately, because of the media attention surrounding the rumours – now confirmed – that they have been in Vancouver, rehearsing at North Shore Studios.
In his office the other day, J mentioned that there was one Police song that was the soundtrack to every nightmare he experienced as a child, and that to this day even the name of the song filled him with dread. I got him to admit that the song was from Zenyatta Mondatta, but he wouldn’t go further than that.
The thing about a band such as the Police is that their voice – their sound and tone – is so strong, that even thinking about one of their songs can trigger a cascade of their music in my mind. So while I haven’t actively listened to “Bombs Away” very much, just hearing “Don’t Stand So Close to Me” can trigger the former into play-and-repeat on the internal soundtrack.
I suspect that “Bombs Away” is the song that J can’t hear, at the risk of flashbacks to childhood trauma. While I’ve never found the song to be troubling or depressing, it is about armageddon. It’s the kind of song that would scare a youngster in the ’80s when all any of us could think about was the coming nuclear disaster.
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