Every Breath You Take: Sting and Beloved

It’s been commonly inferred by the public that The Police’s 1983 smash hit ‘Every Breath You Take’ is about a man a stalking a woman, in this case the band’s front-man Sting and his recently divorced wife Frances Tomelty.

While Sting has even backed the claim that the song is about a mans’ obsession with a lost lover, it’s possible that when he finished reading the book Beloved by Toni Morrison, he wanted to write a song from the perspective of one of the book’s most important figures: Beloved.

Sethe, the novel’s protagonist, killed Beloved, her child, when she was a baby to save her from going into slavery. Since her death, Beloved has haunted her family’s house, throwing dogs and having temper tantrums.

However, one day Beloved comes back to life, showing up at the house, tired and confused. Although some initial confusion, Sethe, her other daughter Denver, and her boyfriend Paul D let Beloved stay at the house for as long as she would like.

Although it is not discovered until later in the book that Beloved is in fact Sethe’s late daughter, Beloved gives major hints when talking about Sethe to Denver and Paul D.

In one instance, Beloved tells Denver that Sethe ” is the one. She is the one I need. You can go but she is the one I have to have.”

Later telling Paul D that Sethe “don’t love me like I love her. I don’t love nobody but her.”

These quotes alone resemble the lyrics of ‘Every Breath You Take.’

“Every breath you take and every move you make
Every bond you break, every step you take, I’ll be watching you
Every single day and every word you say
Every game you play, every night you stay, I’ll be watching you.”

“Since you’ve gone I’ve been lost without a trace
I dream at night, I can only see your face
I look around but it’s you I can’t replace
I feel so cold and I long for your embrace
I keep crying, “Baby, baby, please”.”

After her death Beloved shows her love by haunting Sethe and her family, watching every move they make and every breath they take.

When Beloved comes to life she is obsessed with Sethe and says she can love nothing else.

While it’s still likely that the song is about Sting’s dangerous stalking habit, there is still a chance that he had just finished reading Beloved and wanted to write a song about 124’s ghost, Beloved.

Saeed and Nadia prove that opposites do attract

In Moshin Hamid’s novel ‘Exit West,’ the two main characters, Saeed and Nadia, share a romantic relationship for most of the story. However, the two are almost polar opposites from each other, backing the theory that opposites do attract in a relationship.

The main difference between Saeed and Nadia is their opposite views on the meanings of life. While Saeed is revealed to be a man of great morality, he is much more conforming to the traditions of his family, culture, and religion. Nadia on the other hand is not, as she holds existentialist commonalities. As an ultra-religious man, Saeed refuses to have sex with Nadia before marriage, although she persists frequently. Throughout the book, it is discovered that Saeed feels very strongly about his parents, constantly praying for them. However, Nadia left her parents and does not mention them much.

Although, Saeed and Nadia’s relationship eventually came to a close at the end of the novel, they still remained friendly. This goes to show that opposites do attract, as different lifestyles can be appealing and interesting.

The Dark Side of the Moon: The Greatest Existential Album of All Time

Pink Floyd’s 1973 album, “The Dark Side of the Moon.”

“Breathe, breathe in the air. Don’t be afraid to care. Leave, but don’t leave me. Look around and choose your own ground. For long you live and high you fly, and smiles you’ll give and tears you’ll cry, and all you touch and all you see is all your life will ever be.” These are the first stanzas of ‘Breathe (In the Air),’ the first song on Pink Floyd’s existential masterpiece, “The Dark Side of the Moon.”

A concept album is any album, particularly a rock album, featuring a cycle of songs expressing a theme or idea. “The Dark Side of the Moon,” often cited as one of the most important concept albums ever released, highlights the pressures of society which can ultimately drive someone mad.

While natural actions such as living and dying or simply breathing can have an effect on someones life, socially constructed “values” such as time and money are often falsely idolized and lack of these “values” can lead to even more pain and suffering.

In ‘Time,’ Pink Floyd provides a full explanation of what time is and the effects it can have on ordinary people. Like Meursault in Albert Camus’s “The Stranger,” sometimes people try to kill time whether out of boredom, depression, or hysteria. However, time moves in a way that it seems to get faster every day. So by killing time, Pink Floyd argues, you are essentially only killing yourself.

“Every year is getting shorter never seem to find the time. Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines. Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way. The time is gone, the song is over, thought I’d something more to say.”

Although completely instrumental, ‘The Great Gig in the Sky’ is an exact compilation of a lifetime. Starting softly and slowly, a piano begins to play and eventually a woman joins with an unforgettable shrieking. The shrieking and piano playing start to ramp up, getting louder, representing hope in young life. Eventually the shrieking and piano slow down again, but more and more overtime, reflecting adulthood and eventually old age. With 12 seconds left in the song, the music completely stops. Death.

While arguably the most popular song on the album, ‘Money’ analyzes the greatest false idol to man, one which can either leave you in a strong state of power or leave you rotting in a back alley somewhere, money. Songwriter Roger Waters writes that people believe money can lead to happiness, maybe by buying a new car, a Lear jet, or a football team. Though he quickly refutes that assumption calling money a gas, a crime, and the root of all evil today.

Those who have money are seen as selfish and those who don’t are seen as greedy. People will do anything to acquire more money if they are in need and if unsuccessful, one’s life could be ruined, making one feel like a failure. And eventually, as Pink Floyd argues, that failure can turn into madness.

In ‘Brain Damage’ Pink Floyd illustrates the total downfall of man. After running out of time, money, and breathe, one is driven insane, shortly leading to them to the after life, or as Pink Floyd puts it, the dark side of the moon.

The Theme of Life/Liberation

As human beings, we are construed to the concept of life and death. Life happens and death is. While on the surface these two concepts may seem like mirror opposites, life and death can be placed into the same category of liberation.

In “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, an old man with wings is found face down in the sand. He is then taken in by his finder, Payola, and his wife, Elisenda.

During his stay with Payola and Elisenda, no one else seems to take notice of him. He is described as a “stray dying man” (359) and never seems to fit in with the people in Marquez’s fictional world. That is until he flies away.

For the old man, flying away is a form of liberation from the unrecognizable world he had been living in. He was not himself in this world and was virtually no one to the people who lived there. He was a nuisance who would be truly free until his wings would work again.

Another story which shows the power of life is “Barn Burning” by William Faulkner.

“Barn Burning” is the story of Abner Snoppes, man who burns barns as a means of payback, and his family as they go through trial, a move, and a death.

Throughout the story, Snoppes is seen as abusive toward his son, Sarty. Snoppes has strange ideologies of what the father-son relationship is meant to be and that rubs of oddly on Sarty, confusing him as to whether his father to someone to look up to or someone to run away from.

After his father’s death, Sarty decides to run away. “He went on down the hill, toward the dark woods within which the liquid silver voices of the birds called unceasing–the rapid and urgent beating of the urgent and quiring heart of the late spring night. He did not look back” (158), writes Faulkner.

Sarty’s act of running away is liberating for him after all those years of his father’s nonsense.