Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Track of the Week: "Can't Stand Losing You" by The Police

Lots of people love the Police (except N.W.A., but that's something completely different), but I have always had a problem with how over-produced their stuff sounds. The songs are good, the playing good; I just do not particularly dig the production on most of their records. However, "Can't Stand Losing You" is so stripped down and to the point that I can't get enough of it.

The 1978-79 single also appeared on Outlandos d'Amour, the Police's debut album. Essentially, the song is an eerie story about a bad break-up. The narrative follows a man who can not accept the break-up. Okay, so far a basic rock 'n' roll (or, shoot, even blues) story. Generally there would be a positive resolution with finding another girl or just getting over the relationship. This is where "Can't Stand Losing You" goes from a good song with a catchy beat to a great song. The depressed narrator begins to see life as worthless and finally snaps after the second chorus of the song.

At about the 1:32 mark, all of a sudden the narrator just stops and the song gets strangely calm. Then he snaps and decides suicide is the only option. Only killing himself will get her attention and at the same time make her see how much she hurt him and make her feel guilty. Pretty angst-y for a time when Donna Summer's "I Will Survive" was getting heavy play. Ew, disco...

Still, I have a problem with the way the Police play the song live. The first video is from around the time the song came out. They expand the breakdown part of the song. It begins to get on my nerves a bit about halfway through the expanded part though. Even then the song sounds raw and, therefore, good.



Now look at this video from 2007. The production is better because of the larger stadium. But the expanded part just seems indulgent and unnecessarily long to me. The original recording is perfect. Why mess with perfection? It just takes away from the effect of a guy going through such a drastic breakdown. When I heard them perform this during Live Earth, I just could not believe Sting was doing some terrible scat singing thing. Anyway, whatever.



Lyrics
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 brothers going to kill me and he's six feet ten
I guess youd call it cowardice
But I'm not prepared to go on like this

I can't, I can't, I can't stand losing
I can't, I can't, I can't stand losing
I can't, I can't, I can't
I can't stand losing you
I can't stand losing you
I can't stand losing you
I can't stand losing you

I see you've sent my letters back
And my lp records and they're all scratched
I can't see the point in another day
When nobody listens to a word I say
You can call it lack of confidence
But to carry on living doesn't make no sense

I can't, I can't, I can't stand losing
I can't, I can't, I can't stand losing
I can't, I can't, I can't stand losing
I can't, I can't, I can't stand losing
I can't, I can't, I can't stand losing
I can't, I can't, I can't stand losing

I guess this is our last goodbye
And you don't care, so I won't cry
But you'll be sorry when I'm dead
And all this guilt will be on your head
I guess you'd call it suicide
But I'm too full to swallow my pride

I can't, I can't, I can't stand losing
I can't, I can't, I can't stand losing
I can't, I can't, I can't stand losing
I can't, I can't, I can't stand losing
I can't, I can't, I can't stand losing
I can't, I can't, I can't stand losing

I Can't Stand Losing You by The Police


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