Lyric Analysis: The Police and 'Every Breath You Take'

"Every Breath You Take"
The Police

Every breath you take
Every move you make
Every bond you break

Well the rhyme scheme is a bit on the nose but thus far things seem romantic. This appears to be a kind of all-consuming ode to new love. Sweet.

Every step you take
I'll be watching you.

Oh. Huh.

Every single day

Every single day he’ll be... watching? That’s the takeaway here, right? Based off the previous line? So we’re to infer that all 365 days of the year he’ll be watching this lover of his. That’s... a lot.

Every word you say

Even the ones spoken in private or on the phone to people who are not you, Sting? Or words mumbled in sleep? EVERY WORD?

Every game you play

Even Monopoly? Because playing that can get boring, I have to be honest, so I can’t even imagine it as a spectator sport.

Every night you stay
I'll be watching you.

This song was romantic for about two lines and quickly went off the rails into what I like to call Jorah Mormont territory. That’s a Game of Thrones reference, mom. Too niche? Alright, Edward Cullen territory. Nothing? Okay: stalker. It’s a song written by a stalker. Like the kind of man who shows up in Meereen with greyscale despite you previously having banished him for kissing you without consent and, you know, spying on you for Kings Landing and who still pouts about the friend zone (which, men, is not a thing). Or the kind of undead man who shows up in your bedroom every night just to stand in the corner like a sparkly brooding shadow to watch you sleep. Those are not romantic gestures, they are stalker activities.

Oh can't you see
You belong to me?

Oh can’t YOU see / you’re actually quite creepy?

How my poor heart aches with every step you take.

Typical. I mean let’s just all focus on how much his heart aches, right? Sting, come on, this isn’t cool. I DGAF how your heart feels when you’re literally listening to every word I say every single day and watching me every night. MY HEART FEELS PRETTY CONSTRAINED THANK YOU FOR ASKING.

Every move you make
Every vow you break
Every smile you fake
Every claim you stake

Just to be sure all ground is covered, lest you think there’s somewhere he won’t be watching you, he will also watch you while you’re re-living the gold rush and staking your claim on hitting a rich vein. He is thorough.

I'll be watching you.

Maybe he’s a casino owner? I learned from Terry Benedict in Ocean’s Eleven that somebody is always watching in his casinos.

Since you've gone I've been lost without a trace.

Without A Trace was a CBS procedural about the Missing Persons Bureau of the FBI in New York City (that’s a redundant statement since every procedural takes place in NYC, even the ones that don’t: fact) that starred Anthony LaPaglia. It started airing in 2002 so I have to wonder, did they take their name from this song? The Police did win a lot of awards for this song, it was the biggest hit of 1983, and is widely considered their signature song.

I dream at night, I can only see your face.
I look around but it's you I can't replace.

‘Face’ and ‘replace’ do rhyme but that’s an awkward line, no? There had to be other options. “I look around but you took off at quite a pace” ... “I look around and realize you need your space” .... “I look around and recall the scent of your mace”.... I don’t know, I’m just spitballing.

I feel so cold, and I long for your embrace.
I keep crying baby, baby, please...

Dry your eyes, O Stalker. You have the thousands of photos you doubtless took of her sleeping to comfort you. And probably stolen items of clothing. But that will have to be it. It’s time to let go. In the immortal words of Adele Dazeem, “let it go”.

Oh can't you see
You belong to me?

Possessive much?

How my poor heart aches with every step you take.

Remember the 'Step By Step' analysis? That one had stalker-esque overtones, if you recall. But that song sounds like an anthem of independence compared to this.

Every move you make
Every vow you break
Every smile you fake

Insincerity is the least of your problems here, methinks.

Every claim you stake
I'll be watching you.

Every move you make
Every step you take
I'll be watching you...

I'll be watching you

How did The Police fall so far into erroneous romantic overtures in the scant five years between 1978’s relative liberation anthem 'Roxanne' and this stalker manifesto? It’s one of the enduring mysteries of our time.

- Corinne Simpson