Wednesday, September 9, 2009

For a Song: Every Little Thing She Does is Magic

The Police: Every Little Thing She Does is Magic


Usually, the For a Song feature starts with a song I want to share. I decide what I want to say. Then, and only then, I hunt down the appropriate picture.

But not this time.

This post started with a news item. Perhaps you have heard that Disney is buying Marvel Comics. I take this personally. I am a fan of Marvel Comics from back when they sold for a quarter. So this Disnification of Marvel scares the heck out of me. The idea of Dr Strange in an animated musical with a chorus of bizarre Steve Ditko creatures doesn’t work, (although, I confess, there is a certain perverse appeal...)

But I see the logic. Disney hopes to add products to their mix with a proven appeal to boys. Marvel hopes to apply Disney’s marketing magic, to maximize their properties in way that Marvel has found impossible on their own. And I hope it works. But I am concerned.

Thinking about all this, an image came into my mind. I have no computer graphics skills whatsoever. But, I am blessed with talented friends. My friend Bert created the image you see above, and I cannot thank him enough.

So now I had a picture. I just needed a song. Not how I usually work, but there it was. It needed the word magic in the title. And that was all I knew. Luckily, I thought of Every Little Thing She Does is Magic. There are an amazing number of bad songs with magic in the title, but this certainly is not one of them.

Most of the work of the Police has a very specific quality to it. Part of it is their unique approach to reggae, but it also involves a feel that is even found in their non-reggae numbers. It follows naturally from the emotional tug-of-war in Sting’s lyrics. Dark emotions like loneliness, fear, or shame, vie with happiness, and it is not always clear which emotion wins. In Every Little Thing... it is clear. The protagonist is afraid of this woman who he finds to be perfect, but the music feels like he overcomes his fear, and ends up joyous. The only other clue is the last line of the chorus, “Now I know my love for goes on”.

So here the darkness seems to clear, if only by implication. This ceases to be true in a cover version if the music is more subdued. But, as recorded by The Police, the darkness breaks, and the song stands as a perfect pop song. It is quite possible that you will see other Police songs featured here at some point. But this one stands out for me. And perfectly represents my balance of hopes and fears for the Disney-Marvel merger.