“Darkness” is the drone-y final track on The Police’s fourth album, 1981’s Ghost In The Machine. A damn fine album on its own merit, it has the misfortune of being sandwiched between the trio’s two undisputed classics-Zenyatta Mondatta (arguably one of my ten favorite albums ever) and Synchronicity. Much like, say, Stevie Wonder’s Fulfillingness’ First Finale, it’s an amazing album that gets its shine dimmed because of the absolute genius that precedes and follows it.
The main refrain goes “I wish I never woke up this morning/Life was easier when it was boring”. Those are phrases that are probably familiar to anyone who has a depressive disorder. So, I’ve always thought the lyrics were about depression and identified with them for that very reason.
Turns out (at least according to songlyrics.com) “Darkness” might actually be about how hard it is to be a rock star. Talk about busting a bubble. I mean, I have no empirical proof that it’s a celebrity complaint, but I do wonder how that colors my perception of the song (I mean, you’re gonna have to give me time…I just uncovered this possibility a couple of hours ago as I was doing research to write this thing.) And, you know what? I’ve been adjacent to enough working musicians to be aware that being a working musician isn’t everything the lavish lifestyles of the 1% is cracked up to be. So, although I am not a member of a world famous rock band, I can empathize.
Interesting fact I just learned because I clearly don’t read liner notes the way I used to: while voiced by Sting, “Darkness” was actually written by Stewart Copeland, the Police’s drummer. Copeland is, IMHO, the second best rock and roll drummer of all time (shout out to John Bonham the GOAT).