Monday, January 12, 2009

Soundtrack Songs: I Burn For You

The Police: I Burn For You


It's no secret that tensions were high among the members of The Police in the last few years before their mid-eighties break-up, and Sting's rising ego and fame as frontman, coupled with an increasingly disparate musical interest and goals among all three men, is generally treated as the root cause of their deterioration. Which makes it especially odd that The Police would agree to come together to record three songs for the soundtrack to the 1982 Sting film vehicle Brimstone and Treacle, which emerged during the band's sabbatical period between penultimate album Ghost in the Machine and their final, award-winning release Synchronicity.

Brimstone and Treacle is an odd little movie, and the soundtrack is no less so. The Go-Gos tune We Got The Beat and Squeeze synthpop track Up The Junction jut out like sore notes among what is otherwise a split bill between Sting and his soon-to-be-ex band. And though Sting charted that year with his version of Spread A Little Happiness, a simple old coversong from that same album, the vast majority of the Sting solo tunes here are just plain atmospheric pap.

But happily for the world, Sting's role as soundtrack archivist and lead actor must have served the ego enough -- or, at least, the ego boost it provided did not blind him from the good sense to give the best tune of the whole damn flick to the fuller sound of his band. The result is a stroke of genius. Moody and pulsing, crashing like waves from peak to slow burn, this is, quite possibly, my favorite Police song - rivaled only by similarly obscure B-side Murder By Numbers - and I'm proud to share it with the larger audience it has always deserved.

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