Wikipedia

When the World Is Running Down, You Make the Best of What's Still Around

"When the World Is Running Down, You Make the Best of What's Still Around"
Song by The Police
from the album Zenyatta Mondatta
Released 2 October 1980
Genre New wave
Length 3:38
Label A&M
Songwriter(s) Sting
Producer(s)
"When the World Is Running Down (You Can't Go Wrong)"
When the World Is Running Down cover.jpg
Single by Different Gear vs The Police
Released 17 July 2000
Format CD
Genre New wave, electronica
Label Pagan RecordsPagan 039CDS
Songwriter(s) Sting
Different Gear vs The Police singles chronology
"Roxanne '97"

(1997)
"When the World Is Running Down (You Can't Go Wrong)"

(2000)
"Drink to Get Drunk"

(2001)

"When the World Is Running Down, You Make the Best of What's Still Around" is a song written by Sting that was first released by The Police on their 1980 album Zenyatta Mondatta. Along with another song from Zenyatta Mondatta, "Voices Inside My Head", the song reached No. 3 on the Billboard Dance Music/Club Play Singles chart in 1981. In 2000, a remix version credited to Different Gear versus the Police reached No. 28 on the UK Singles Chart, No. 7 on the Billboard Dance chart, and No. 94 in the Netherlands.

Lyrics and music [ edit ]

"When the World Is Running Down, You Make the Best of What's Still Around" was one of Sting's earliest attempts at a song whose lyrics deal with concerns of the outside world rather than just his own issues.[1][2] Ellie O'Day of Vancouver Free Press describes the lyrics as being mostly a "repetitive chant".[2] Sting regards the song as having a post-apocalyptic vision, something it shares with an earlier Police song, "Bring on the Night", from the 1979 album Reggatta de Blanc.[1] Sting has said of the two songs "such vanity as to imagine one's self as the sole survivor of a holocaust with all one's favorite things still intact".[1]

"When the World Is Running Down, You Make the Best of What's Still Around" and "Bring on the Night" also share their chord progression.[1] Rolling Stone critic David Fricke notes a structural similarity between "When the World Is Running Down, You Make the Best of What's Still Around" and two songs from Reggatta de Blanc, "Walking on the Moon" and "The Bed's Too Big without You".[3] Like those two Reggatta de Blanc songs, "When the World Is Running Down, You Make the Best of What's Still Around" repeats its three-chord progression over its nearly four-minute length.[3] Fricke regards the chord progression as "hypnotic".[3]

Personnel [ edit ]

The Police

Critical reception [ edit ]

Author Chris Welch praises the rhythm section of Sting and Stewart Copeland on the song, particularly the way they go with the flow and groove with ease.[1] Sounds critic Phil Sutcliffe commented on its "expression of melancholy", noting that it maintains a restrained, dry tone that is able to project sadness without being overly demonstrative.[2] RAM magazine critic Greg Taylor criticises the lyrics for not doing "anything with its potentially political message" but praises the music, particularly Andy Summers' "long ringing" guitar chords.[2] Mojo critic John Harris regards it as one of several formless jams on the album, complaining that it "randomly fades out as if simple boredom finally won out".[2]

Police guitarist Andy Summers considers "When the World Is Running Down, You Make the Best of What's Still Around" to be one of the promising songs Sting had written in advance of the Zenyatta Mondatta sessions and which form the "meat" of the album, the others being "Driven to Tears" and the hit singles "De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da" and "Don't Stand So Close to Me".[4] Police drummer Stewart Copeland has described the song (not necessarily entirely seriously) as "pre Rossinus Mantuanus (via Karl Orff) with metre altered to fit the characteristic Police beat".[2]

Remix version [ edit ]

In early 2000, a 12" bootleg remix version of "When the World Is Running Down, You Make the Best of What's Still Around" began circulating in prominent nightclubs, played by such disc jockeys as Pete Tong, David Morales and Terry Farley.[5] At first it was unknown who was responsible for the remix, but it turned out to be Gino Scaletti and Quinn Whalley, also known as Different Gear.[5] Pagan Records eventually got permission from the Police's label, A&M Records, to release the remix commercially.[5] The remix version was credited to Different Gear versus the Police and reached No. 28 on the UK Singles Chart.[6] On the Billboard, US Dance chart, the remix went to No. 7.[7] This version was included in the soundtrack for the film Red Planet (2000).

Charts [ edit ]

Original version [ edit ]

Chart (1981) Peak

position
US Dance Club Songs (Billboard)[8]

with "Voices Inside My Head"
3

Different Gear remix [ edit ]

Chart (2000) Peak

position
Ireland Dance (IRMA)[9] 7
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[10] 94
Scotland (Official Charts Company)[11] 28
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[6] 28
UK Dance (Official Charts Company)[12] 3
UK Indie (Official Charts Company)[13] 5
US Dance Club Songs (Billboard)[7] 7

Other appearances [ edit ]

Besides the remix version, "When the World Is Running Down, You Make the Best of What's Still Around" has been covered by a number of artists.[14] Sting himself covered it himself on his solo live album Bring on the Night.[1] The Bring on the Night version is a medley with the Police song "Bring on the Night" from the 1979 album Reggatta de Blanc and features contributions from Branford Marsalis and keyboardist Kenny Kirkland.[1] The song was also covered by Tatsuya Nishiwaki on his 2004 album Atmosphere/Sound of Gravity.[15]

The Police version of "When the World Is Running Down, You Make the Best of What's Still Around" was included in the box set Message in a Box: The Complete Recordings.[16]

References [ edit ]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Welch, C. (1996). The Complete Guide to the Music of The Police and Sting. Omnibus Press. pp. 16, 66. ISBN 0711953023.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Zenyatta Mondatta". thepolice.com. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
  3. ^ a b c Fricke, D. (25 December 1980). "Zenyatta Mondatta". Rolling Stone Magazine. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
  4. ^ Summers, A. (2007). One Train Later: A Memoir. Macmillan. p. 259. ISBN 9780312374815.
  5. ^ a b c Paoletta, M. (3 June 2000). "Miami's S.F.P. Label Keeps Grooving with New Projects". Billboard Magazine. p. 30. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
  6. ^ a b "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 15 November 2018.
  7. ^ a b "The Police Chart History (Dance Club Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved 15 November 2018.
  8. ^ "The Police Chart History (Dance Club Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved 15 November 2018.
  9. ^ "Top 10 Dance Singles, Week Ending 3 August 2000". GfK Chart-Track. Retrieved 24 May 2019.
  10. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Different Gear vs. The Police – When the World Is Running Down (You Can't Go Wrong)" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 15 November 2018.
  11. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 15 November 2018.
  12. ^ "Official Dance Singles Chart Top 40". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 15 November 2018.
  13. ^ "Official Independent Singles Chart Top 50". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 15 November 2018.
  14. ^ "When the World Is Running Down, You Make the Best of What's Still Around". Allmusic. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
  15. ^ "Atmosphere/Sound of Gravity". Allmusic. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
  16. ^ Prato, G. "Message in a Box: The Complete Recordings". Allmusic. Retrieved 6 October 2012.

External links [ edit ]

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