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

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"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 October 2, 1980
Genre New wave
Length 3:38
Label A&M
Writer Sting
Producer The Police, Nigel Gray
Zenyatta Mondatta track listing
"Driven to Tears"
(2)
"When the World Is Running Down, You Make the Best of What's Still Around"
(3)
"Canary in a Coalmine"
(4)
"When the World Is Running Down"
Single by Different Gear versus The Police
Released July 17, 2000
Format CD
Genre New wave
Label Pagan Records - Pagan 039CDS
Writer(s) Sting

"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. A medley of "When the World Is Running Down, You Make the Best of What's Still Around" with another song from Zenyatta Mondatta, "Voices Inside My Head", reached #3 on the Billboard Dance Music/Club Play Singles chart in 1981.[1] In 2000, a remix version credited to Different Gear versus the Police reached #28 on the UK charts.[2]

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.[3][4] Ellie O'Day of Vancouver Free Press describes the lyrics as being mostly a "repetitive chant".[4] Sting regards the song has having a post-apocalyptic vision, something it shares with an earlier Police song, "Bring on the Night", from the 1979 album Reggatta de Blanc.[3] Sting has said of the two songs "such vanity as to imagine ones self as the sole survivor of a holocaust with all one's favorite things still intact".[3]

"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.[3] 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 different songs from Reggatta de Blanc, "Walking on the Moon" and "The Bed's Too Big without You".[5] 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 note chord progression over its nearly four minute length.[5] Fricke regards the chord progression as "hypnotic".[5]

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.[3] 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.[4] RAM magazine critic Greg Taylor criticizes the lyrics for not doing "anything with its potentially political message" but praises the music, particularly Andy Summers' "long ringing" guitar chords.[4] 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".[4]

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 good songs Sting had written in advance of the Zenyatta Mondatta 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".[6] 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".[4]

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.[7] 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.[7] Pagan Records eventually got permission from the Police's label, A&M Records to release the remix commercially.[7] The remix version was credited to Different Gear versus the Police and reached #28 on the UK charts.[2]

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.[8] Sting himself covered it himself on his solo live album Bring on the Night.[3] 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.[3] The song was also covered by Tatsuya Nishiwaki on his 2004 album Atmosphere/Sound of Gravity.[9]

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.[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Police awards". Allmusic. Retrieved 2012-10-06. 
  2. ^ a b "Police". The Official UL Charts Company. Retrieved 2012-10-06. 
  3. ^ 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. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Zenyatta Mondatta". thepolice.com. Retrieved 2012-10-06. 
  5. ^ a b c Fricke, D. (December 25, 1980). "Zenyatta Mondatta". Rolling Stone Magazine. Retrieved 2012-10-06. 
  6. ^ Summers, A. (2007). One Train Later: A Memoir. Macmillan. p. 259. ISBN 9780312374815. 
  7. ^ a b c Paoletta, M. (June 3, 2000). "Miami's S.F.P. Label Keeps Grooving with New Projects". Billboard Magazine. p. 30. Retrieved 2012-10-06. 
  8. ^ "When the World Is Running Down, You Make the Best of What's Still Around". Allmusic. Retrieved 2012-10-06. 
  9. ^ "Atmosphere/Sound of Gravity". Allmusic. Retrieved 2012-10-06. 
  10. ^ Prato, G. "Message in a Box: The Complete Recordings". Allmusic. Retrieved 2012-10-06. 

External links[edit]