Turn on my V.C.R.
Same one I've had for years
James Brown on the T. A. M. I. show
Same tape I've had for years
I sit in my old car
Same one I've had for years
Old battery's running down
It ran for years and years

Turn on the radio
The static hurts my ears
Tell me where would I go
I ain't been out in years
Turn on the stereo
It's played for years and years
An Otis Redding song
It's all I own

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

Plug in my M.C.I
To exercise my brain
Make records on my own
Can't go out in the rain
Pick up the telephone
I've listened here for years
No one to talk to me
I've listened here for years

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

When I feel lonely here
Don't waste my time with tears
I run 'Deep Throat' again
It ran for years and years
Don't like the food I eat
The cans are running out
Same food for years and years
I hate the food I eat
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

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

{fade}

Turn on my V.C.R.
Same one I've had for years
James Brown on the T. A. M. I. show
Same tape I've had for years
I sit in my old car


Lyrics submitted by Demau Senae

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

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  • +1
    General Commentgotta look up M.C.I. Don't think Sting meant the phone company. Cold war tensions were high with Reagan and Thatcher on their respective thrones. So the nuclear apocalypse happened, and he's in his fallout shelter with dusty old records and VHS tapes. Why ELSE would he be sitting arond with all those moldy oldies?
    drpoundsignon June 14, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIMHO Andy Summers has one of the coolest guitar tones I've ever heard in this song. The whole song just flows perfectly, and they didn't screw up with groove with anything besides the breakdown/buildup which totally brings you back into the song. The groove is so good that after listening to it over and over for the entire length of the song you still want to put it right back on again.

    I would like to think that Sting wrote this song while being cooped up in the studio for an extended period of time. The Police were known for feuding with each other, so more than likely they all just went in and wanted to get the hell out of there but couldnt leave. I would like to think the song is about how even though your situation is not what you want it to be and you have to repeat things a million times that you don't want to do, you still have to find the fun part of it and make the best of it you can.

    The reference to the T.A.M.I. show, for all the kiddies who have no clue what it was, refers to James Brown's performance on the said show. Basically, the T.A.M.I. show was a rock concert with the biggest name rock bands of the time (the stones, etc.) all performing their asses off. In short, after you watched all the biggest names in rock (who would definately be a hard act to follow), James Brown came out and unexpectedly blew them all out of the water. James Brown's performance on the T.A.M.I. is generally noted to be one of the best live shows of the era ever recorded.

    I think Sting used the T.A.M.I. reference not only as a nod to his inspirations, but as a reminder that if you are in a position where you don't want to do something, you should still do it with everything you have because you might just blow somebody away with what you do.
    Mojolectroon June 01, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentMeanwhile, 'When The World Is Running Down You Make The Best Of What's Still Around' fully deserves its fourteen-word title with Summers' echoey ringing chords and Sting's excellent vocal workout.
    [George Starostin]
    sillybunnyon September 28, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentMojo's got it wrong. It was the Stones who were the final performance at the TAMI show and they were terriffied of having to follow James Brown.

    Quite a groove this song has...cannot be listened apart from "Driven To Tears"
    ZinbobDanon November 02, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is about a guy who's really dissatisfied with life, but just makes the best of what he's got. Great song
    captainhastingson June 19, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis is about life.


    haha good enough i hope :)
    I feel sting pretty doubtful of progress here lol accusing the losing of soul among many things..
    not particulary too much a fan of new technologies either lol
    and still right about not wanting to trade all for empty subsitutes.
    most importantly to not give in in general
    naivadaon July 08, 2007   Link
  • 0
    My Interpretationabout the song, for what i got is about the last man on earth.
    and about trying to keep sanity by trying to keep a routine..
    might also be a metaphor for being misunderstood or an outcast on the actual society that keeps sinking down and down.. also depression and not being able to make contact with the "outside world". or even a person still attached to the "old ways" that doesn't feel the need to get new experiences and likes his world the way it is.

    about the several lyrics parts:

    "Plug in my M.C.I. to exercise my brain"
    >for those who didn't get it, the M.C.I. acronym refers to Music Center Incorporated.. so in this song Sting is refering to a multitracker recorder..

    "Make records on my own can't go out in the rain"
    >this might be due the nuclear winter the survivors of a nuclear blast will be facing.

    "Pick up the Telephone, I've listened here for years
    No-one to talk to me I've listened here for years"

    >trying to use the radio to keep track of any people in the same situation.. not getting much luck. but he still has hope and keeps doing it even after years and years of silence.


    "When I feel lonely here, don't waste my time with tears
    I run 'Deep Throat' again it ran for years and years
    Don't like the food I eat, the cans are running out
    Same food for years and years I hate the food I eat"

    >at this time he tries to forget about what's going on and to delude himself by trying to recreat things the used to do.
    also, he starts to get sick of eating the same food over and over again, something that usually happen to depressed people.

    and that's pretty much it.. a nostalgic song.
    chilinomoreon August 07, 2012   Link
  • -1
    General CommentAnselm Hollo & Donald Hall
    (paraphrased poetry)

    Life is complicated
    Drains are roaring
    Percy B. Shelley—was fond of soaring
    Flowers of spring—tra-la—suddenly
    In this lone kitchen
    Ferocious sociopath—rubs ace of hearts
    Against his crotch for luck

    [She said] So why not stay up, brother
    and think about everything
    and I mean—everything
    [He said] I’m not going to read
    any of these—to anyone
    over the phone tonight

    [They said] God knows … back there
    in his snug chair or his perishing tower
    wistful
    sniffing a flower
    So—let it slide
    And let’s abide
    And sigh
    As dawn is drawing nigh
    There is the rain—there is the snow
    The dew—the fog—the mist—the glow
    Hers—Mine
    Possessive forms of action
    Giving one little—or no traction

    [She said] The radio keeps talking
    It tells me news and weather and feelings
    About products and sadness
    Boxes and boxes of sadness

    [Someone said] You’re not going to sleep anyway
    You’re going to lay around and curse
    [We said] How do—he plus she
    hang together
    on their still beautiful
    (though in this case—slightly bent) frames?
    [We said] Beautifully


    [And uh, she said, making the best of what's still around ... love the song ...]
    sillybunnyon September 06, 2006   Link
  • -1
    General CommentSeasons of flame
    Seasons of shadow
    With the slow snow, the lepers come down
    Suddenly Love—the peer of terror
    With unseen hand, arrests the fire
    Puts right the sun
    Reconstructs the loved one
    Nothing foretold an existence of such strength
    Snow is falling from the mouth of this cannon
    There was hell in our heads
    At the same time—spring’s at our fingertips
    The earth’s in love
    The grasses exuberant
    The constellation of the lonely one is stretched taut
    (With me—lightning lasts …)
    One cannot begin …!
    How we resemble you!
    She guesses …
    The heart
    Shared by us during what is improperly called a fine storm
    Sinks several times
    sillybunnyon September 30, 2006   Link

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