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The Police – Wrapped Around Your Finger Lyrics 9 years ago
Sting verified that the song was about his failed marriage. However, the song is well written and the "feeling" of the song can apply to a much broader set of circumstances that many other people can relate to. Boiled down to the broadest possible means the song expresses the voyage, if you will, of the narrator through (and to a hoped eventual end of) a relationship (not necessarily sexual, or love) in which power rests almost exclusively with the other person.

The first lyric:

"You consider me the young apprentice
Caught between the Scylla and Charybdis"

Provides key insight into the beginning of the relationship. If the narrator is the "young apprentice" then the other person is the older, and more experienced "Master". Master-apprentice relationship references are fairly common. But the narrator says that this young apprentice is "caught between Scylla and Charybdis", two mythical creatures representing a dangerous crossing in Homer's Odyssey. If placed together, the narrator is saying that the other person considers them young, inexperienced, and stuck in this situation.

So, whether the context is an affair, a marriage, a work relationship with a power figure, or a relationship between a lieutenant to his gang leader doesn't really matter. It's a representation of having being in an unbalanced relationship with a person of greater power and/or intelligence, and being held there by the threat of bad alternatives.

"Hypnotized by you if I should linger
Staring at the ring around your finger"

Many jump (and in some contexts rightly) to assume that the ring is a wedding band. But it need not be so. It could be a magic ring within which rests the power of the mage; a teacher's class ring, a mason's ring; a championship ring. What it communicates is a symbol of gained power. The narrator knows that if they stare at the ring they will communicate their desire, and will be “hypnotized by you if I should linger.” Which literally means to be brought under control of the other person.

Boiled down we can easily see that the narrator wants the power held by the other person when they are “staring at the ring around your finger”. Furthermore, the narrator does not want to be caught, because they would be punished somehow. Again, details don't matter, the feeling of being in such a relationship does.

The following lyric conveys two valuable points; that the apprentice came into the relationship willingly, and that they came to gain power that most other people do not get (also known as ambition):

“I have only come here seeking knowledge
Things they would not teach me of in college”

Again, knowledge is broad, and can be applied to sex, love, magic, drive-bys, etc. However; it must meet one criteria: It is beyond the knowledge of most people (including those with doctorate degrees), so it must be knowledge (power) which could elevate the narrator above most other people. The narrator came to this relationship through naïve ambition for power. Who hasn't felt the regret of being taken advantage of due to naivety? Context changes the details, but this lyric hints that perhaps this master is holding the proverbial tiger by the tail, they just don't know it yet.

One of the more elusive lyrics of the song is the next one. Again, various interpreters have varying explanations based on context, including establishing the ring as a gold wedding band, and assuming that marriage is an integral part of the story, but this is not necessarily the case.

“I can see that destiny you sold
Turned into a shining band of gold”

The lyric is complex, therefore open to multiple interpretations. Destiny is an inevitable outcome, synonymous with fate. Therefore the master has “sold” an inevitable outcome. Since the two lines go together, the narrator sees an inevitable outcome transformed into a symbol of power. A change in the relationship begins to occur at this point. The narrator resigns to their fate as the weak member of the relationship.

It could be interpreted as disappointment at having been lured and captured (in a marriage, relationship, job). I think it could be equally interpreted a different way; the narrator sees the inevitable conclusion of the relationship, not as the master-apprentice relationship is at the present, but with the narrator gaining the symbol of power on their own finger DUE to the circumstance the narrator is stuck in. Resigned to play along the narrator sings:

“I'll be wrapped around your finger
I'll be wrapped around your finger”

Resigned to their fate the narrator spends the next few lyrics explaining the plan.

“Mephistopheles is not your name
I know what you're up to just the same

Mephistopheles is a character from the German stories of Dr. Faust. Mephistopheles is a demon, which trades temporary use of his power for Dr. Faust's soul at the conclusion of an agreed upon time. The lyric is an allusion to the the story in that Faust gained power but it ultimately sealed (in the original writings) his fate in hell. The narrator knows that the master's goal is to use them and string them along. Again, in context the “master” is a spouse, a boss, a teacher, a gang leader. So the important communication is the feeling that one is being used, but being resigned to it in hopes of later gain.

The proceeding stanza and chorus merely explains the ambitious narrator's plan; suffer through the work until the power balance can shift (dual meaning of tuition: teachings, and the cost of such teachings).

I will listen hard to your tuition **
You will see it come to its fruition”

I'll be wrapped around your finger
I'll be wrapped around your finger



The first line of the last stanza was the most confusing to me, but ended up being the most important.

“Devil and the deep blue sea behind me”

This is actually an allusion to a saying “Between the devil and the deep blue sea” of which I was unfamiliar. It is synonymous with “Between a rock and a hard place”, and more importantly, it means having to make a hard decision. The line also alludes back to the second line of the song “Caught between the Scylla and Charybdis”. The hard decision which held them prisoner is now behind them. Anyone who has faced dire circumstance and fretted over how to overcome can associate with the relief of having finally made the decision to act. That is the feeling that pervades the last stanza. Once the decision is made the rest will fall into place:

“Vanish in the air you'll never find me”

An allusion to inevitable escape, and inexorable freedom. Freedom from the dilemma and the unbalanced relationship. Once the narrator is free the balance of power shifts in the opposite direction. “I will turn your face to alabaster” is an allusion to how some people's faces lose blood and turn white (the color of alabaster) when in fear.

The last line:

“When you will find your servant is your master”

Conveys the satisfaction of overcoming the oppression and succeeding the master. The last stanza:

“Ohhh, you'll be wrapped around my finger
You'll be wrapped around my finger
You'll be wrapped around my finger”

In my opinion again continues the sense of satisfaction and finality, although shows that perhaps the narrator did not learn from the other person's mistake, in that again, an unbalanced relationship could be “holding a tiger by the tail”.

So the song is about the feelings associated with the struggle that occurs when a person is in a relationship with unbalanced power. Whether it is a parent, spouse, lover, boss doesn't matter. It is the feelings which we all share, that really make the lyrics and the song so striking.

submissions
The Police – Wrapped Around Your Finger Lyrics 9 years ago
While the ring is certainly a symbol, the reference to being "wrapped around your/my finger" is not representative of eternal devotion, nor is a wedding band specifically mentioned.

Sting verified that the song was about his failed marriage. However, the song is well written and the "feeling" of the song can apply to a much broader set of circumstances that many other people can relate to. Boiled down to the broadest possible means the song expresses the voyage, if you will, of the narrator through (and to a hoped eventual end of) a relationship (not necessarily sexual, or love) in which power rests almost exclusively with the other person.

The first lyric:

"You consider me the young apprentice
Caught between the Scylla and Charybdis"

Provides key insight into the beginning of the relationship. If the narrator is the "young apprentice" then the other person is the older, and more experienced "Master". Master-apprentice relationship references are fairly common. But the narrator says that this young apprentice is "caught between Scylla and Charybdis", two mythical creatures representing a dangerous crossing in Homer's Odyssey. If placed together, the narrator is saying that the other person considers them young, inexperienced, and stuck in this situation.

So, whether the context is an affair, a marriage, a work relationship with a power figure, or a relationship between a lieutenant to his gang leader doesn't really matter. It's a representation of having being in an unbalanced relationship with a person of greater power and/or intelligence, and being held there by the threat of bad alternatives.

"Hypnotized by you if I should linger
Staring at the ring around your finger"

Many jump (and in some contexts rightly) to assume that the ring is a wedding band. But it need not be so. It could be a magic ring within which rests the power of the mage; a teacher's class ring, a mason's ring; a championship ring. What it communicates is a symbol of gained power. The narrator knows that if they stare at the ring they will communicate their desire, and will be “hypnotized by you if I should linger.” Which literally means to be brought under control of the other person.

Boiled down we can easily see that the narrator wants the power held by the other person when they are “staring at the ring around your finger”. Furthermore, the narrator does not want to be caught, because they would be punished somehow. Again, details don't matter, the feeling of being in such a relationship does.

The following lyric conveys two valuable points; that the apprentice came into the relationship willingly, and that they came to gain power that most other people do not get (also known as ambition):

“I have only come here seeking knowledge
Things they would not teach me of in college”

Again, knowledge is broad, and can be applied to sex, love, magic, drive-bys, etc. However; it must meet one criteria: It is beyond the knowledge of most people (including those with doctorate degrees), so it must be knowledge (power) which could elevate the narrator above most other people. The narrator came to this relationship through naïve ambition for power. Who hasn't felt the regret of being taken advantage of due to naivety? Context changes the details, but this lyric hints that perhaps this master is holding the proverbial tiger by the tail, they just don't know it yet.

One of the more elusive lyrics of the song is the next one. Again, various interpreters have varying explanations based on context, including establishing the ring as a gold wedding band, and assuming that marriage is an integral part of the story, but this is not necessarily the case.

“I can see that destiny you sold
Turned into a shining band of gold”

The lyric is complex, therefore open to multiple interpretations. Destiny is an inevitable outcome, synonymous with fate. Therefore the master has “sold” an inevitable outcome. Since the two lines go together, the narrator sees an inevitable outcome transformed into a symbol of power. A change in the relationship begins to occur at this point. The narrator resigns to their fate as the weak member of the relationship.

It could be interpreted as disappointment at having been lured and captured (in a marriage, relationship, job). I think it could be equally interpreted a different way; the narrator sees the inevitable conclusion of the relationship, not as the master-apprentice relationship is at the present, but with the narrator gaining the symbol of power on their own finger DUE to the circumstance the narrator is stuck in. Resigned to play along the narrator sings:

“I'll be wrapped around your finger
I'll be wrapped around your finger”

Resigned to their fate the narrator spends the next few lyrics explaining the plan.

“Mephistopheles is not your name
I know what you're up to just the same

Mephistopheles is a character from the German stories of Dr. Faust. Mephistopheles is a demon, which trades temporary use of his power for Dr. Faust's soul at the conclusion of an agreed upon time. The lyric is an allusion to the the story in that Faust gained power but it ultimately sealed (in the original writings) his fate in hell. The narrator knows that the master's goal is to use them and string them along. Again, in context the “master” is a spouse, a boss, a teacher, a gang leader. So the important communication is the feeling that one is being used, but being resigned to it in hopes of later gain.

The proceeding stanza and chorus merely explains the ambitious narrator's plan; suffer through the work until the power balance can shift (dual meaning of tuition: teachings, and the cost of such teachings).

I will listen hard to your tuition **
You will see it come to its fruition”

I'll be wrapped around your finger
I'll be wrapped around your finger



The first line of the last stanza was the most confusing to me, but ended up being the most important.

“Devil and the deep blue sea behind me”

This is actually an allusion to a saying “Between the devil and the deep blue sea” of which I was unfamiliar. It is synonymous with “Between a rock and a hard place”, and more importantly, it means having to make a hard decision. The line also alludes back to the second line of the song “Caught between the Scylla and Charybdis”. The hard decision which held them prisoner is now behind them. Anyone who has faced dire circumstance and fretted over how to overcome can associate with the relief of having finally made the decision to act. That is the feeling that pervades the last stanza. Once the decision is made the rest will fall into place:

“Vanish in the air you'll never find me”

An allusion to inevitable escape, and inexorable freedom. Freedom from the dilemma and the unbalanced relationship. Once the narrator is free the balance of power shifts in the opposite direction. “I will turn your face to alabaster” is an allusion to how some people's faces lose blood and turn white (the color of alabaster) when in fear.

The last line:

“When you will find your servant is your master”

Conveys the satisfaction of overcoming the oppression and succeeding the master. The last stanza:

“Ohhh, you'll be wrapped around my finger
You'll be wrapped around my finger
You'll be wrapped around my finger”

In my opinion again continues the sense of satisfaction and finality, although shows that perhaps the narrator did not learn from the other person's mistake, in that again, an unbalanced relationship could be “holding a tiger by the tail”.

So the song is about the feelings associated with the struggle that occurs when a person is in a relationship with unbalanced power. Whether it is a parent, spouse, lover, boss doesn't matter. It is the feelings which we all share, that really make the lyrics and the song so striking.

submissions
Linkin Park – Forgotten Lyrics 10 years ago
Here is my interpretation:

First it is important that the duality of the vocalists plays an important role in my interpretation of the song. I believe that the two voices are written as from two aspects of the same person. I choose to name them the Consciousness (C) and his/her Subconscious (S).

C: From the top to the bottom 
S: Bottom to top I stop 

These two phrases to me are an easily dismissed clue. From the top to the bottom could refer to a person's states of consciousness, going from the top to the bottom (fully conscious to subconscious) as in going to sleep. The inverse is the process of rising from subconsciousness to consciousness, as in waking up. But note that on their way up from subconsciousness they stop. It is commonly known that the dreams we remember tend to be the last few moments before we awaken...

C: At the core I've forgotten
S: In the middle of my thoughts

The writer's assertion comes in two parts; at the core, which could be quickly construed as the brain (core processor), but I believe is an allusion to the writer's conscious thought. The remainder is “I've forgotten”, therefore the subject of the sentence is a memory. Taking this and adding the remainder points that they have lost a memory but that it still exists elsewhere (just not at “the core”). Though the writer forgot the memory, it still exists in the center of the subconscious.

C: Taken far from my safety
S: The picture is there

These two lines to me reflect that the writer believes the memory is gone outside their grasp. Their subconscious uses a metaphor of a picture (pictures are primarily stored to bring back memories) to assert that the memory persists, perhaps against conscious desire. This is further asserted in the following line:

C: The memory won't escape me
S: But why should I care (x2)

In the first line I believe that the writer may be using a double meaning. Most commonly, the use of the word escape would indicate the writer doesn't want the memory to leave his mind. Escape could also be used in the less common “so and so's (boss, artist, friend's significant other's) name escapes me.” When used in this way escape means that we are trying to hunt for it but we can't find it. This indicates that the writer may WISH the memory will stay away from his conscious mind.

The response form their conscience is interesting. Since the two lines are tied together this line is a response to the previous one. It seems the conscience is saying it shouldn't care because the conscience “feels” differently and the memory is causing a battle between them. The conscience may want the writer to experience the memory against their will.

The following two stanzas used such clever metaphor and imagery that I was outright impressed. Notice that prior to this stanza the song was very clearly being sung by two different people which are easily distinguishable from one another. This is done not just by their tonality, but also by the fact that one line responds to the other. In the following stanzas the two artists still continue to take turns, but they start to sound similar and their parts build the imagery together until at the end they are in a chorus.

Where does the conscious self and subconscious self meet on an even plane? In dreams.

C: There's a place so dark you can't see the end

It is my belief that the writer has fallen asleep, and begun to dream. This dark place is the emptiness before we dream, the void of conscious thought right before our recollection of dreams.

S: Skies cock back and shock that which can't defend 

In dreams we don't have the control. While conscious our writer can dismiss the subconscious, but not in dreams. The common term to “cock back” is to a wind up for a strike, and “that which can't defend” indicates something other than the subconscious (the conscious self) is vulnerable. I believe “shock” surrounded by the words in the line it indicates to “scare”, as any of us who have ever had a nightmare can attest. From the next line I believe it means the subconscious has scared the writer by placing them in a bad dream (not the memory) in preparation for what's next:

C/S: The rain then sends dripping acidic questions
S: Forcefully, the power of suggestion

Rain is out of the writer's control, and the reference to acid rain could indicate a polluted dream, a polluted mind. I believe the reference to “acidic questions” also implies that the questions are both negative (causing pain) and penetrating (as acid does). The conscience's proceeding statement is clarifying that everything up to this point has just been a means to force the writer's consciousness to do what it wants. “The power of suggestion” is an allusion to the methodology used by hypnotherapists to uncover memories that have been repressed. Therefore the writer is having to suffer through the fear and self doubt brought about by the subconscious in order to uncover something.

C: Then with the eyes shut looking through the rust and rot and dust 
S: A spot of light floods the floor 

The first line is simply asserting that the writer is asleep, which is the only time they can look “through the rust and rot and dust”, all allusions to a place that is neglected, old, and untouched. Once they starts looking in that “place” which is a metaphor for the writer's banished memory, light comes to that place. Light is a metaphor for remembering.

C: And pours over the rusted world of pretend 

This line is probably the single most important clue to what is happening. The light pours over, so the writer is remembering “the rusted world of pretend”. Again rusted is an allusion to lack of use. The “world of pretend” to me is a strong allusion tied to childhood. In no other venue is “pretend” used so widely. Adults imagine, brainstorm, act, role-play, day-dream, but they don't escape to the “world of pretend”. The fact that the “world of pretend” is rusted also indicates it has been abandoned for a long time. I must surmise that the memory that the writer experienced has something to do with his childhood. This is further supported further on.

C/S: The eyes ease open and its dark again 

The writer wakes up, so the memory of his childhood is hidden again.

[Chorus]

C/S: In the memory you'll find me 
C/S: Eyes burning up 
C/S: The darkness holding me tightly 
C/S: Until the sun rises up 

With all the foundational information already established it is easy to understand that the writer is reliving the memory in his sleep and it is causing them to cry, until they awaken. This would indicate the memory itself is the bad thing, but this conclusion is contrary to the rest of the song lyrics.

C: Moving all around
S: Screaming of the ups and downs
C: Pollution manifested in perpetual sound
C/S: The wheels go round and the sunset creeps behind the
C/S: Street lamps, chain-link, and concrete

The preceeding stanza seems to be the writer experiencing the real world in a busy and hectic life until the sunset comes again, alluding that we may soon enter the dreamworld once again. Based on the descriptions it appears to be written from the perspective of an adult, supporting my conclusion that the memory is of a childhood long ago.

C: A little piece of paper with a picture drawn
C: Floats on down the street till the wind is gone
C/S: The memory now is like the picture was then
C/S: When the paper's crumpled up it can't be perfect again

The writer here continues to experience the real world, but takes note of the paper. Using the visual imagery of a discarded “piece of paper with a picture drawn” seems to me an allusion, again, to childhood since it isn't a “painting”, a “sketch”, or some other “adult” sort of drawing. The wind is a metaphor for time, and perhaps the events which have occurred in between that childhood and the present which won't allow them to coexist in the writer's conscious mind. More to follow on that:

The last two lines clears up the metaphor used in the chorus, and builds on it. Unfortunately they are confusing because they're in a difficult order. “The memory [NOW] is like the picture was [THEN]” emphasis is added to focus on the time of each. What is the difference in the memory/picture between NOW and THEN? Perhaps that is answered in the final line. The paper was crumpled up. The memory was damaged and cannot be repaired. Since “the memory now is like the picture was then” the childhood that is hidden in the writer's subconscious must then be perceived as having been perfect in the past. Whatever occurred probably occurred during childhood. The crumpling of the paper is alluding to some negative act but is unspecific and doesn't (at least in my mind) point to a particular trauma.

[Chorus]

C/S: Now you got me caught in the act
C/S: You bring the thought back 
C/S: I'm telling you that 
C/S: I see it right through you

The last stanza may give us a final clue as to the source of this conflict. The writer has apparently recollected “the thought” because of seeing someone. This someone must have had an impact on their life between the writer's perfect childhood and the current time.

It is my opinion that the event(s) which blocks the perfect childhood from the present consciousness is never truly uncovered. It could be surmised that it occurred close to childhood, since that is the time which is both “perfect” and repressed. Perhaps that was the intent of the writer(s), to acknowledge people who have had a traumatic event in their life and have a longing for a “perfect” time in their childhood.

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