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The Police – Every Breath You Take Lyrics 12 years ago
Yes. I mean the person in the song is literally talking about their own self. Someone's self-conscious constantly bearing witness to what that person is doing, commenting on it, and not particularly happy with what they see they have become.

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Rush – Tom Sawyer Lyrics 12 years ago
Oh yeah, one last thing. In response to JiveTalk's post, Steve Bowman IS a great drummer. The above list is pretty subjective, as are all of people's OPINIONS. That is what opinion's are. Drummers are great for different reasons. Peart is my personal favorite (not to mention most rock drummers), but Peart had a favorite too, Buddy Rich, not to mention his initially trying to emulate Keith Moon's style (which he ultimately found to be too unstructured for his taste). In my opinion, Mike Portnoy is a close second to Peart, and I could never have put Taylor Hawkins, Carmine Appice or Chad Smith that low on the list in good conscience. Furthermore, unless I missed his name, Steve Gadd ISN'T EVEN ON THE LIST!! And that's just insane. It's a matter of taste, but nobody can deny Peart's unimaginable talent or his place as a defining element of modern drumming.

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Rush – Tom Sawyer Lyrics 12 years ago
I am a new member, and it's so good to see and read so many fellow RUSH fans. Their respective musicianship, demeanor and intellectually progressive style is second to none, in my opinion, and makes them, again in my opinion, the best three piece rock band ever.

As a drummer, philosopher and appreciator of unique and interesting personalities, I have appreciated Neil Peart in various capacities for some time. As an undergraduate philosophy student (presently working on my Ph.D.) we were assigned in senior seminar to write about our favorite living philosopher. I turned in a twenty page treatise on Neil Peart and the look on my professors face was priceless. Without reading it, he handed it back and told me to grow up and do the assignment, stating "He's not even an academic. How could he be a philosopher?" (such attitudes are commonplace) I told him that if he didn't think differently after reading it I would quit school. He could tell I was serious. The next day, handing me a paper with the first letter of our alphabet scribed widely across the top, he asked me, embarrassed, if I would burn him a CD with "some of their stuff" :-)

As far as lyrical meaning, it is important to note that, while influenced by Twain, Rand and various others, he is (in his own words), "a disciple of no one." Through his lyrics we can piece together a personal philosophy, a proprietary blend, of anti-idealism/objectivism/individualism (Freewill, The Pass, TOM SAWYER, Show Don't Tell, Vital Signs, etc...), fatalism (Roll The Bones, a personal favorite), existentialism (again, Roll The Bones, Limelight, the title "All The World's A Stage") and several other philosophical influences.

Tom Sawyer (not Diane Sawyer, Ricky. hehe) is, in both the book and song, the personification of a sort or type of person, the sort of person breaking away from the status quo, exploring and, importantly, the sort who represents both a normative and actual shifting of the human paradigm in the direction of his (man's) rational evolution. This fits, to a greater or lesser extent, with Freud's idea that man evolves in such a way as to shed his dependence on ideals (religion, social norms) and replace that dependence with a greater implementation of reason (leading to self-reliance, a deeper self-awareness and sense of responsibility for ones own "destiny"). Tom Sawyer has thus been a different people at different transitional points in man's evolution (our history). "Todays" Tom Sawyer is exactly what the song says; a leader to the next step in realizing pure reason or rationality; the "space he invades," is his days work, to explore the unknown as progress towards truth; the "friction of the day," is the resistance he faces from both people's unwillingness to embrace change as well as the intellectual rigor of tackling what hasn't already been explored (the guy who cuts a path through the forest faces resistance from the brush leaving those who follow behind with little to do but be complacent and stagnate). He (TS) does all of this with a mind filled only by his own conclusions (i.e. "not for rent"), and via the power coming from honest intellectual reciprocity or dialectical process ("he gets high on you," "he gets by on you"). As far as "riding out the days events," the song is referring to fate controlling what life gives to us, even though it is our responsibility (and can be a point of pride if done well) to live our own life with what fate hands us. In RUSH's "Roll the Bones," Peart refers to the same notion, "we draw our own designs, but fortune has to make that frame."

The philosophical analysis could go on and on. Tom Sawyer is an intellectually (ideologically) dense song, as are many other of Peart's lyrics. It would take a while to thoroughly unpack them and I feel bad writing as much as I have. Sorry about that. I'm new, and haven't yet developed any restraint :-)

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The Police – Every Breath You Take Lyrics 12 years ago
You know, it's funny... Over the years I think I can remember Sting mentioning or eluding to several of the above theories as being either the meaning or inspiration for "Every Breath You Take." I don't know if he enjoys people not knowing with certainty what the single and correct meaning is, or, perhaps, if his inspiration(s) were so vague or general at the time that, even to him, it has meant different things at different times. Under particular circumstances people are capable of mistaking or even exploiting their own authorial intent (*M*A*S*H*, Apocalypse Now, Vonnegut's "Slaughterhouse Five," are good examples of inspirations, messages and even the particular war being depicted, morphing over time to fulfill some over-reaching agenda. All the interpretations were correct, even when none of them were "correct".)

Anyways... I have always found a writer's inspiration/meaning interesting, even if the work, to me, means something entirely different. To me, the two are not mutually exclusive. Personally, I like to believe that "Every Breath You Take" is about the duality of an individual. There is a part of us that is separate from our actions, changing beliefs/attitudes and motivations. The part of an alcoholic that regrets his or her drinking, even as the bottle is up to their lips. The part of us that tries to coax one foot in front of the other when overcoming or succumbing to our fear, or that serves as the vehicle of nostalgia for prior youth or love. I like to think that this part of us is the voice in the song, sung by a man who has fallen out of his own good graces. Think about it while you listen and see if it does anything for you. I'm sorry for the length. My first post, and I went a little overboard.

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