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#1
Old 04-20-2006, 11:19 PM
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Sting fans: What's wrong with "Fields of Gold"?

I've been a Sting fan for many years, and own most of his solo albums, as well as a couple of "Best Of"s that encompass the Police years. One of the trends in his music that has always stuck out to me -- all of his songs that deal with relationships with women seem to have some sort of odd twist to them. None of them are straightforward love songs. For example:
  • He's too scared to tell her how he feels ("Every Little Thing")
  • He lost her, so now he's stalking her ("Every Breath You Take")
  • She's pathetic and he's the only one who'll bother ("It's Probably Me")
  • He can't commit AND he's got competition ("Seven Days")
  • He screwed up but wants to repair the damage ("Fortress Around Your Heart")
  • He stole money to be with her ("Fill Her Up")
  • He stole her to be with her ("After The Rain Has Fallen")
  • She's out of his league, but he got her anyway ("She's Too Good For Me", "Everybody Laughed But You")

The list goes on, believe me. It's fascinating. But as much as I've tried, I can't figure out what could be different about "Fields of Gold." It strikes me as being a song reflecting on what they've had, but I don't sense any loss. I feel like I *must* be missing something obvious, but is this just a rare exception?

Does anyone have any insight or opinion on this?
#2
Old 04-21-2006, 02:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asimovian
It's fascinating. But as much as I've tried, I can't figure out what could be different about "Fields of Gold."
Eva Cassidy died after recording a brilliant cover? Maybe it's cursed.

I don't know. I got nothin'
#3
Old 04-21-2006, 04:57 AM
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I've always wondered if it's from the perspective of a guy whose wife is dying or has died prematurely:

"I swear in the days still left": they're trying to live as well as they can before the inevitable.

"Never make promises lightly": he regrets fights or difficulties they had now that they don't have much time left together.

"You'll remember me": She wants him to think of the time they shared, and this is him remembering her telling him that.

"See the children run": It feels like, "they're growing up so fast, I wish you were here to see them."

"Jealous sky": A bitter way of saying "the angels took her away."

And its definitely a reach, but "as her hair came down"--the result of chemo? I'm not inclined to believe that, since it's not a particularly strong way of conveying that idea.

It's a morbid interpretation, but the song has a very wistful feel to it--wistful like someone's extremely fond memories after a profound loss. One might say the other songs are about misfortune in love because the dude's a sociopath, can't commit, has low self esteem, or just because someone important to him was taken away.

Thing is, the phrase "fields of gold" evokes some real nice imagery, but I can't think of any way it could be a metaphor for something.

Man, just writing about the song has me blinking a lot.
#4
Old 04-21-2006, 09:00 AM
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Jeez, I hope it's about something nice. It was the song my husband and I used for our first dance at our wedding.
#5
Old 04-21-2006, 09:11 AM
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I always thought of it as the fond, but bittersweet musing memories of an old, old man who is a widower now. I think it could also be the voice of a thirtyish man, remembering the early days of his relationship with his wife, taking her words to heart, and savoring the joy now.
#6
Old 04-21-2006, 09:37 AM
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Equipoise writes:

> Eva Cassidy died after recording a brilliant cover?

Eva Cassidy's version of this is indeed great. This is perhaps Sting's best-written song, neither bitter about love nor filled with artsy literary references, and thus is most adaptable to other singers. The timeline in it is a little odd, since it speaks in present tense in the first verse of a relationship just beginning and in the last verse, also in present tense, of one that been going on for at least a decade. Maybe it's just Sting finally getting himself straightened out enough to write an ordinary love song.

Actually, the curse is on the song "Somewhere over the Rainbow". Judy Garland did a good version and died at 47, Israel Kamakawiwo'ole did a better version and died at 38, Eva Cassidy did the best version and died at 33.
#7
Old 04-21-2006, 10:12 AM
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Don't forget his penchant for falling in love with prostitutes (Roxanne), or being so taken with a gal he offs himself (Can't Stand Losing You)...

FoG is actually a departure for Sting, which he continued in "When We Dance," is pretty much a straight-ahead love song. Sounds like he's encountering more traditional love relationships in his crusty years. Must be that Tantric stuff...
#8
Old 04-21-2006, 11:23 AM
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"All This TIme," one of my favorite Sting songs, doesn't fit very well into that "relationship" motif either.
#9
Old 04-21-2006, 11:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asimovian

She's pathetic and he's the only one who'll bother ("It's Probably Me")
When I saw Sting in concert in St. Louis lo these many years ago, he explained to the crowd that this song had been written to be the opening theme to one of the Lethal Weapon movies (can't remember which one). He said he tried to think of what Danny Glover would say to Mel Gibson, and vice versa. (He then said that his first idea, "My Lethal Weapon Is Bigger Than Yours", was rejected.)

It kind of puts a different spin on that song if you think of it that way.
#10
Old 04-21-2006, 11:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hippy Hollow
Don't forget his penchant for falling in love with prostitutes (Roxanne), or being so taken with a gal he offs himself (Can't Stand Losing You)...

FoG is actually a departure for Sting, which he continued in "When We Dance," is pretty much a straight-ahead love song. Sounds like he's encountering more traditional love relationships in his crusty years. Must be that Tantric stuff...
Actually, he put out "When We Dance" at least 12 years ago (I can't seem to figure out what album the song was on originally, but it was definitely on the Best of Sting '84-'94 album). He's done much stranger "love" songs since (two of the examples I listed above were from "Brand New Day"). Maybe it was just a period in his life when he experienced some normalcy, but it doesn't appear to be related to age.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RikWriter
"All This TIme," one of my favorite Sting songs, doesn't fit very well into that "relationship" motif either.
I'm curious to hear your elaboration on this. It is also one of my favorites, though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pazu
When I saw Sting in concert in St. Louis lo these many years ago, he explained to the crowd that this song had been written to be the opening theme to one of the Lethal Weapon movies (can't remember which one).
According to IMDB, it's from Lethal Weapon 3. Now I'm going to have to rewatch it just to figure out how that fit in with the theme.

******************

Khan, I'm really liking your interpretation, with apologies to Dung Beetle. Your breakdown rings very true to me.
#11
Old 04-21-2006, 12:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Khan
And its definitely a reach, but "as her hair came down"--the result of chemo? I'm not inclined to believe that, since it's not a particularly strong way of conveying that idea.
Probably not.

If you read the entire lyrics instead of taking lines out of context:
http://azlyrics.com/lyrics/sting/fieldsofgold.html

he's basically remembering some lost love and hoping that he will once again run through barley fields and banging the shit out of her. The implication is that for some reason they can't but could maybe someday.

"I never made promises lightly
And there have been some that I've broken
But I swear in the days still left"

is more or less refering to whatever crap he pulled to drive her away


"You can tell the sun in his jealous sky"

...simply conveys imagery and emotion, specifically jealousy, anger. As if the sun was literally jealous of their past love and now mocks him.


It's important to note that the tense changes in each verse.
We walk - look how in love we are
We'll walk - hey, maybe someday we'll get back together
When we walked - the time for walking in fields of gold together has come and gone


So basically it is a tale of love lost
#12
Old 04-21-2006, 05:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by msmith537
So basically it is a tale of love lost
I disagree. The song strikes me as a renewal of wedding vows by a middle-aged man.

It seems to me a song by a husband to his wife. First he recalls their glory days of making out in the grass:

In his arms she fell as her hair came down
Among the fields of gold


He apologizes for his missteps along the way (the "promises broken") but swears to straighten up from now on ("I swear in the days still left, we'll walk in fields of gold"). Seems to me he is saying he hasn't been true to his marriage vows, but regrets it and promises to do better.

Then we see the couple's children are running through the fields where the singer and his wife used to make out:

Many years have passed since those summer days
Among the fields of barley
See the children run as the sun goes down
Among the fields of gold


And then finally the singer ponders his own mortality, and imagines that after he's gone his wife can still remember, fondly, those long-gone summer days.
#13
Old 04-21-2006, 05:39 PM
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spoke- I can see the words in that meaning. I can also see it as the widowed singer recounting the words his wife told him, as he looks back on bygone days.
#14
Old 04-21-2006, 06:14 PM
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I reject the premise that all Sting's love songs are messed up. What about "Straight to My Heart"?
#15
Old 04-21-2006, 09:44 PM
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Two more unscrewed-up love songs are "We'll Be Together" and "I Burn for You." (AFAIC, the latter is the sexiest song. Ever.)
#16
Old 04-22-2006, 07:14 AM
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I came raging in here to defend Sting... but I find I have nothing to fight with.

I will just say that I love "Fields of Gold" and leave it at that.
#17
Old 04-22-2006, 01:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dervorin
I came raging in here to defend Sting... but I find I have nothing to fight with.

I will just say that I love "Fields of Gold" and leave it at that.
Be at peace...you're among friends.

foolsguinea and choie, I don't have any argument with your selections. I still think my original statement applies to the vast majority of his songs about relationships. It's not a criticism of Sting at all...I think it makes his music interesting, honestly.
#18
Old 04-22-2006, 04:28 PM
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I heard it was about an aborted extra-marital affair.
#19
Old 04-23-2006, 03:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wendell Wagner
This is perhaps Sting's best-written song, neither bitter about love nor filled with artsy literary references, and thus is most adaptable to other singers.
Never read Tennyson? I've always taken the "fields of barley" refrain as a "Lady of Shallot" reference.
#20
Old 04-23-2006, 10:14 AM
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Well, at least it's a subtle enough reference that it could be missed.
#21
Old 04-23-2006, 12:47 PM
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They used the Eva Cassidy version of Fields of Gold on a TV commercial for Cancer Research UK. It made my step-daughter cry every time she heard it.

There is also a nice version for solo guitar here.
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