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Synchronicity II

by

The Police



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

Synchronicity is the theory that seemingly coincidental events are connected through their meaning. Psychologist Carl Jung created the term as a way to explain paranormal events.

The Synchronicity in this song is the connection between the picket lines protesting environmental contamination and the resulting mutant-monster rising from the polluted lake.
Sting wrote this. He read a lot about Jung, and became a believer in the concept of Synchronicity.
A Synchronicity in this song could be seen as what is happening at the Scottish loch and what is happening inside "Daddy's" head. The monster is coming out of the water and approaching the cottage. Daddy's despair and futility over his life are boiling to the surface just as he's arriving home. We can only imagine what will happen when he goes into the house. (thanks, Heather - San Jose, CA)
The video was directed by Kevin Godley and Lol Creme, who also shot the video for "Every Breath You Take." The "Synchronicity II" video was a grand production, with each band member getting his own tower about 25 feet in the air. The area below them was meant to look like a garbage dump from the future, and at one point it caught fire under Stewart Copeland's tower - the directors made sure to keep rolling film to catch the action.
The album opens with "Synchronicity I," which is a completely different song which they also used as the first song on their tour.
Synchronicity was the last album, and until 2007, the last tour for The Police. Even though they were immensely popular, Sting broke up the band to start a solo career.
The Police
The Police Artistfacts
More The Police songs
More songs inspired by psychology
More songs about the environment
More songs with videos directed by Godley & Creme

Comments (42):

The factory belching filth into the sky is mentioned to paint a picture. That line is not necessarily meant to be directly connected to the picket line. The implication I got was that there was a labor strike going on, and the father is such a nobody at the company that the picketers don't even care enough about him to hinder him as he breaks the line.
- Greg, Dallas, TX
Writing in Entertainment Weekly about a 1996 Sting tour, Chris Willman said:
"The late-inning number that really gets [the crowd] galvanized is the edgy old Police staple that has the most old-fashioned unresolved rock tension in it, 'Synchronicity II'—which, after all, is a song about a domestic crisis so anxiety producing that it wakes up the Loch Ness monster." - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synchronicity_II

Other sources concur - http://howtomanguide.com/2013/10/lifestyle/how-to-understand-synchronicity/

One of the greatest songs ever though!
- steve, Los Angeles, CA
This song makes me think of quite a few different things. For some reason its always reminded me of Judas Priest as its quite a metalish tune with Sting trying to sound like Rob Halford and the video especially seems like that. The thing with the Loch Ness monster and dad having a bad day at work reminds me of that theory of a butterfly flapping its wings in China and causing an earthquake in San Franciso. And it makes me think of that Michael Douglas film Falling Down too. Those are my observations anyway, I might just have gotten a wee bit carried away though. Lol
- Kieran, Brisbane, Australia
Build, build, build. There's only so much more that he can take. Meaningless job, life, disconnected from unappreciative family that at one point was likely what he believed was his saving grace. Something crawls to the surface - yes, it's distant, but that's simply him removing himself from what he's about to do. Daddy likely believed or wanted to believe in Nessy from an early age - and sees her as an un-assuming figure who simply wants to be left alone to exist peacefully in her environment. But that won't happen for her or Daddy. He feels, like he believes Nessy is coming to believe, that peace can only come from unleashing destruction on those who prevent it. Just a thought!
- Gregg, Parker, CO
I always thought of this song as life during the Cold War. Life went on, but Daddy was staring off, knowing that "Someone somewhere had to break." (One country will steep deep enough into Paranoia that they blow up the other.) What is rising from the lake? Something resistant to fallout, that will take our place.
- XANAcore, Daphne, AL
I've always thought that this song was a critical commentary of modern life in the industrial age: the loss of individuality, the breakdown of family/tradition and most clearly, the poisoning of the environment.

The something dark creeping from the lake is symbolic for the backlash of abusing mother earth for a long time. A terrible consequence is coming but we can't see exactly what it is.
- Tim, prescott, AZ
I guess it may be inspired by William Butler Yeats 's poem The Second Coming as these lines "Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert/A shape with lion body and the head of a man/A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun/Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it/" really resemble "Many miles away something crawls to the surface of a dark Scottish Loch". Also Sting used a quotation of Yeats in Synchronicity I reffering to "spiritus mundi" which implies he was fund about the poem. The mutual theme is that things are falling apart and somethings big is gonna happened...so I see a close parallel between these two texts..
- Premysl, Prague, Czech Republic
I'm a agreeing with a bit of all of you.

To me, like alot of you, this song is all about Daddy. He has a very dull, repetitious life, where everyday, which is dark, noisy and polluted is the same inside his head. He has a s--tty job, a crumbling family, and he seems to show no emotion outside his head. The monster is his growing frustration and depression, and the lake is the dark, subconscious part of his mind which he hasn't shown externally at all yet.

His staring into the distance describes how he now has no sympathy left in him; nothing far ahead or whizzing by him in the car means a bit to him.

By the time he gets home, the monster has finally emerged, and he's going release all his depression and frustration, unfortunately against his family.
- Donald, Mukilteo, WA
i believe what sting is saying is the way things are now is messed up, but out there in the loch evolution is always bringing something new, hence saying mankind may destroy are selves but there will be something new to take our place.
- tom, chicago, IL
I tell you what would be interesting... Now that the Police are back together, just touring there old songs, but back together no the less, it would be awesome if they made one last album together, and have the song Synchronicity III, telling about the man's pathetic life behind bars after wiping out his entire family way back in the earley 80's.
- Chuck, Houston, TX
I also think that the factory that he works at is not the main point of the song, It's not something coming out of the lake literally, just that he has such a pathetic life that he doesn't even realize his own job dumps polution into the air so bad that people are picketing trying to make a change. There would have been very few jobs at the time that would have put people in worse light, and I think that was why he chose that job for "Daddy" to have
- Jason, Grand Rapidsm, MI
This has always bugged me too, I wish Sting would come forth and just say what he made the song about, but then again I love interpreting songs into my own meanings as well, i think it alows your own mind to shape it to your life. But it's good to see that I am with the majority here, in that I also believe it is about "Daddy" who is snapping as the song ends and heading upstairs to confront his problems. I also think that the many miles away being repeated at the end is Stings way of saying that everyone puts things off like this and says it wont happen to me, (many miles away) when in fact they happen around you and involve you everyday, if you only open your eyes.

Anyway thanks for letting me share my 2 cents.
- Jason, Grand Rapidsm, MI
I would not be suprised at all if the monster in the lake was the mythological Grendel representing the 'shadow,' or dark side of the human pysche. Sting seemed to be influenced strongly by Jungian archetypes in this period. Read the book 'Grendel' by John Gardner. A truly superb book that gives great insight in this direction.
- Robert, Absurdistan, Other
John Emil List
- Charise, San Jose, United States
It could be that the link between the factory worker and the Loch Ness Monster is no more than the absurdity of their existence. The very real circumstances of this guy's everyday life have become utterly ridiculous, and, meanwhile, something equally ridiculous (the idea of the Loch Ness Monster knocking on somebody's door) becomes a very real circumstance. I also look at this song as a statement of empowerment... The guy has no power over his really screwed up life and has become massively desperate. But he can find satisfaction in the fact that he is connected to, (perhaps even the cause of,) a powerful beast rising from the waters. The "many miles away" fade-out is like a menacing taunt, (and I always picture Sting singing it while gazing through his brow and with a smug smirk on his face,) saying that distance is irrelevant and that the factory worker's inner desire for control is actually made manifest, and in a much more threatening way than could be contained by the torments of his life.
- Jonathan, Rochester, NY
I think you have to look at this song in context of the time and album it was written for. Sting was going through a nasty breakup(and thus all the other dark songs on the album). I never really got it till I got older, and had a rather nasty divorce. This song is about male rage, pure and simple. The protagonist is having a complete breakdown as his life crumbles around him. Everything in his life makes it worse for him. The loch mentioned in the song is his subconscious and the something rising from the slime is the murderous side of himself. Basically he as snapped due to the pressures and madness of modern life. He like the 'monster' rising from the lake is going on a murderous spree. Starting with his family that night.
- Christopher, Vancouver, Canada
Looks like some of you are pretty close to the way I see it. The song opens with the insanity that happens every morning in this pathetic man's home - grandmother has lost it and is yelling at no one in particular; rice krispies don't make much noise, though they make a good scapegoat for the increase in volume; mother drones on about her unsatifying life (must attempt suicide for attention occasionally) - and at the end of this first part, Daddy is just staring into space. The "many miles away" is where daddy's head is at... just beginning to finally lose the control he's had until now. In other words, the dark Scottish loch is this Scottish man's dark side which he is beginning to lose control over. The second part illustrates that his work life sucks almost as much as his home life. Pleasant images - he's just another unnoticed cog in an ugly machine in an ugly landscape. He's too cowardly to hit on the secretaries or stand up to his domineering boss. Again, in his dark Scottish mind, something is rising to the surface. In the last part of the song, he's on his way home and it's certainly no joy ride. A fitting end to a typical day in this tortured soul's miserable life. Contestants in a suicidal race... who'll snap first... bet we can guess. "He sees the family home now, looming in the headlights" and the pain of this miserable existance has reached the breaking point. The last line about a shadow on the door, on the cottage by the shore, of a dark Scottish loch refers to HIM. He's gotten out of his car, hasn't bothered to turn off the headlights 'cause he's no longer himself and could care less about anything other than stopping the insanity. The synchronicity refers to the convergence of the two seemingly separate (although most definately the same) themes to the song, that is, the story of this man's life and this tale about something in a far away lake.
- Reckless, Galveston, TX
To clarify my earlier point in reply to Trebor - while the evidence given by Jake, Matt and yourself do indeed substantiate the claim that Sting probably WAS talking about Loch Ness, I think Michael from CA does have a point about the Lochs/lakes. Here's a possible conspiracy theory... There are actually TWO famous Lochs in Scotland. One is, as you correctly point out, Loch Ness (famous, or perhaps infamous, for "Nessie", if "Nessie" really does exist...), and the other is Loch Lomond, one of the northern UK's leading tourist attractions in the summer. The two Lochs are spaced well apart from each other. Interestingly, Loch Lomond, while not infamous for any monsters that may apparently live in it, is actually the more famous of the two around the world. Loch Lomond is located in a lonely, isolated, rural area "many miles away" from the nearest industrial town (Glasgow), and has a famous cottage-turned-hotel (Inchmurrin) on it's shores (the only nearby building apart from a radio station some 10 miles away), while - on the subject of the pollution causing something to rise from the lake many miles away - those many miles from Glasgow to Loch Lomond are connected by the River Clyde. Loch Ness, on the other hand, is located in an urban area (called Drumnadrochit), adjacent to the industrial town of Inverness, in plain open view, with NUMEROUS buildings, not just one mansion, on it's shores... Loch Lomond also has a higher water fatality rate than Loch Ness. If Armen's theory about 'daddy' knocking off his boss and dumping him in a lake IS true, surely it would have made more sense to dump his body in a remote lake such as Loch Lomond rather than Loch Ness, as it would have been far less likely that he would have been seen... So, could it in fact be Loch Lomond that Sting was implying, but due to the lyric about something rising from the lake and the use of the Boleskine mansion in the video, he cleverly twigged that everyone would automatically assume he was referring to Loch Ness? Just a theory, but...
- Dave, Cardiff, Wales
A Police reunion would be very high up on my wish list.Synchronicity II is quite a piece of work musically.
- Mike, Dayton, OH
The thing crawling out of the lake is the product of the father's frustration and anger - his desire to murder. He can't do it in his real life, but his feelings of malevolence have created this monster many miles away. This song always struck me as being about how self-destructive it is to repress your feelings. And sometimes you don't just destroy yourself, but poison the world.
- Dennis, Anchorage, AK
This is about a terrible day in a fathers life, that is synchronizing with a person living near the Loch Ness Monster, and getting killed by it. Dave from Wales, that's because terrible things are happening.
The idea from Jake is possible, too.
- Johnny, Los Angeles, CA
the third sentence should say 'though' not 'thought' i have a terrible time with keys
- Jake, Arlington Heights, IL
After reading Sting's autobiography "Broken Music," I am pretty sure this song is about his family. His mother had affair with Sting's father's co-worker when Sting was about ten. His father found out and thought Sting's parents did not divorce (it was inappropriate for the times) things were never the same around the house. There was continual fighting and Sting's father, although always in love with his wife, never showed signs of affection or happiness. I believe that the "something" crawling out of the lake is representative of the growing tension between Sting's parents and throughout the rest of the family. The song goes on to describe a typical day for Sting's father, but he probably includes some more current issues, i.e. : the picketing, dirty sky, etc. There also seems to be a reference to Roxanne and/or the other prostitutes Sting ran into on his journeys ("The secretaries pout and preen like cheap tarts in a red light street"). That's all I've got for now. I am actually writing a research paper about this song. Happy guessing!
- Jake, Arlington Heights, IL
Trebor - Loch Lomond is equally as well-known as Loch Ness outside Scotland, albeit for different reasons
- Dave, Cardiff, Wales
I agree with Trebor: The dark Scottish Loch is almost certainly Loch Ness, and it is "Nessie" who is rising.
My read was always that, instead of a result of human actions, Nessie was an object of stark contrast -- while we are creating confusion and pain in the world, a creature whose family line (supposedly) dates back thousands of millenia is behaving as it has always done.
- Eric, Cincinnati, OH
If I say "Scottish Loch", how many can you think of? Only one is famous. If the factory is polluting the lake, why is it still many miles away from Daddy when he's at the factory?

Given that Sting was interested in Jung at the time, not only is this an example of synchronicity, but also representative of the unconscious. The part of our mind we are aware of, the conscious, is but the tip of the iceberg. The imagery here is of a "monster" emerging from the depths of the unconcscious/Loch Ness. Something bad is going to happen, but this danger is a psychological one, not an environmental one.

And again, for the 2-3 lines about a factory and picket lines, what is environmental about Grandma screaming at the wall?
Mother chanting?
Rice Krispies?
Being humiliated by one's boss?
Rush hour?
Daddy going bonkers?
- Trebor, Seoul, Korea - South
But then again, I think Sting itentionally left that part of the song vague. So the lake might only be Loch Ness- and the "thing" a nessie- if you want it to be
- Matt, Pawtucket, RI
Boleskine mansion is right next to Loch Ness, which means the "something" must be the Loch Ness monster. Also the water in the loch is almost black, so the "Dark Scottish Lake" description fits perfectly.
- Matt, Pawtucket, RI
To start, you need to look at the title of the song referring to Synchronicity-the coincidental occurrence of events and especially psychic events (as similar thoughts in widely separated persons or a mental image of an unexpected event before it happens) that seem related but are not explained by conventional mechanisms of causality.
In the song, the father feel emasculated at work, his home life is out of control. The lake reference does refer to his place of employment polluting the waters which result in something cmoing out of the water--retribution for carlessness to the enviroment, perhaps. All these events (especially the meeitings with his boss) lead him to snap...something within him is begin to crawl to the surface--evil perhaps. he is a product of his environment at work and it is about to take effect at home. I feel that the song hints at the fact that daddy finally has snapped and is about to murder.
- OM, Los Angeles, CA
it is a great song such great memories from the 80s, always wondered what the mansion was at the end of the video now i know!
- jon-michael, augusta, georgia, GA
What I hear in these words is a guy who has already snapped. He knocked off his boss and dumped him in the dirty scottish loch. He's completely gone postal. The twist is that his boss did not die and crawled out from the lake...
- Armen, Boston, MA
What in the heck is that noise in the beginning? Is it a guitar? To me, it sounds like spacy synthesizers! Oooo Scary!
- Annabelle, Eugene, OR
I think the synchronicity refers to the suburban family man, who is about to lose his mind and embark on a murder spree once he arrives home. Much like the creature arising from the lake, an unspeakable horror is about to be unleashed.
- Arthur, Chicago, IL
I think the idea of 'many miles away etc.' is that seperately from and unbeknowst to the human ratrace mentioned, nature is quietly and ominously plotting its revenge for our abuse and negligence in the form of this creature. A slightly comedic image ie. Godzilla and the like. I love this imagery...very much like a 1960's Hammer Horror or the like.
- Kevin, Tokyo, Japan
The "Many Miles Away..." lyric is absolutely creepy! Other than that, the song seems to have an air of disillusionment about it...
- Dave, Cardiff, Wales
The cottage is a reference to the infamous boleskine mansion, owned first by occultist aleister crowley and bought also by jimmy page of led zep, both sting and jimmy page were very interested in the occult and aleister crowley. The mansion appears on the music video for this song.
- Jason, monterrey, Mexico
"loch" simply means lake. All lakes in Scottland are called "loch this" or "loch that." I see no reason to believe that the "something" is nessy.
- michael, L.A., CA
Just to clarify my reasoning: Although it never mentions the "loch" (lake) is contaminated, both the meaning of the title and the fact that he doesn't think to wonder why people are picketing
lead me to believe that the factory is responsible for polluting the loch, which results in the "something" rising "from the slime."
- michael, L.A., CA
Another industrial ugly morning...

He walks unhindered through the picket lines today, HE DOESN'T THINK TO WONDER WHY.

What do YOU think is rising from the polluted
lake?
- michael, L.A., CA
Synchronicity I isn't really a different _version_ of Synchronicity II. It's a completely different song with different lyrics and a thematic link to Synchronicity II.
- Jessica, Saint Louis, MO
Jeff, the thing from the Dark Scottish Lake is more than likely a reference to the Loch Ness Monster. He's knows 'something somewhere has to break' - the monster being the 'something' and the 'cottage on the shore of a dark Scottish lake' representing the 'somewhere'.
- Phillip, Sydney, Australia
Great Song. But there is some confusion for me. What is with the thing appearing from a dark Scottish lake?
- Jeff, Melbourne, FL
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