Inshallah

Album: 57th and 9th (2016)

Songfacts®:

  • Sting sings here about the refugees arriving in Europe from the war torn Middle East. Speaking with NPR's Michel Martin, he explained:

    "Well, the migrant crisis is something that isn't going to disappear tomorrow. It's driven by warfare in the Middle East. It's driven by poverty in Africa. It may be driven by climate change in the very near future. So it's not going to be something can we can hope to end tomorrow.

    I don't have a political solution, but I feel if there's a solution to it, it has to be grounded in some kind of empathy for those people in those boats. Because we as a species all migrate. We're all migrants. Everyone in this country is a migrant, I'm a migrant, our ancestors were migrants. It's not going to stop, that's what we do."
  • Sting explained why he chose to use the Arab word "Inshallah" as the song's title. "It's a beautiful Arabic word," he said. "Literally it means, 'If it's God's will and then it shall be.' But also implies resignation, it implies humility, it implies hope, it implies courage. And for me, it implies solidarity. I feel for those people."
  • The album title is a reference to the Manhattan street corner Sting crossed every day to get to the studio in Hell's Kitchen where the recordings were done. He explained to John Wilson on BBC Radio 4's Front Row. "It's a two way street so you have to stop and be careful when crossing the road. I would always stop and kind of take stock of my life right now and my whole life and say you know you're a very lucky man."
  • Sting noticed a reoccurring theme of travel and motion in the record's lyrics, most apparent in this song, "Petrol Head" and "Heading South On The Great North Road." "It's about searching and traveling, the road, that pull of the unknown." he said. "On this album, we ended up with something that's energetic and noisy, but also thoughtful."

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