In this song, which has the longest title of any Police track, Sting and his bandmates observe the declining state of the world. Sting wrote the song.
In an online poll of 2,000 music fans to find the most commonly misheard pop lyrics, a line from this song came top of the list. The offending lyric is: "You make the best of what's still around." Fans regularly mishear it as: "You make the best homemade stew around."
A re-mixed version, which originally appeared as an illegal bootleg, was picked up by the Pagan record label and released as a single under the moniker "Different Gear Vs The Police." It reached #28 in the UK singles chart and featured in the 2000 film Red Planet. Different Gear are an Anglo Italian production duo made up of Nigel Gray and Luigi Scaetti.
"I swear I had my tongue firmly in my cheek when I composed this misanthropic, postapocalyptic vision," Sting wrote in Lyrics By Sting. "I imagined a solitary future eking out my days with canned food, a VCR, and old tapes of James Brown and Otis Redding. How many of us have these Robinson Crusoe fantasies of surviving some sort of holocaust? Whereas our survival can only be a collective effort."
The second line references "James Brown on The T.A.M.I. Show." The T.A.M.I. Show was a 1964 concert film that featured performances by popular acts like James Brown, Marvin Gaye, The Rolling Stones, The Beach Boys and The Supremes, among others. The acronym stands for "Teenage Awards Music International" or "Teen Age Music International."
The video, directed by Derek Burbidge, was shot at Sugarloaf Mountain in Rio de Janeiro. In their early years, they favored exotic outdoor locations for their videos.