The Police

Wrapped Around Your Finger

Composed by Sting

Song Review by

A complex take on power dynamics in relationships, "Wrapped Around Your Finger" became the third Top Ten hit from the Police's Synchronicity album in early 1984. The song was full of subtle reggae syncopations, from the light synth backing to the way Sting's voice attacked new words mostly on the offbeat, and this rhythmic emphasis perked up what might have turned out a straight-ahead ballad. The psychodrama played out in the lyrics commands equal attention, revolving around an older and/or more experienced woman selecting a naïve, easily dominated male partner (from whose point of view the song is sung), whom she can wrap around her finger. Things backfire when, through careful observation, he learns her tactics of manipulation and uses them against her. By the end of the song, he's gloating about the day, "you will find your servant is your master," and the final chorus has been changed to: "you'll be wrapped around my finger." There's a self-consciously intellectual coldness to some of Sting's lyrics (take the opening couplet: "You consider me the young apprentice/Caught between the Scylla and Charybdis"), but what some might consider pompous actually works for this song, since it fleshes out the singer/character's cerebral detachment into a consistent personality trait. That makes the turnabout at the end of the song seem entirely plausible, as though the singer has been calculating it the whole time. With its explicit lust for power, "Wrapped Around Your Finger" makes an excellent, more overtly dark companion piece to the stalking-themed "Every Breath You Take," and the complexity of its jumpy rhythms mirrors that of its emotional psychology.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Synchronicity 1983 A&M / Interscope 5:14
Synchronicity [Video] 1983 A&M / A&M Video
Every Breath You Take: The Singles 1986 A&M 5:13
Message in a Box: The Complete Recordings 1993 A&M / Interscope / Polydor / Universal 5:14
Live! 1995 Universal 5:22
Every Breath You Take: The Classics 1995 Universal 5:14
Greatest Hits 1998 Polydor / A&M / Interscope 5:14
Every Breath You Take: The DVD 2003 A & M Records / A&M
Every Breath You Take/Live in Atlanta [Bonus DVD] 2004 Universal International 5:21
Synchronicity Concert 2005 A&M
Greatest Video Hits 2007 Immortal
The Police 2007 Polystar (Japan) 5:14
Certifiable [Video] 2008 A&M / Polydor
DTS Tecnology: Multichannel Music Compact Disc Sampler
Various Artists
DTS Entertainment
Music Legend: The Police Rock Legend
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