Advertisements

Message in a Bottle Lyrics and Meaning – Sting and the Police

 Message in a Bottle Lyrics and Discussion of Song Meaning

Surely, the most famous message in a bottle lyrics and song come from Sting and the Police.

Message in a Bottle Lyrics: Sting and the Police

Concert with “The Police” at Madison Square Garden, New York 2007. Photo: Wikipedia user: Lionel Urman.

Did you know that Sting owns a winery in Italy that produces a line of wines called “Message in a Bottle“? Well, now you do! Moving on…

“Message in a Bottle” seems to be set on an island where a castaway lives alone. But we never know for certain if the setting is a real island, or if the character is an actual castaway. Of course, that, right there, is the genius of the story in this song: it works on multiple levels. Check out the lyrics here, and then read the discussion afterward for further analysis and thoughts on the meaning of the song.

Message in a Bottle Lyrics / Sting and the Police

Just a castaway, an island lost at sea
Another lonely day with no one here but me
More loneliness than any man could bear
Rescue me before I fall into despair

I’ll send an SOS to the world
I’ll send an SOS to the world
I hope that someone gets my
I hope that someone gets my
I hope that someone gets my
Message in a bottle
Message in a bottle

A year has passed since I wrote my note
But I should have known this right from the start
Only hope can keep me together
Love can mend your life
But love can break your heart

I’ll send an SOS to the world
I’ll send an SOS to the world
I hope that someone gets my
I hope that someone gets my
I hope that someone gets my
Message in a bottle
Message in a bottle
Message in a bottle
Message in a bottle

Walked out this morning, don’t believe what I saw
A hundred billion bottles washed up on the shore
Seems I’m not alone at being alone
A hundred billion castaways looking for a home

I’ll send an SOS to the world
I’ll send an SOS to the world
I hope that someone gets my
I hope that someone gets my
I hope that someone gets my
Message in a bottle
Message in a bottle
Message in a bottle
Message in a bottle

Sending out an SOS

Message in a Bottle Lyrics / Meaning

Hopefully, none of us has ever been an actual castaway–I mean, a survivor of a shipwreck washed up on a desolate shore. But we all understand feelings of loneliness, isolation. That’s why the desolate island image works: when we are very lonely, we feel so cut off, so distant, that we can look around and see an empty world–an uninhabited island where we are doomed to shout into the void, like Tom Hanks’s character in Castaway.

Of course, it is worth noting that the video for “Message in a Bottle” is set mainly in a  city–not a deserted island. Well, haven’t we all walked through throngs of people in large cities, surrounded by people yet feeling cut off from them? Haven’t we all wondered: Are they as lonely as I am?

And, many of us, when we feel lonely, look for ways to reach out, to connect with someone, anyone. And that is where the message in a bottle comes into play for Sting’s character. In this song, the biggest revelation comes when the central character discovers “a hundred billion bottles washed up on the shore”. He takes this as evidence that many people feel lonely and cut off, and that he is “not alone at being alone”. But it leaves us to wonder: why is everyone so alone? Is it in our very nature? An unavoidable part of being human? Or is it something new–is the suggestion that people today are somehow more alone, lonely, and cut off from each other than ever before?

Like any great song, Sting’s “Message in a Bottle” leaves the listener to ponder these questions instead of giving us an easy answer. But one thing is certain: The message in a bottle in this song represents an ardent desire for connection in a lonely, isolating world (see “Why Send a Message in a Bottle?” for more on this).

We are each a castaway on an island alone, looking desperately across the water, hoping to connect meaningfully with our fellow humans before we lose our damn minds. A message in a bottle might just be our only hope.

Bonus Message in a Bottle Video!

Before you leave, here is my favorite solo performance by Sting, where the Message in a Bottle lyrics are signed by a school for deaf children and adults. It’s just awesome.

Advertisements
Advertisements