Song of the Day #2,998: ‘They Dance Alone (Gueca Solo)’ – Sting

nothing_like_the_sunIf a prosecutor had to try Sting for pretentiousness, Exhibit A would of course be his lute album.

But Exhibit B may well be ‘They Dance Alone (Gueca Solo),’ from the 1987 album …Nothing Like the Sun. Start with the fact that the album on which it appears is named for a Shakespeare sonnet, then cite its length (seven minutes, 10 seconds), mention that it contains the phrase “Hey Mr. Pinochet” and finally point to the spoken-word interlude. The Spanish-language spoken-word interlude.

The defense would shrug, rest her case and try to make an early movie.

All that said, I find this song rather beautiful. Despite my general disdain for overtly political songs (especially ones that name-check dictators), I have to say this one works.

Maybe it’s the undeniably sad plight of the “mothers of the disappeared” about whom Sting is singing, but it’s probably just the music. Both Eric Clapton and Mark Knopfler perform on this song, so that’s a lot of firepower. And the spoken-word section is by Ruben Blades — hard to argue with that.

I rank …Nothing Like the Sun as Sting’s best solo album, or maybe second to Ten Summoner’s Tales, both despite and because of this song.

Why are these women here dancing on their own?
Why is there this sadness in their eyes?
Why are the soldiers here
Their faces fixed like stone?
I can’t see what it is that they despise
They’re dancing with the missing
They’re dancing with the dead
They dance with the invisible ones
Their anguish is unsaid
They’re dancing with their fathers
They’re dancing with their sons
They’re dancing with their husbands
They dance alone, they dance alone

It’s the only form of protest they’re allowed
I’ve seen their silent faces they scream so loud
If they were to speak these words they’d go missing too
Another woman on the torture table what else can they do
They’re dancing with the missing
They’re dancing with the dead
They dance with the invisible ones
Their anguish is unsaid
They’re dancing with their fathers
They’re dancing with their sons
They’re dancing with their husbands
They dance alone, they dance alone

One day we’ll dance on their graves
One day we’ll sing our freedom
One day we’ll laugh in our joy
And we’ll dance
One day we’ll dance on their graves
One day we’ll sing our freedom
One day we’ll laugh in our joy
And we’ll dance

Ellas danzan con los desaparecidos
Ellas danzan con los muertos
Ellas danzan con amores invisibles
Ellas danzan con silenciosa angustia
Danzan con sus padres
Danzan con sus hijos
Danzan con sus esposos
Ellas danzan solas
Danzan solas

Hey Mr. Pinochet
You’ve sown a bitter crop
It’s foreign money that supports you
One day the money’s going to stop
No wages for your torturers
No budget for your guns
Can you think of your own mother
Dancin’ with her invisible son
They’re dancing with the missing
They’re dancing with the dead
They dance with the invisible ones
Their anguish is unsaid
They’re dancing with their fathers
They’re dancing with their sons
They’re dancing with their husbands
They dance alone, they dance alone

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2 thoughts on “Song of the Day #2,998: ‘They Dance Alone (Gueca Solo)’ – Sting

  1. Dana says:

    As Sting’s defense attorney, I would simply argue that when a song works, it just works. And this song, and album as a whole, works in spades.

  2. Peg says:

    I love Sting and this is a beautiful song

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