Song of the Day #5,279: ‘If I Ever Lose My Faith in You’ – Sting

Thank you, Random iTunes Fairy, for a trip back in time to early 1993, when Sting dropped his fourth solo album, Ten Summoner’s Tales. For my money, this record remains the greatest thing he ever did as a solo artist.

Buoyed by two hit singles, ‘Fields of Gold’ and ‘If I Ever Lose My Faith in You’ (today’s SOTD), the album reached #2 on both the British and U.S. charts and achieved multi-platinum status in multiple countries.

This song, the lead-off track, finds Sting questioning his faith in multiple institutions but holding on to it for a “you” that he leaves undefined. As he put it in the voluminous CD liner notes:

The song is in two distinct parts. The first part is about the things I’ve lost faith in. It’s quite easy to be precise about the things I’ve lost faith in – politics, media, science, technology, the things that everybody has, and yet I along with most other people have a great deal of hope, and a feeling that things will and can get better. So what do we place our faith in I can’t define that as easily as I can define what I don’t believe in anymore. So I haven’t defined it, I’ve just said if I ever lose my faith in you, and “You” could be my producer, it could be faith in God, it could be faith in myself, or it could be faith in romantic love. It could be all of those things, I don’t define it. I think it’s important not to define it, because once you can define something it evaporates. I think it’s important in this day and age when we are dictated to by music television what a particular song is about, that the old ambiguity that songs had can be retained.

He also points out an interesting musical choice he makes in the song’s opening moments:

It starts off with a flattened fifth. A flat five is an interesting chord because it was banned by the church. It’s called a tri-tone, and it was banned by the church – it was the devil’s music. Blues music is based on the tri-tone, and in sacred music from the middle-ages, the Pope banned the tri-tone, the flattened fifth. It’s disconcerting. It puts you ill at ease. So we start that way so that you think it’s been going on for a while, but it hasn’t.

[Verse 1]
You could say I lost my faith in science and progress
You could say I lost my belief in the holy church
You would say I lost my sense of direction
Yes, you could say all of this and worse but

[Chorus]
If I ever lose my faith in you
There’d be nothing left for me to do

[Verse 2]
Some would say I was a lost man in a lost world
You could say I lost my faith in the people on TV
You would say I lost my belief in our politicians
They all seem like game show hosts to me

[Chorus]
If I ever lose my faith in you
There’d be nothing left for me to do

[Bridge]
I could be lost inside their lies without a trace
But every time I close my eyes I see your face

[Verse 3]
I never saw no miracle of science
That didn’t go from a – a blessing to a curse
I never saw no military solution
That didn’t always end up as something worse but
Let me say this first

[Chorus]
If I ever lose my faith in you
(If I ever lose my faith in you)
There’d be nothing left for me to do
(There’d be nothing left for me to do)
If I ever lose my faith
If I ever lose my faith
If I ever lose my faith
If I ever lose my faith
In you

2 thoughts on “Song of the Day #5,279: ‘If I Ever Lose My Faith in You’ – Sting

  1. Peg says:

    I love Sting and this is my favorite album! Nice way to start my day ❤️ it’s so interesting to read about the “flattened fifth”

  2. Dana Gallup says:

    Agreed, Peg! Love to read such specific details about a song, artist and album I have loved for years.

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