How Meandering Quintal Harmonies Give the Song ‘Message In a Bottle’ a Sense of Being Lost at Sea

Doodling music theorist and musician 12tone took a deep dive into the classic song “Message in a Bottle” by The Police. He astutely focuses on the song’s use of quintal harmonies, power chords and the wandering passage the music takes before it find the root (E Major) while noting how this sense of melodic meandering emphasizes the very feeling of being lost at sea.

The story it tells is interesting, but what’s really great is how deeply that story is integrated into the song itself. It uses its chords, its melodies, and every other tool it can in order to perfectly tell the story it’s trying to tell. I was honestly blown away.