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The Police


jimmyjazz

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For various and mostly unknown reasons, The Police rarely seem to make it into the "iconic bands of rock" discussions, which makes no sense to me.  No band ever sounded like The Police.  Who could?  Their lineup was ridiculously unique.

-- I firmly believe Sting meets the "genius" standard.  A terrific bass player, an A-level, prolific songwriter, and a vocalist with a style that very few could ever emulate, and certainly none could match in terms of the melodies he creates and how they suit his instrument.  Sure, he's a giant asshole . . . most people who operate in that rare air are.  He certainly suffers no fools.

-- Stewart Copeland is one of the most confounding drummers I have ever heard.  He drives Sting nuts, which is a big plus in my book.  He's a spaz.  He's super busy, his tempo lurches about, and he doesn't seem to understand much about traditional rock drumming.  He also has an instantly identifiable sound, with a massive backbeat on the snare, insane work on hihat and the rest of his cymbals, and a very singular approach to the kick drum.  Some say his upbringing in Beirut influenced his ear, and I wouldn't doubt it.  He'll often play the kick on 2 and 4, which surely drives Sting mad.  Again, this a good thing.  He almost seems to play to the bass instead of the other way around, not all that different from Keith Moon, although stylistically in another universe.

-- Andy Summers is one of the great prog/new wave guitarists of all time.  He uses a ton of effects but you wouldn't really know it unless you listened for it.  He has a jazz background; indeed, he has a music degree emphasizing classical guitar and composition from Cal State Northridge.  His parts are the glue that hold Sting and Copeland together.  I tend to think the same about his personality.

 

This clip is a behind-the scenes look at the madness as The Police rehearsed for months to prepare for a 2007 reunion tour.  The tension and relief between Sting and Copeland is palpable.  Sometimes I get the feeling Copeland is "spectral", if you know what I mean.  He certainly has a unique way of dealing with Sting.  Of course, the opposite is true, too, but more measured and asshole-ish.

The Police

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I'm left to conclude that Sumner's (I prefer to call him by his name) eccentric and self-indulgent post-Police career has kind of tainted them.

I think it's pretty well known that Copeland's brother, Miles, founded IRS Records.

It's somewhat less well known that father Miles was a very, uh, peripatetic CIA agent deeply involved in postwar US shenanigans in the Middle East for several decades.

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Great video.  Hilarious in spots.

Sumner trying to "Sting" up the vocals on a lot of old songs is kind of, just, well, Sting. 

On  The Firm comparison, fair, but, there wasn't really an "interregnum" between The Police and Sting the solo artist and no other "superstars" to dliute the Stinginess of Sting as Rodgers diluted Page in The Firm. 

As we oldsters kind of know, Sting immediately picked up where The Police "left off" and achieved greater fame in pretty short order to the point that he overshadowed The Police, while becoming increasingly self-indulgent.  I might guess that there's a pretty big chunk of people about a decade younger than us that are quite familiar with Sting and only know of The Police through maybe Roxanne.

One of my great regrets in concert-going is missing The Police at McFarlin Auditorium at SMU in 1980.

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I dig The Police quite a bit.  Have all their studio albums.  Picked up the box set a couple years ago when I saw it super cheap in the "used" CDs section of a store.  

But even though I like their music, there were always other bands that I liked just a little more for whatever reason.  Maybe it was oversaturation of their songs on the radio and on MTV in the 1980's.  Maybe it was Sting's arrogance.  I also think there's something to TwiceHorn's observation that Sting's solo career turned off some hardcore fans, even though it may be somewhat illogical as JJ notes.  

Even though Sting can be a grade-A douchebag, the man was literate, witty, and could write really good songs.  For me, their sound was premised largely on Copeland -- he sounds like no other drummer.  His polyrhythms, use of cymbals in inventive ways (at least as far as RnR was concerned), and the African/Middle Eastern elements that he incorporated into his playing made him sound like nobody else.  Summers was the glue who kind of held it together, at least for a while.  

Like TwiceHorn and JJ, one of my big regrets is never seeing them live.  If I'd been smarter, I could have caught them on tour with the English Beat and Oingo Boingo in the early 80's.  Missing that show was a mistake.

 

Edited by Carl Spackler
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2 minutes ago, Carl Spackler said:

Like TwiceHorn and JJ, one of my big regrets is never seeing them live.  If I'd been smarter, I could have caught them on tour with the English Beat and Oingo Boingo in the early 80's.  Missing that show was a mistake.

 

Wwoooowzer.  I think that would have made my head explode.  Although I came to my appreciation of The Beat and Oingo a bit later than The Police.

Also agreed that a lot of post-Zenyatta Mondatta stuff got pretty overplayed.  It was also more "Sting-y" and less "Stewart-y."  With a few exceptions, I didn't like it as much. 

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I like The Police, a lot.  Always have.  Saw them once at Southpark Meadows (Synchronicity Tourr) with a giant full moon behind the stage which was such a perfect natual backdrop for "Walking on the Moon".

That said, this about Sting - 

Quote

A-level, prolific songwriter

From a catchy, radio-listenable kinda way?  Yeah, definitely.  But much of his writing is nonsensical to childish.  I don't need to go through the lyrics, you know them.  Mosly just a bunch of high fructose, low nutrient stuff arranged in some quirky ways that appeal to the ear for 3 and a half minutes.

Not sharp shooting you here, it just got me thinking.  After I thought that I looked back at the quote "A-level, prolific songwriter" and realized you worded that very well.

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50 minutes ago, Cajun said:

I like The Police, a lot.  Always have.  Saw them once at Southpark Meadows (Synchronicity Tourr) with a giant full moon behind the stage which was such a perfect natual backdrop for "Walking on the Moon".

That said, this about Sting - 

From a catchy, radio-listenable kinda way?  Yeah, definitely.  But much of his writing is nonsensical to childish.  I don't need to go through the lyrics, you know them.  Mosly just a bunch of high fructose, low nutrient stuff arranged in some quirky ways that appeal to the ear for 3 and a half minutes.

Not sharp shooting you here, it just got me thinking.  After I thought that I looked back at the quote "A-level, prolific songwriter" and realized you worded that very well.

Ever since I read somewhere that Sumner fancies himself some Tantric sex god, I can't help but hear a lot of his post-Police lyrics as some kind of weird, Zen, eastern meditation goofy shit that he writes with a boner. There's even a scene in that video jimmy posted where he's sitting cross-legged like some kind of yogi guru, and I'm like "dammit Gordon, you're an Englishman for fucks sake."

His Police lyrics were a lot more sane and pretty fun.

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Well, I think there are dozens of Police tunes that feature really, really good lyrics.  

Canary In A Coalmine

De Do Do Do (yep)

Roxanne

Don't Stand So Close To Me

Walking On The Moon

Synchronicity

Driven To Tears

When The World Is Running Down

(I could go on and on)

 

"Zenyatta Mondatta" is definitely my fave album.  It was their zenith between early slightly-punk/reggae/whatever and post-Police Sting-does-John-Tesh ear candy.  Kinda like Rush peaking at "Moving Pictures".

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1 hour ago, TwiceHorn said:

Ever since I read somewhere that Sumner fancies himself some Tantric sex god, I can't help but hear a lot of his post-Police lyrics as some kind of weird, Zen, eastern meditation goofy shit that he writes with a boner. There's even a scene in that video jimmy posted where he's sitting cross-legged like some kind of yogi guru, and I'm like "dammit Gordon, you're an Englishman for fucks sake."

His Police lyrics were a lot more sane and pretty fun.

Yeah, Sting thinks he's a LOT deeper than he actually is.

Got that stink all over him.  The Tantric stuff just gives me the creeps.  Reminds me of a spikey haired, skinnier version of that muscled up sex therapist with the exotic accent in Couple's Retreat.  

Still like his tunes and he was pretty good in Dune too.

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Stewart Copeland was my favorite from the band for sure.  I have never heard another drummer with his sound to this day.

I remember when the movie Rumble Fish came out and did absolutely nothing.  Just kinda laid there like, well, a fish.

This tune from the movie, I still remember.  Not a very good song, but I still listened to it over and over back in HS just to hear SC doing his thing.  Even with that it's hard to shake the "I wish I was in Ti Ja Juanaaaaaa" out of my head while listening --

 

Edited by Cajun
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2 hours ago, Cajun said:

I like The Police, a lot.  Always have.  Saw them once at Southpark Meadows (Synchronicity Tourr) with a giant full moon behind the stage which was such a perfect natual backdrop for "Walking on the Moon".

That said, this about Sting - 

From a catchy, radio-listenable kinda way?  Yeah, definitely.  But much of his writing is nonsensical to childish.  I don't need to go through the lyrics, you know them.  Mosly just a bunch of high fructose, low nutrient stuff arranged in some quirky ways that appeal to the ear for 3 and a half minutes.

Not sharp shooting you here, it just got me thinking.  After I thought that I looked back at the quote "A-level, prolific songwriter" and realized you worded that very well.

I was at that South Park Meadows show. By the stage. Couldn't hear shit for a day or so afterwards. 

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1 hour ago, Cajun said:

Stewart Copeland was my favorite from the band for sure.  I have never heard another drummer with his sound to this day.

I remember when the movie Rumble Fish came out and did absolutely nothing.  Just kinda laid there like, well, a fish.

This tune from the movie, I still remember.  Not a very good song, but I still listened to it over and over back in HS just to hear SC doing his thing.  Even with that it's hard to shake the "I wish I was in Ti Ja Juanaaaaaa" out of my head while listening --

 

Eating barbecued iguana.

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TOTALLY agree on all points.  And they got out without releasing a bad album.  (To me, Ghost in the Machine is my least favorite, by a LARGE margin.)

In one of those early documentaries, Stewart has tape across the rides.  The read, left to right, Fuck Off You Cunt.

The scene where Stewart and Sting go into the dressing room and start slamming doors and yelling at each other.... the last part is AND SHUT THE FUCKING DOOR!.   Andy calmly looks in to the camera and says, "and shut the fucking door".  

Every documentary I've watched on the Police, I come out believing Andy was the only one you could stand to be around.  Seems like such a cool dude and his guitar knowledge is out of this universe.  

 

 

 

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19 hours ago, Cajun said:

Stewart Copeland was my favorite from the band for sure.  I have never heard another drummer with his sound to this day.

I remember when the movie Rumble Fish came out and did absolutely nothing.  Just kinda laid there like, well, a fish.

This tune from the movie, I still remember.  Not a very good song, but I still listened to it over and over back in HS just to hear SC doing his thing.  Even with that it's hard to shake the "I wish I was in Ti Ja Juanaaaaaa" out of my head while listening --

 

I LOVED this.  Was a huge Stan Ridgeway fan and those first two Ridgeway albums were fantastic.  They put this on an IRS Sampler that came out a long time before the movie.  

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22 hours ago, TwiceHorn said:

I'm left to conclude that Sumner's (I prefer to call him by his name) eccentric and self-indulgent post-Police career has kind of tainted them.

I think it's pretty well known that Copeland's brother, Miles, founded IRS Records.

It's somewhat less well known that father Miles was a very, uh, peripatetic CIA agent deeply involved in postwar US shenanigans in the Middle East for several decades.

And Ian former FBI (Frontier Booking International).  Loved that.  

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I love The Police. Outlandos is my favorite album and I think their best - even though it didn't break the mold as much as Regatta, which I'd say was their crowning achievement and biggest contribution to music. I'd be interested to know how much, if any, went back and forth between Outlandos and The Cars (1978 - self titled) or if they were completely independent projects that arrived at a similar place as there are some striking similarities between them - especially in the choruses. Not that that's a knock, I think the Cars are pretty underrated and that's a fantastic album. 

Message in a Bottle is probably my favorite Police song. I agree about GITM - without relistening I'd hesitantly say I can do without the entire album (Every Little Thing is consequently their weakest hit for me). Synchronicity II probably cracks my top 5 Police tracks and Every Breath You Take is a classic regardless of how played out it is. They didn't miss much.

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20 hours ago, jimmyjazz said:

Well, I think there are dozens of Police tunes that feature really, really good lyrics.  

Canary In A Coalmine

De Do Do Do (yep)

Roxanne

Don't Stand So Close To Me

Walking On The Moon

Synchronicity

Driven To Tears

When The World Is Running Down

(I could go on and on)

 

"Zenyatta Mondatta" is definitely my fave album.  It was their zenith between early slightly-punk/reggae/whatever and post-Police Sting-does-John-Tesh ear candy.  Kinda like Rush peaking at "Moving Pictures".

Totally agree with "Zenyatta."  Such a good album.

On Rush, "Signals" was great too.

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I've never been a big fan.  I think my generation in general (people born in the 80's) were oversaturated with the music early on.  I recognize their individual talent, but other than Roxanne, there aren't many Police songs I really enjoy.  Sting is just so grating of a person to me that I never felt much interest in really digging into their music beyond the inescapable hits.

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Hard for me to choose between their first three albums, but gun to head I would probably choose Reggatta.  I think Zenyatta may be a more solid album from track 1 to finish, but the highs of Reggatta (Walking on the Moon, Message in a Bottle, Bring on the Night) are some of my favorites, so I tend to lean toward it.  Outlandos is terrific, but the songwriting definitely went up a couple notches on Reggatta and Zenyatta.  I agree that Ghost is probably their weakest album, but even that record is really good -- Every Little Thing, Invisible Sun, Demolition Man, etc.  If your weakest album has those tracks, that's saying something.  Synchronicity is really good, but it just got played to death so a lot of people (me included) got sick of it.

If you like Stewart Copeland's tracks on Police albums, check out his first solo album (under the pseudonym Klark Kent).  The songs are slight but fun.

  

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Great band.

Their records definitely have a trajectory from loud, 3-piece punk rock (I love "Truth Hits Everybody") to highly produced pop. 

I don't know why Sting feels the need to constantly tell Stewart Copeland - undoubtedly the best instrumentalist in the band - how to play his instrument.  

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So I know exactly where I was when I heard my first Police song.  I was on an American Airlines plane going on an early family vacation.  It had that set of rubber headphones you could plug into a chair - which I thought was he coolest thing ever - and "Wrapped Around Your Finger" was playing.  Who are these guys quoting greek mythology(??!?) - which my nerdy elementary school self was waaaay into.  I was hooked.  But Sting went too jazzy for me solo, at a time when I was pure into cawk rawk.  Plus his eye-roll inducing "aren't I the greatest" interviews really turned me off.  So instead of becoming a Sting fan, I dug into the Police catalogue further.  

Flash forward to the reunion tour.  Saw them play at the Fair Park Amphitheater for free.  One of my Dad's acquaintances had really good seats - within the first 20 rows - and gave them to me because he couldn't go.  Then I saw them on the same tour at AA Center.  We had nosebleeds, but managed to make it down to pretty low in the first circle.  Both great shows. 

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41 minutes ago, Paul Wesley said:

I don't know why Sting feels the need to constantly tell Stewart Copeland - undoubtedly the best instrumentalist in the band - how to play his instrument.  

I actually think that might be Andy Summers.

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58 minutes ago, jimmyjazz said:

Wow . . . I love the Carey/Claypool/Copeland/Peart clip.  Looks like they had a grand old time putting that together.  Is that Carey playing all the brass and wind instruments?  He's the drummer for Tool, right?

Yes.

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So I relistened to all 5 today in order of release and jotted some notes down for each. I'll save this thread the wall of text and spoiler it.

I highly recommend. A lot of stuff I already knew/my notions were confirmed, but some new stuff jumped out at me and there were some tracks I had forgotten about. If we're ranking, because we always have to rank everything, I'd list them best to worst the same as their order of release, only swapping Ghosts In The Machine and Synchronicity.

Spoiler

Outlandos - I still think front to back, as a cohesive project, this is their best album. The energy and rhythm and pacing is great - it's the most guitar-forward of any of their albums. Even though they don't seem to set themselves apart from their contemporaries as much as on later records the groundwork for being The Police is still present - notably the reggae influence which is there from the second track. I'm not sure there's a bad song. Born in the 50s is a little cheesy, Masoko Tanga is kind of messy, Peanuts isn't super noteworthy, but outside of that they are all extremely repayable home runs. 

Reggatta - If you can forgive some of the back half, the high points here serve as a very good argument for this being their best album. The opening four songs are pretty much unfiltered genius. Even It's Alright For You shines as a great little stopgap between Reggatta De Blanc and Bring On The Night. I'll stand by my take upthread that Message in a Bottle is the best track they ever made. Reggatta is a phenomenal little jam that really no one else could have recorded in 1979. The opening of Bring On The Night is kind of mind-blowing when you think about the landscape of music at the time. That sound just wasn't a thing. I'd put that opening 15 minutes against any album ever made. And then Walking on The Moon is 2 tracks later. On Any Other Day always gives me a kick. Unfortunately I think the back-end drags a bit and nothing really shines through. 

Zenyatta - I can totally see why this is the favorite of some of you on relistening. Their sound is fully refined at this point. Everything sounds effortless and is beautifully recorded and mastered. They push some more effects on guitar that they began to experiment with on Reggatta and all of it works. The bass is heavy and allowed to star a bit more - producing some ass-shaking worthy moments (see When The World). This is probably Sting's peak lyrically and vocally. I think I have the same hangup as I do with Reggatta, in that it seems to lose some steam towards the end - like they frontloaded all of their best ideas - but also like Reggatta, their best ideas are incredible and it results in a great fucking album. 

Ghosts - Yeesh. Again, my initial take upthread is what I'll stick with. I'm sure some folks have Every Little Thing being the redeeming factor here but Christ, I'm not sure I even like that song that much (although the outro jam with the high notes on the keys is probably the best part of the entire album). I might like Spirits In The Material World as the best track on this one. Most of it is just boring and uninspired and kind of sounds like they didn't really give a fuck at this point. The saxophone they repeatedly throw in there is... bad. Ironically I think it's a bit better towards the back end with the last few tracks being more listenable than some of what's in the middle.

Synchronicity - The 80s got the best of them a little bit. Or maybe The Wall got the best of everyone. I think at times it's a little difficult to sus out what exactly they were going for on this one. It does feature their biggest song ever, for better or for worse. And I really, really love Synchronicity II. It's one of the coolest intros ever and a certified ear-bleeder. I think it's the last great song they made that stayed true to who they were from the beginning and capitalized on that "it" factor that separated them from the pack. Every Breath You Take is a great song but it feels almost as much a product of 1983 and Sting getting ready to do his own thing than The Police as a collective. King of Pain is a great song and a bit of a hidden gem. Wrapped Around Your Finger isn't bad. For the album overall - it's nowhere near as bad as Ghost as the bad parts are at least interesting and the highs are much higher, but it's also a good step below their first 3 records. There are a lot of artists that could have made most of this record in 1983. 
 

 

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I have a buddy that's a PE teacher at the school Copeland sends his kids to.  About ten years ago Copeland hired him to teach his son how to ride a bike.

I found that really odd.  I mean, isn't that supposed to be a rite of passage between father and son?

Ever since whenever I see him being interviewed he strikes me as an asshole.  

 

*Side note* You Police fans should check out Sting's solo "Ten Summoner Tales."  It's excellent, highly recommend.

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Summoner
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Our senior year of HS One of the coaches had an affair with one of our classmates, they were caught and .... Don't stand so close to me was hummed, whistled, and sung whenever she walked by or as kids went by the coaches classroom.  Kids are some cruel mother fuckers.

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Regarding "Ghost In The Machine" -- I was at a Shawn Colvin show at La Zona Rosa (and believe me, local Shawn Colvin shows are rare indeed, she hardly ever plays here), and she told a story about sharing a bill with Sting and being called up to duet on "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic".  Now, I love Shawn, and I always found her not only supremely talented but sexy as hell in a smart, odd way . . . and seeing her literally (literally) get weak in the knees telling that tale was cool.  She's sung with everyone, but singing with Sting was top of the pops for her.  Maybe it's the tantric sex.

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40 minutes ago, jimmyjazz said:

Regarding "Ghost In The Machine" -- I was at a Shawn Colvin show at La Zona Rosa (and believe me, local Shawn Colvin shows are rare indeed, she hardly ever plays here), and she told a story about sharing a bill with Sting and being called up to duet on "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic".  Now, I love Shawn, and I always found her not only supremely talented but sexy as hell in a smart, odd way . . . and seeing her literally (literally) get weak in the knees telling that tale was cool.  She's sung with everyone, but singing with Sting was top of the pops for her.  Maybe it's the tantric sex.

Sumner came home ... with a vengeance?

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I wasn't a BIG fan, but I definitely was not a hater. Never took a deep dive into their discography. So, I am guilty of only having knowledge of the "hits".

My favorite is probably this song and the video that goes with it. Kinda has a "simpler times" vibe to it.

 

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22 hours ago, jimmyjazz said:

If I HAD to pick a favorite (today), it would be this:

 

Yup. This is the one that got stuck on repeat for me after my full run through. It came on and I thought, first "Oh shit I forgot about this one" and second "This is better than I remember".

The guitar riff is so simple. 3 chords. One strum on each - doubling the last. But man that effect is on point.

It's even more simple than I thought. This is what he's playing.

20210311_113124.jpg.212ca4faf6c59f7e7829eeb675df2c20.jpg

Too cool.

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On 3/9/2021 at 6:40 PM, ztejas said:

So I relistened to all 5 today in order of release and jotted some notes down for each. I'll save this thread the wall of text and spoiler it.

I highly recommend. A lot of stuff I already knew/my notions were confirmed, but some new stuff jumped out at me and there were some tracks I had forgotten about. If we're ranking, because we always have to rank everything, I'd list them best to worst the same as their order of release, only swapping Ghosts In The Machine and Synchronicity.

  Reveal hidden contents

Outlandos - I still think front to back, as a cohesive project, this is their best album. The energy and rhythm and pacing is great - it's the most guitar-forward of any of their albums. Even though they don't seem to set themselves apart from their contemporaries as much as on later records the groundwork for being The Police is still present - notably the reggae influence which is there from the second track. I'm not sure there's a bad song. Born in the 50s is a little cheesy, Masoko Tanga is kind of messy, Peanuts isn't super noteworthy, but outside of that they are all extremely repayable home runs. 

Reggatta - If you can forgive some of the back half, the high points here serve as a very good argument for this being their best album. The opening four songs are pretty much unfiltered genius. Even It's Alright For You shines as a great little stopgap between Reggatta De Blanc and Bring On The Night. I'll stand by my take upthread that Message in a Bottle is the best track they ever made. Reggatta is a phenomenal little jam that really no one else could have recorded in 1979. The opening of Bring On The Night is kind of mind-blowing when you think about the landscape of music at the time. That sound just wasn't a thing. I'd put that opening 15 minutes against any album ever made. And then Walking on The Moon is 2 tracks later. On Any Other Day always gives me a kick. Unfortunately I think the back-end drags a bit and nothing really shines through. 

Zenyatta - I can totally see why this is the favorite of some of you on relistening. Their sound is fully refined at this point. Everything sounds effortless and is beautifully recorded and mastered. They push some more effects on guitar that they began to experiment with on Reggatta and all of it works. The bass is heavy and allowed to star a bit more - producing some ass-shaking worthy moments (see When The World). This is probably Sting's peak lyrically and vocally. I think I have the same hangup as I do with Reggatta, in that it seems to lose some steam towards the end - like they frontloaded all of their best ideas - but also like Reggatta, their best ideas are incredible and it results in a great fucking album. 

Ghosts - Yeesh. Again, my initial take upthread is what I'll stick with. I'm sure some folks have Every Little Thing being the redeeming factor here but Christ, I'm not sure I even like that song that much (although the outro jam with the high notes on the keys is probably the best part of the entire album). I might like Spirits In The Material World as the best track on this one. Most of it is just boring and uninspired and kind of sounds like they didn't really give a fuck at this point. The saxophone they repeatedly throw in there is... bad. Ironically I think it's a bit better towards the back end with the last few tracks being more listenable than some of what's in the middle.

Synchronicity - The 80s got the best of them a little bit. Or maybe The Wall got the best of everyone. I think at times it's a little difficult to sus out what exactly they were going for on this one. It does feature their biggest song ever, for better or for worse. And I really, really love Synchronicity II. It's one of the coolest intros ever and a certified ear-bleeder. I think it's the last great song they made that stayed true to who they were from the beginning and capitalized on that "it" factor that separated them from the pack. Every Breath You Take is a great song but it feels almost as much a product of 1983 and Sting getting ready to do his own thing than The Police as a collective. King of Pain is a great song and a bit of a hidden gem. Wrapped Around Your Finger isn't bad. For the album overall - it's nowhere near as bad as Ghost as the bad parts are at least interesting and the highs are much higher, but it's also a good step below their first 3 records. There are a lot of artists that could have made most of this record in 1983. 
 

 

Good review.  I think you might be too hard on the back half of "Regatta," which I would rank as one of their very best album sides - "On Any Other Day" is a throw-away track.  The rest of it is really strong, touches on a lot of different styles, and has all the elements that made them a great band (unexpected rhythms, great vocal takes, arrangements with a lot of space, great textural guitars).

I agree that their first album is probably their best, but every record has a few gems.  They went from energetic guitar-based, 3-piece rock songs recorded on a tiny budget.... all the way to massive-budget, complex arrangements with jazz elements and wide-ranging instrumentation (synths, keys, etc).  "Truth Hits Everybody" is a million sonic miles from "King of Pain," but I think they're both brilliant.

To me, even those last two records were pretty cool, and as a band, they never jumped the shark the same way that Sting's solo records did (too self absorbed, self-important, and dissonant jazz wankery just for the sake of being weird).  Summers and Copeland don't have the songwriting chops or the voice (obviously) like Sting, but Sting definitely needed them to save him from himself.

 

 

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On 3/9/2021 at 11:27 AM, Paul Wesley said:

Great band.

Their records definitely have a trajectory from loud, 3-piece punk rock (I love "Truth Hits Everybody") to highly produced pop. 

I don't know why Sting feels the need to constantly tell Stewart Copeland - undoubtedly the best instrumentalist in the band - how to play his instrument.  

My 2¬Ę:

I agree w/most of this.  I also agree w/you but in a different way - Copeland was the best all around musician in the band.  He did a lot of arranging, composing, and other projects far beyond the drums.  He's scored dozens of film tracks, is well-versed in complex orchestration (classical style) and can pretty much command any form of pop or classical music.  Maybe all that's a "big whoop" but I think he is.  Sumner might be the best songwriter (or not), but Copeland's tight sound was pretty influential in the New Wave reductionist sound which followed.  FWIW IMHO.

My favorite album by far is Ghost.  It's the exact crossing of their finding their footing (which was increasing) vs. still being fresh enough to avoid over-pop (which was declining).  The earlier albums are always listenable and of course have catchy tunes, but Ghost was to me the realization of what they could do as a band - after that it was meh.

I do understand that Ghost is probably their most "love it or hate it" album.  I've seen few albums by a band/artist which are so polarizing.  Truly people love it and think it's a masterpiece (like me) or they think it's representative of them dumping their freshness and/or identity (etc.) and symbolic of the typical "band makes it, starts putting out overproduced crapola" or whatnot.   But I'm a Ghost fan.

Favorite song by far (of the group, not just the album):  Spirits in the Material World.  Amazing.

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On 3/10/2021 at 1:27 PM, yoladu said:

I wasn't a BIG fan, but I definitely was not a hater. Never took a deep dive into their discography. So, I am guilty of only having knowledge of the "hits".

My favorite is probably this song and the video that goes with it. Kinda has a "simpler times" vibe to it.

 

My favorite Police song.

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Great thread. Police were great.

In addition of maybe not getting their due when it comes to listing ‚Äúgreat‚ÄĚ bands, I think people also kind of forget that after Syncronicity came out in ‚Äė83, The Police were arguably the biggest band in the world. ¬†All over MTV and radio,¬†massively popular, playing stadiums, etc. ¬†

They were in ‚Äė83-84¬†what U2 became after The Joshua Tree.

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