The Police

A&M, 1983

REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray


Set aside how many copies this one sold or the three huge hit singles and what, really, are you left with? The last gasp of a band that was clearly sick of each other and ready to move on.

Granted, "Every Breath You Take" is a wonderful piece of pop, a darkly evocative tale of passionate stalker love, and it's not even the best song here; that honor belongs to "Synchronicity II," another dark story of the mendacity of daily life and one man's desire to break free from the monotony. The song careens from the somewhat upbeat verses to the dark pre-chorus and then finally the chorus itself, which talks about monsters in a Scottish loch, which somehow relates to the story, I guess. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Those two songs pretty much mark guitarist Andy Summer's presence on the album. For much of the music, Summers is reduced to a background role, only contributing fills as needed, and this is what sinks the release. The Police worked best as an equal trio, which they no longer were by 1983, judging by the sound of this very serious music.

Drummer Stewart Copeland gets in some good work, especially on "Synchronicity I," a short pop piece defining the concept of synchronicity, a theme that is ignored for the rest of the album. His hand drums on "Walking In Your Footsteps" are solid, though the song is ruined by the lack of guitar and the silly lyrics.

The first half is marred by the subpar album tracks "Miss Gradenko," the awful "Mother" (do not listen to it, ever) and "O My God." The second side has all the slow songs, including the funeral-pace of "King of Pain" (featuring some of Sting's most cloying, self-interested lyrics) and the forgettable "Tea in the Sahara."

However, the closing "Murder By Numbers" deserves a listen thanks to offbeat lyrics, an off-kilter time signature and some truly off guitar fills by Summers. It's definitely a Police song on the surface but reveals layers with each successive listen. If you make it to the end of the disc, you're in for a treat.

This disc would catapult The Police into the stratosphere and would be their last studio release, as infighting and ego finally destroyed the band. Synchronicity works well as a swan song, but it's not much fun, and with the absence of Summers and a treble-heavy production keep it from being a classic. 

Rating: B-

User Rating: B+


© 2004 Benjamin Ray and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of A&M, and is used for informational purposes only.