Outlandos D'Amour

The Police

A&M, 1978


REVIEW BY: Michael R. Smith


Though they only released five albums during their tenure, the Police made each one count and stand on its own merits. Their debut, Outlandos D’Amour (French for Outlaws Of Love), contained a unique blend of punk and reggae in equal measure. The opener “Next To You” is the best of the lot, a four on the floor number that firmly establish the band as a new force to be reckoned with. They shift gears completely to a beach setting, with three reggae-tinged tracks that would make Bob Marley proud, “So Lonely,” “Can’t Stand Losing You” and the hit single “Roxanne.” I’ve always struggled to appreciate the latter tune, though its appearance in the film Moulin Rouge made me a fan. Now I gotta admit, it’s got a blistering chorus.

Rap aficionados have always had an affinity for the Police and this album helps to demonstrate why. Primarily a mid-tempo affair without much range, it’s one of those records that has widespread appeal no matter what race or creed you are. It stays in the pocket, safe enough for radio programmers, straightforward enough for classic rock purists, while throwing down the gauntlet with the punk set too (especially on the speedy and raucous high point “Peanuts”). Somehow, lead singer and bassist Sting’s voice manages to be the glue that holds it all together.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Produced by the band, Outlandos is an audacious way for the Police to start their career. This is the way music played on the radio should sound. To this day, whenever one of these songs come on, it’s a moment. Even a lesser known song like “Truth Hits Everybody” deserves a special mention and could’ve been a hit in its own right had it been released as a single. No matter, the Police would continue to burn up the Billboard charts with classic tunes like “Don’t Stand So Close To Me,” “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic” and basically anything from their 1983 swan song masterpiece, Synchronicity. Then came Sting’s solo career, which has also proved to be a smashing success.

Guitarist Andy Summers and drummer Stewart Copeland’s contributions should not be underestimated. Summers’ blow-up doll homage “Be My Girl – Sally” is an amusing and danceable ditty that is not only an unexpected detour, but also a very welcome one. And Copeland’s aforementioned “Peanuts” sets a high water mark from a purely creative standpoint. Sting’s only misstep is the been-there, done-that feel of the final track “Masoko Tanga.” The Police must’ve not thought much of it either, since it’s the only song on this album that’s never been performed live. What makes it something of a filler track is the fact that it’s in the same vein as the other reggae tunes. Personally, if you hear one reggae song from the Police, you’ve heard them all.

Had they deviated from the reggae thing a bit more, Outlandos D’Amour would’ve gotten a higher rating. A jazz number would have been a breath of fresh air, but something like that would have to wait until Sting went solo. This one was clearly designed for the college kids and pot smokers. Then again, citizens of Colorado and Washington probably already knew that.

Rating: B+

User Rating: A-



© 2014 Michael R. Smith 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.