Artist – Album: The Police – Outlandos D’Amour
Released: 2nd November 1978
Sounds Like: a Stinging review
What to make of The Police, eh? True, they were consistent deliverers of perky pop-rock and they did pick up a highly impressive five UK no. 1 singles. ‘Every Breath You Take’ is quite rightly considered amongst the greatest songs of all time, although that’s only correct if you view it as a delightfully sinister ode to stalking and not some ill-conceived love song.
On the other hand, it’s all just a little bit naff isn’t it? Their ill-conceived forays into reggae are like those early nineties dalliances with dance music: sounding old waaaaay sooner than it should do, and uniformly rubbish. Initially labelled punks, the band was in truth about as edgy as a balloon. They were about as edgy as I am. And then there’s Sting, rock’s most pretentious frontman this side of Bono (how did people cope in the 80’s??). A poll in US magazine Blender pegged him as the worst lyricist ever, which may be a little harsh but was no doubt aided by the mindless likes of ‘De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da’.
It all started for Sting and Co. with Outlandos D’Amour, which in name alone manages to convey everything that is pompous and wrong about the band. With a song featuring a spoken monologue about a blow up doll (‘Be My Girl – Sally’, it’s true!) and a horrible, experimental, semi-instrumental closing track (‘Masoko Tanga’), it has the potential to be a nightmare. But the main thing about The Police, right, is that if you look beyond the “reggae” and the posturing, there is actually something about them that is both entertaining and endearing, like watching an overly-enthusiastic drunk person dance. ‘So Lonely ‘ is enjoyably raucous, ‘Can’t Stand Losing You’ is great fun if you take the lyrics with a pinch of salt, ‘Truth Hits Everybody’ and ‘Next to You’ have great singalongy choruses and ‘Roxanne’ is hands down the greatest drinking song all time. Roxanne (DRINK!)!
Albumaday... rating: 6/10
1. Next to You – 2:50
2. So Lonely – 4:49
3. Roxanne – 3:12
4. Hole in My Life – 4:52
5. Peanuts – 3:58
6. Can’t Stand Losing You – 2:58
7. Truth Hits Everybody – 2:53
8. Born in the 50’s – 3:40
9. Be My Girl – Sally – 3:22
10. Masoko Tanga – 5:40
Listen to ‘So Lonely’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MX6MvV8cbh8