RS #448: The Police, Synchronicity


The Police, Synchronicity

Release Date: 1983
Previously Owned: Yes (on tape, CD, vinyl)

The Police, Synchronicity
I guess “Synchronicity” involves all three band members wanting to punch each other out equally.

Impressions: Synchronicity is one of the first truly great albums I got my hands on as a youth. After floundering around with Huey Lewis and the News, the “Arthur” Soundtrack and Hooked on Classics, a friend of mine gave me a tape of this album (along with Michael Jackson’s Thriller on the B Side) and I wore it out. I even started fast forwarding through Thriller, just to get to Synchronicity. Let’s put it on again, for the millionth time… The record kicks in to gear with the fleet keyboard-driven sounds of “Synchronicity I” featuring Sting in his maximum pretension mode with allusions to psychiatry, poetry, the collective unconscious, etc. The ’80s wasn’t the best decade for percussion, but Stewart Copeland was a monster drummer who could handle any texture these songs needed. The spooky sounds of “Walking In Your Footsteps” and  “O My God” are strong deep cuts and it’s strange they placed them so early in the album. In fact, the whole first half of the album is full of weird, almost B-Side material– including two throwaway non-Sting songs (Andy Summers’ terrible “Mother” and Copeland’s lightweight, but not as terrible “Miss Gradenko.”) “Mother,” with Summer’s Oedipal shouting, could be one of the worst songs ever on a great album. No wonder Sting bailed on the group. But, then the second part of the album kicks in with an incredible rush of singles: “Synchronicity II,” “Every Breath You Take,” “King Of Pain” and “Wrapped Around Your Finger.”  These catchy tunes have slick, menacing surfaces that hide dark sentiments underneath. Overall, the whole album is energetically played, weird, pretentious, tense and sophisticated…all at the same time, and are so strong, you forget about whatever self-indulgence preceded these tracks.
Starred Songs: “Synchronicity II” and yeah “Every Breath You Take,” “King Of Pain,” “Wrapped Around Your Finger,” sure sure…
Sneaky Tracks: “Synchronicity I,” “Murder by Numbers”
Should this album be on the list? Yes
Will you listen to this again? Yes.Verdict: Even with a few clunkers, this classic ’80s powerhouse rock album is full of great singles, a dark undercurrent and sophisticated performances.
Rating:  ★★★★