The Police, Outlandos D’Amour
Impressions: The first concert I ever saw (not counting The Four Freshman in a shopping mall) was Amnesty International’s Conspiracy Of Hope in 1986. It was one of the last shows The Police played before they broke up (for the first time) and I thought they were amazing. That made me a fairly decent Police fan for the rest of my life, even if they would do something stupid in the future like ruin their legacy with a cash-grabbing reunion tour (Ok, I saw them twice.) Here we go…” They came out around the punk era, but only sort of appropriated it as a way to get gigs. Songs like “Next to You” sounds more typically punky (save for the weird Andy Summers side-guitar solo bridge) but they would eventually outgrow that style. “So Lonely” snaps into the now-familiar Police sound with its spare, lean reggae verse/rock chorus and Sting’s high, keening voice. One of my favorites songs of theirs. Even though it’s way overplayed, “Roxanne” still sounds great. It’s mysterious, hypnotic and uses space so well to creat tension. This stuff must have stood out when it was released since it was so spare, yet well-played compared to lots of punk rock being played. Deceptively simple. I’d probably be pissed if in 1978 I was a punk rocker (or maybe a reggae artist) watching a bunch of jazz/prog guys come along and steal my shit, and, in some cases, do it much better. “Can’t Stand Using You” is a classic, perfect pop song about losing a girl and has a killer arrangement. Police albums are usually kind of lopsided with the hits being so strong and a few other songs acting as filler, but the lesser known “Born In The ’50s” and “Peanuts” are still pretty rocking. There’s an excitement hearing Sting, Stewart Copeland, and Andy Summers still figuring some things out. A great debut.
Will you listen to this again? Yes
Summary: Early merging of reggae, punk, and rock plus Sting’s distinct vocals equals formula for future rock stardom.