The Police came into existence in the late 1970s and continued until the early 1980s. However, that was enough for them to make themselves known throughout the entire world by becoming one of the banner-bearers of British new wave. For proof, look no further than the fact that The Police’s final studio album Synchronicity becoming number one in the United States by selling more than eight million copies, which was on top of it becoming number one in four other countries as well. Unfortunately, Sting decided to pursue a solo career at the height of the band’s fame, with the result that the band members went their separate ways. The Police reunited once for a reunion tour in 2007 and 2008, but they have been effectively disbanded ever since a failed attempt at making a sixth studio album in 1986.
5. Zenyatta Mondatta
Zenyatta Mondatta is The Police’s third studio album. For context, it was recorded when the band was out on their second tour, with the result that it was recorded in less than four weeks’ time. As such, Zenyatta Mondatta is regarded as something of a disappointment by the band, so much so that they actually tried to re-record a couple of its songs in 1986. Music-wise, it is interesting to note that this album is exactly what one would expect from the third of The Police’s five studio albums, which is to say, it is something of a transition point from the band’s earlier works to their later, more experimental releases. As such, it is on the conservative side of things. Still, it is important to remember that Zenyatta Mondatta is still an album put out by The Police, meaning that it has a number of songs of note. One excellent example would be “Don’t Stand So Close to Me,” which remains one of the band’s best-known.
4. Reggatta de Blanc
Meanwhile, Reggatta de Blanc was produced under more relaxed conditions than its immediate successor Zenyatta Mondatta. Something that proved to be beneficial for its overall quality. It would be an exaggeration to say that The Police encountered no difficulties whatsoever when making the album. For instance, the band struggled to make enough new material to fill up the album, so much so that they actually borrowed elements from their old songs for the purpose of making new songs. Still, there can be no doubt about the fact that the process was effective because Reggatta de Blanc featured better playing, superior songwriting, and an increased sense of confidence when compared with the band’s initial release. As such, there was very much a sense of improvement that boded well for everything that was still to come.
3. Outlandos d’Amour
Some successful bands don’t become so until they have released a number of albums. However, The Police wasn’t one of those because their debut album Outlandos d’Amour was a huge success, so much so that it is sometimes considered to be one of the greatest debut albums ever made. This is very amusing because the contemporary reviews were nowhere near as flattering as their latter counterparts. For example, one reviewer complimented the band’s technical ability but was less than impressed by their simultaneous presentation of themselves as punks. Meanwhile, another reviewer criticized what he believed to be a lack of emotional conviction on the part of the band members. Regardless, Outlandos d’Amour paved the way for The Police’s subsequent careers by going platinum in six countries. In fact, chances are good that interested individuals will recognize its first single “Roxanne,” which remains one of the band’s best-known songs.
2. Ghost in the Machine
As mentioned earlier, The Police went experimental with their post-Zenyatta Mondatta albums. This can be seen in how Ghost in the Machine is named thus because Sting is a fan of Arthur Koestler’s book of the same name, which in turn, refers to a phrase coined by Gilbert Ryle. The phrase is a convenient shorthand for mind-body dualism, meaning either that mental processes are non-physical in nature or that mind and the body are distinct from one another. Koestler’s book doesn’t quite use the phrase in this sense. Instead, it runs with the idea that the human brain was built upon more primitive structures that constitute a ghost in the machine, with the result that its higher reason can be overpowered by these structures under certain circumstances. Something that can lead to hatred as well as other destructive impulses. Regardless, The Police’s work on Ghost in the Machine was well-liked. It was praised for being not just well-made but also incorporating a wider range of styles than before, thus making it not just more ambitious but also successful at being more ambitious. A combination that is much easier said than achieved.
It is no exaggeration to say that Sting has a lot of interest in Arthur Koestler. After all, Synchronicity was inspired in both its name as well as much of its content by another one of the author’s books called The Roots of Coincidence, which was a sort of introduction to parapsychology. In any case, Synchronicity was very successful, as shown by its earlier-mentioned sales number in the United States. In fact, the album was so popular that The Police has been argued as being the most famous band in the entire world at that point in their existence, which makes it that much more unfortunate that this album would be the band’s last album. Music-wise, Synchronicity was once again on the more experimental side of things. One of the most often-heard praises for the album is its inclusion of a wide range of styles, which were nonetheless woven into cohesive wholes with remarkable skill. Similarly, there was also much mention of the real passion that went into the project. A neat reversal when compared with the judgments of some of The Police’s earlier releases.