If you think that The Police is a law enforcement agency, darlings, you’re very wrong. Well, I mean, of course you’re right, but it’s all about context, and in this case, I’m talking about the post-punk British band from the late ’70s and early ’80s. At one point they were the biggest band in the world, until personalities made it impossible for the band to continue.
But if, when you hear The Police, you think Every Breath You Take, then you need to heed your favourite dilettante’s advice and keep reading. Worse yet, if you thought that was a Puff Daddy song, then I’m sorry, I can’t help you. (Damn you, Diddy. Damn your eyes.)
When the band started out in the late ’70s, they were raw and full of energy — the same kind of angry energy that fueled The Sex Pistols or The Clash — but these three guys could really fucking play. Imagine taking the art-school proficiency of Roxy Music and blending it with the angry young man nihilism of The Sex Pistols, and you’ve got The Police.
The Police was my first favourite band — I was about 10 years old and I raided my sister’s record collection, stealing the first three of their albums from her and listening to them on my giant headphones. It was love at first listen. And no, she didn’t even own Synchronicity, the album that made them zillionaires with its hits Every Breath You Take and King of Pain. It was ultimately their swan song, too, so… what does that say about too much success?
I’m going to share some early songs of theirs, and NO, I’m not going to be playing the hits. You’re not going to hear Roxanne or Message in a Bottle or Don’t Stand So Close To Me — all amazing songs, true, but you KNOW them — or if you don’t, then seriously, where have you been and what have you been listening to, darlings? Put down your Thirty Seconds to Bruno Mars and your Mumford, Lumineers, Bastille & Sons and broaden your musical horizons. True, Sting sold out and made Disney soundtracks, as well as some of the lamest adult contemporary easy listening bullshit music known to man — but I can forgive him his latter day sins because of this really great early stuff — can’t you find it in your hearts as well?
Next to You – from the Old Grey Whistle Test
Can’t Stand Losing You
Bring On the Night
When the World is Running Down, You Make the Best of What’s Still Around
That takes you as far as those first three albums, darlings — a taste of what I discovered at ten — not that the other two albums aren’t good — but stylistically, they really do take a turn away from this early, frenetic, reggae infused art-punk as I like to call it. (Trademark pending, darlings) If I see the word ART-PUNK being used and abused, I’ll hunt you down like a dog. Like a dog hunts a fox. Except I’m the fox. And you’re a dog.
Wait, I’m confused. Just don’t do it. But do listen to these three albums – or at least these highlights.