Continuing on last week’s theme of The Police, I’m going to share some of my favorite Police songs with you. These are, in my opinion, some of their best made during their illustrious 6-ish years of existence (and no, I’m not counting the times they reunited). “Every Breath You Take” isn’t on the list, so you can click off now. I’d also like to point out that I wanted to include more songs, but decided on two per record. Man, that was hard to do.
What a cool song! I always want to pick up my drumsticks when I hear it. Stewart’s frequent pauses in between playing licks make this song that much more interesting, and it serves as early evidence that he’s always been kind of a monster on the drums. Plus, Sting screams “peanuts!” like one of those guys selling snacks at a ball game. That’s nice, I guess.
“Truth Hits Everybody”
If you thought I wanted to pick up my sticks on the last song, wait until you hear this one. I’m going extra hard this time. This song showcases some of Stewart Copeland’s best drumming (and the introduction of what would become some of his most iconic drum licks), an incredible vocal performance from Sting, and some raw and punky guitar from Andy Summers. There’s no denying it was a blueprint for all future Police songs. And if you’re disappointed that I didn’t pull out “Roxanne” or something, just wait a second! I’ll put at least one hit on my list, promise!
Reggatta De Blanc
“Message In A Bottle”
“About time”, you’ve probably just grumbled at your screen. I hate to be a party pooper, but part of my job as a member of the rowdy, disenfranchised youth is to hate what’s popular. Of course, I can’t help but like “Message In A Bottle”; it’s utterly infectious. Andy Summers’ amazing finger-destroying guitar riff of death stands out in particular; it’s such a unique and satisfying riff, and you can hear the pained cry of guitarists everywhere when this song turns on. Serves them right for always making shitty drummer jokes.
“Bring ON The Night”
Sting invented the main guitar riff this time, and it’s one of the best guitar riffs the group came up with as far as I’m concerned. This song feels awfully sad somehow, like Sting broke up with his girlfriend just before he came up with the riff. Don’t get the wrong idea, though; Sting’s solo records are proof that he’s very hit or miss. Funny enough, Sting came up with my favorite Police song too, which I’ll get to later.
“De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da”
Goofy title aside, this song gets stuck in my head if I so much as think of the name. It’s not too slow or too fast, and Summers’ lead guitar glues it all together. Stewart’s playing is very consistent, and Sting is on top of his singing like always. Of course, I always think of the riff first; Summers knocked it out of the park. This one’s in my personal top thr- well, maybe not. Top five, perhaps? Don’t get me started.
“Man IN A Suitcase”
I really wanted to put “Canary In A Coalmine” on this list, but “Man In A Suitcase” had to be the one. Sting’s vocal harmonies really stand out to me in this song. I also love Stewart Copeland’s snare drum fills on this song; there are lots of little ghost notes here and there, and those are my favorite. Quick explanation: ghost notes are basically quieter notes added more for extra rhythm than for impact; They fill up a lick and make it more interesting. Quicker explanation: tappy tap sound good, make sound bigger. Got it?
Ghost IN The Machine
“Every Little Thing She Does Is MAgic”
This bad boy is my favorite song of theirs. This is the Police song. It’s perfect. It’s mysterious/melancholy and an auditory exclamation point at the same time. Ghost In The Machine marked the first time The Police incorporated synths a lot in their music, and it works especially well in this song. I absolutely love Copeland’s drum fills here. He changes the fills up each time in between sections, and they complement the music perfectly. I particularly love the fill at 2:11; that triple kick drum is so satisfying to me. Oh, and quick explanation: the kick drum is the one you hit with your foot. Hopefully that clears up any confusion. Maybe they should have just called it the foot drum; that would be kinda funny.
“Spirits IN The Material World”
Because I love it so much, I want to give a shout out to “Omegaman” before I move on. That song blows my mind, and I feel like that was the worst snub on this list. “Spirits In The Material World” is another very Sting-centric song. What do I mean by that? Well, the addition of synths was mostly Sting’s idea, something which pissed off Andy Summers in particular; he said it was like he and Copeland were becoming the live band for Sting’s solo project. Maybe Summers was clairvoyant? Anyway, this song goes all in on the synths, and it actually works. This combined with Sting’s ridiculous vocal harmonies and Copeland’s very reggae drumbeat creates a song that ricochets around in my brain like that bouncing DVD logo. Sorry to break your heart, but my brain doesn’t have 90 degree corners (as far as I know).
“King OF Pain”
Put simply, this song is very poignant and memorable. The use of simple piano chords to open the song is very effective, and the song feels very emotional to me. It seems like Sting was acknowledging that we all have tough times in life, and that it can be a recurring thing. Part of me believes that he was just being kind of a prick, but maybe I shouldn’t be so forthcoming with that information.
This was probably the most difficult choice I had to make so far, since there were multiple other Police songs that I wanted to include here. “Synchronicity I” has my vote, though; the sheer energy and power of this song is astounding. It’s fast, hectic, Stewart plays crazy fast (no surprise), and Sting sings like his life depends on it. It’s awesome. I also really like the lyrics; how often do singers come up with lines like “plausibly connectible”, or “science is susceptible” anyway? Fascinating, and very English somehow.
So there we have it! Did you like my jokes? I decided to be slightly less posh today. Hopefully it worked! I’m having a blast myself. Funny enough, I’m listening to The Police as I write this, which was a fantastic idea. Go give them a listen for me, ok? And don’t be afraid to try other songs that aren’t the hits; with many of my favorite artists, the cooler songs tend to be the non-hits. For all you know, your favorite Police song could be waiting for you.