The Police
Reggatta de Blanc


2.5
average

Review

by BigHans USER (108 Reviews)
January 29th, 2010 | 96 replies


Release Date: 1979 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A slight Sophomore stumble.

The Police Discography

Part 2: Reggatta De Blanc - The step back

One of the more dreaded quandaries in music is the all too common, almost stereotypical sophomore slump. Many theories abound regarding its alienating presence, but regardless if it stems from growing pains, a lack of fresh ideas, or fatigue, legions of bands throughout rock history have been saddled with the overwhelming pressure of crafting a solid successor to a landmark debut album. The Police vaulted to stardom relatively quickly on the heels of their 1978 debut, “Outlandos d’Armour,” an energetic, well written effort that rode the wave of buzz generated by memorable singles “Roxanne,” “Can’t Stand Losing You,” and “So Lonely.” The record was an effective launching pad for Sting and company, showcasing the initial stages of their vast musicianship colliding with focused energy and mostly streamlined songwriting. The logical question after a near watershed debut is would the follow up album live up to expectations, or would The Police fall into the same knarled Sophomore trap like so many of their brethren.

In studying The Police from a career standpoint, it is clear that Sting, guitarist Andy Summers, and drummer Stewart Copeland were advanced musicians for the genre of music they resided in. There are several arguments they improved on each successive album, and while that may be succinct from a musicianship standpoint, when listening to their follow up, “Reggatta De Blanc,” it is unequivocally not the case in terms of songwriting ability. Perhaps ironically, Sting indicated in an interview that the band felt little pressure to follow up their debut, and spent only two weeks in the studio recording “Regatta De Blanc,” foreshadowing a lack of focus and song writing laziness. While there are positive aspects to the record, including a noticeable improvement in their instrumental playing, “Reggatta de Blanc” feels mostly like a disjointed jam session, lacking the raw energy, streamlined hooks and focused song craft of their debut.

Although the majority of “Reggatta de Blanc” is comprised of songs that are overwhelmingly tight from a rhythmic standpoint, most are muddled by a more sedate atmosphere and unfocused structures. Disappointment is an inescapable emotion, as while most tracks are performed well musically, almost all are missing an essential component in one shape or form. “It’s Alright For You” showcases forceful drumming and strong verses, but falls apart in its repetitive, misguided chorus. “Deathwish” and “This Bed’s Too Big Without You” are competent at moments, but neither casts a lasting sense of memorability, collapsing under a weight of directionless meandering. “Bring on the Night” and “Does Everyone Stare” are attempts at pulling off an epic reggae atmosphere, yet both are more droning and annoying than substantial. Copeland makes a valiant attempt at saving album closer “No Time This Time,” but above average drumming cannot provide salvation from one of Sting’s worst vocal performances. The greatest travesties are found on “Contact,” an unredeemable effort that is the definition of filler, and the atrociously corny “On Any Other Day,” a monstrosity that wastes a well generated groove by brandishing lyrics that wouldn’t be found on the most self deprecating, stereotypical country album. Complete with lyrics about his dog, wife, house, and the homosexuality of his son, “On Any Other Day” is almost certainly a number Copeland wishes he hadn’t written, let alone lent vocals on.

Although a large slice of the record is awash in mediocrity, there are moments of redemption when Sting decides to subside on pretentiousness and embraces the rock sensibilities that would prove to be the band’s greatest strength. When The Police decide to lay an effective hook to their jumpy, syncopated beats, like on opener “Message In a Bottle,” the result is nearly stunning. “Message In a Bottle” is somewhat of a cruel tease, as the frantic bass, massive hook, and one of the more melodic riffs Summers would ever lay down encapsulate arguably the band’s greatest song, and positively destroys the rest of the album. “Walking on the Moon” is another effective entry, showcasing a titanic, sprawling bass line from Sting that permeates the type of spacey atmosphere Jared Leto could only achieve in his tortured, overly emotional dreams. While “Walking on the Moon” would prove to be a Police landmark, the quasi-instrumental, Grammy winning Title Track is another positive; a sweeping, rhythmic monster that overcomes ill-advised vocal chanting with layered, chimey guitars, groove laden bass, and frantic, unleashed drumming.

At this point, the Police had yet to fully capture and consistently meld strong songwriting with their advanced musical abilities. The final verdict is “Reggatta De Blanc” is the most skip worthy Police album, a quintessential case to relish the singles and forget the rest, the only time in their history when mandatory. Although the overtly positive moments of “Reggatta De Blanc” are few, the times when focus supplants pretension prove The Police had enough chops to carry out a substantial, landmark career. The Police may have stumbled slightly at the altar of learning, but time would prove their best years were still ahead.

Standout Tracks:

Message in a Bottle
Reggatta De Blanc
Walking on the Moon



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user ratings (253)
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other reviews of this album
someguest (4)
"The more you know who you are, and what you want, the less you let things upset you."...

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Comments:Add a Comment 
BigHans
January 29th 2010


26454 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Whoever submitted this album originally mis-spelled the title. Anyone know how to fix this?

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
January 29th 2010


8371 Comments


your profile -> edit reviews

there you should be able to type in the right title/tracklist/release date, whatever is necessary

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
January 29th 2010


8371 Comments


The final verdict is “Reggatta De Blanc” was a small misstep, is the most skip worthy of their albums, and would prove to be albatross of their efforts.
fix that but otherwise this is a great review, well done

Jethro42
January 29th 2010


12492 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

HeeHoooo HeeHayyy HeeHay ohhh

EVedder27
January 29th 2010


6088 Comments


Great work man. Really love the riff in Message in a Bottle.

Gyromania
January 29th 2010


15941 Comments


yeah, ok

BigHans
January 29th 2010


26454 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

fix that but otherwise this is a great review, well done

^fixed, I didn't like the first version either.

BigHans
January 29th 2010


26454 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

yeah, ok

^ I expected some disagreement, many view this as a classic album. I just have always believed the majority of the record is mediocre in comparison to the few standouts.

Jethro42
January 29th 2010


12492 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

All the songs stand out except 'On Any Other Day' and the last two ones.
I grew up with the 70's, The Police included. Their music still flows in my veins.

I liked your review but I highly disagree with your rating, it's obvious. Either I've
listened to it too much, or you must give it some more spins. Who knows.

Gyromania
January 30th 2010


15941 Comments


I expected some disagreement, many view this as a classic album. I just have always believed the majority of the record is mediocre in comparison to the few standouts.

Didn't mean anything by that- I personally love The Police, but you did highlight the three best songs on this album and it was well written.

BigHans
January 30th 2010


26454 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I liked your review but I highly disagree with your rating, it's obvious. Either I've
listened to it too much, or you must give it some more spins. Who knows.

^ Could be. I listened to it three times before writing, hadn't heard the entire album in ages. Maybe its a grower, but music like this is usually immediately good or bad to me. The rest of their records will get a higher score.

StrizzMatik
February 13th 2010


3210 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Bring On The Night is droning and annoying??! Nah. There's a little filler but this is a hugely strong record overall IMO

Digging: Lagwagon - Hang

MUNGOLOID
August 4th 2010


4333 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

totally agree with this review.

someguest
July 13th 2011


20929 Comments


This is incredibly chill.

Digging: Dexter Gordon - Our Man in Paris

Jethro42
July 13th 2011


12492 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

cough2.5cough

someguest
August 13th 2011


20929 Comments


"Message In A Bottle" is definitely one of my favorite songs ever released.

Ire
August 13th 2011


41805 Comments


DON'T STAND

DON'T STAND SO

MaskAtTheMasquerade
August 13th 2011


2887 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

the bed's too big without... YOOOOOOOOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU!

someguest
August 13th 2011


20929 Comments


It's alright for you!

And you, and you, and you, and you, and you!

Jethro42
August 14th 2011


12492 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

walking on
walking on the moon



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