The Police
Synchronicity


4.5
superb

Review

by BigHans USER (108 Reviews)
February 12th, 2010 | 140 replies | 20,942 views


Release Date: 1983 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The Police go out in style.

8 of 8 thought this review was well written

The Police Discography

Part 5: The Watershed

As the beatnik rock poet Neil Young once said, “It’s better to burn out than fade away.” Although Neil left us with some memorable moments, it’s unequivocally ironic he failed to heed his own advice, contributing to the interesting corollary between longevity and quality of art in rock history. For the majority of the upper echelon of rock, musical legacies have little to do with advancing quality of material. Unlike the aging process of a fine wine or steak, the converse is usually true with elite rock acts; as artists age, their chops diminish, their focus dwindles, and if you’re Aerosmith, legacies often collapse into an epic avalanche of self parody. For bands that held a degree of transcendent importance, it is an un-paralleled rarity where the final work of a legend is their finest. That is, unless, we are talking about The Police, who were smart enough to resign at the pinnacle of their career.

The Police wrote their epitaph on the heels of six exceedingly productive years. Brandishing a leashed rawness and innocence at their inception, over the course of five albums the trio evolved from a quasi punk/reggae lounge act to monolithic, genre blending megastars. The foundation to their rise, and the quintessential essence that defined the group’s legitimacy was unmatched confidence colliding with advanced musicianship for the pop rock genre. The fact that Sting, Andy Summers, and Stewart Copeland could play circles around most of their brethren certainly added a facet of ease to their quest for hallowed remembrance, yet what ultimately canonized them was a sometimes eluding, hard fought songwriting craft, honed to perfection in their later years. The Police modified their style many times at the altar of musical learning, and the experimentation, lessons, and successes wrought from their first four albums culminated in a resulting apex of their abilities on their final act, 1983’s watershed “Synchronicity.”

“Synchronicity” is fittingly about finalization. Perhaps an eerie resemblance of foreshadowing, the record is primarily awash in dark, morose moods, and the theme running throughout paints a picture of interpersonal relationships colliding in a final desperate gasp before collapsing in a heap of exhaustion. With Sting’s growing megalomania, it is highly probable the band knew this was Act 3, and the foreboding yet brilliantly crafted ambiance plastered across the record is as fitting as music can be in respect to its performers’ natural lives. On differing moments of “Synchronicity” Sting seems to be at odds, lamenting he cannot wait to break freedom impeding shackles (Wrapped Around Your Finger), yet willing to embrace enormous lengths to be welcomed back to an unhealthy, controlling dynamic (Every Breath You Take). While he cannot make up his mind at times, Sting has no issues being a soothsayer for impending, inevitable disaster (Tea in the Sahara, Murder By Numbers), and uses brilliantly constructed metaphors to describe exactly how he got there (King of Pain). Owing to his aspirations as a leftist political spokesman, Sting cannot resist climbing his altar here and there (Walking In Your Footsteps, title track series), but the controlling atmosphere of the record from a thematic standpoint is inevitable change, at times embraced, at times scorned by fear.

Of course, “Synchronicity” cannot be held to legendary status by lyrical themes alone. Sonically, “Synchronicity” is the culmination of the Police’s genre experimentations, primarily relying on brilliantly constructed layers of melodic darkness, occasionally transgressing into more aggressive sensibilities. The most striking example of the Police unleashing is found on the title track series, with the second offering, (Synchronicity II), landing as their ultimate achievement from an up-tempo, energetic standpoint. “Walking In Your Footsteps” is not entirely reliant on melody or energy, instead driven by one of Copeland’s greatest percussion forays, riding a tidal wave of African and Middle Eastern beats that prescribe a vexing, hypnotic atmosphere. “O My God” and “Tea in the Sahara” are the final transgressions of The Police putting on a spacey atmosphere, while the deliciously evil “Murder By Numbers” is the best of their series of off-putting, joke like lyrical delvings. Elsewhere, owing to the theme of finalizing the foundations wrought on previous records, Copeland and Summers are each allowed a song, resulting in the only unfortunate moments of the album. While Copeland’s “Miss Gradenko” is no worse than average, Summers’ “Mother” is astonishingly bad, an indefensible entry wretched enough to potentially derail the album’s classic status. Finally, the trio of impactful singles “Every Breath You Take,” “King of Pain,” and “Wrapped Around Your Finger” all rely on gorgeous, understated melodies, embracing the primary sonic overtones encompassing the record. Riding a heart tugging, impossibly strong layer of ambience, the trio encapsulates the lasting greatness of the record, and unquestionably aid in the final stamping on the Police’s legacy.

The final, lasting impression of “Synchronicity” is the Police going out in style. Strong enough to supplant Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” on the pop charts and featuring one of the greatest pop songs ever constructed (Every Breath You Take), “Synchronicity’s” greatest redemptive aspect is it simply left everyone wanting more. When studying the solo careers of each member, the early burn-out was probably fortunate, although records like this make the ideal difficult to conceive at times. The Police were always backed by an above average musical IQ, and it seems their intelligence was pursuant to the installment of their final legacy. As a collective group, the Police died young and left a good looking corpse, leaving the act of transgressing into rock parody with age to Sting’s solo career. The Police will forever carry a high degree of credibility, and the final act of establishing their legend is perfectly executed on “Synchronicity.”

Essential Tracks:

Every Breath You Take
King of Pain
Synchronicity 2

Other Recommends:

Synchronicity 1
Wrapped Around Your Finger
Walking In Your Footsteps
O My God



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user ratings (321)
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Comments:Add a Comment 
BigHans
February 12th 2010



26455 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Would have been a 5 without "Mother."

BigHans
February 12th 2010



26455 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This endeth the Police discog. Following my theme, here is the ultimate Police mix tape.

1. Message in a Bottle
2. Sychronicity 2
3. Don't Stand So Close To Me
4. Next To You
5. So Lonely
6. King of Pain
7. Every Breath You Take
8. Walking on the Moon
9. De Doo Doo Doo De Da Da Da
10. Peanuts
11. Driven To Tears
12. Invisible Sun
13. Every Little Thing She Does is Magic
14. Roxanne
15. Can't stand Losing you
16. Wrapped Around Your Finger
17. Demolition Man
18. Spirits in the Material World
19. Truth Hits Everybody
20. Man in a Suitcase
21. Synchronicity 1
22. Walking In Your Footsteps

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
February 12th 2010



15801 Comments


really good review, i pos'd. i actually havent heard this album, or any actual police "albums" per say. i just have a lot of their greatest hits. if i wanted an actual album to start with what would you recommend?

Digging: Maybeshewill - Fair Youth

EVedder27
February 12th 2010



6088 Comments


Awesome review dude, and cheers for putting in one of my favorite Neil Young lines.

shindip
February 12th 2010



3536 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

this is such a great album. Sputnik really should appreciate it more

Jethro42
February 12th 2010



12391 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Superb review for their best album, Zenyatta Mondatta being not far behind. Your mix tape is awesome. Mine would absolutely include 'One World' or 'Voices Inside My Head' instead of 'Truth Hits Everybody' for instance. Pos'd.

BigHans
February 12th 2010



26455 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks everyone, Jethro I would agree with your take on Zenyatta. Sowing, if you were going to buy an actual album I would suggest this or Zenyatta Mondatta, although you cant go wrong with the greatest hits, or the songs I mentioned above in the mix tape. Mike, I love that Neil Young line, has always stuck out for me.

TheSpirit
February 12th 2010



17708 Comments


good review as usual

Digging: Venus Star - Nigredo Expulsion

AtavanHalen
February 13th 2010



17927 Comments


If it's a Police review, don't talk about Neil Young. I hate people that go on unrelated tangents.

EVedder27
February 13th 2010



6088 Comments


God forbid it relates and it takes up 2 sentences in a review

AtavanHalen
February 13th 2010



17927 Comments


It shits me.

JohnXDoesn't
February 13th 2010



1267 Comments


good review, good album

but i would argue these three tracks, and particularly the latter two, keep this from being top of The Police heap

3. Oh My God
4. Mother
5. Miss Gradenko

talk about hitting the "skip" button :'(

i do like Oh My God somewhat. just to be fair. the lyrics are awesome. the song itself, less so

BigHans
February 13th 2010



26455 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Granted Neil Young has virtually nothing to do with The Police, but that line prety much encompasses the entire theme of my review, I couldn't think of anything more fitting.

JohnXDoesn't
February 13th 2010



1267 Comments


ok maybe i need to hear the album again? its been awhile. but um...yeah. last i remember at least, those latter two tracks are silliness and break up the flow of the album

BigHans
February 13th 2010



26455 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

good review, good album

but i would argue these three tracks, and particularly the latter two, keep this from being top of The Police heap

3. Oh My God
4. Mother
5. Miss Gradenko

talk about hitting the "skip" button :'(

i do like Oh My God somewhat. just to be fair. the lyrics are awesome. the song itself, less so

^

I like O My God, and Miss Gradenko is average, but you are right, Mother might be the most skip worthy song in history.

Nagrarok
February 13th 2010



8171 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

This is the album I'll bother with, considering all the praise and such. Nice work on the discog.

jagride
February 13th 2010



2303 Comments


My least favorite Police album. Pretty boring and generic

Nagrarok
February 13th 2010



8171 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Hey, what happened to MrPoopular?

jagride
February 13th 2010



2303 Comments


Erotic asphyxiation



StrizzMatik
February 13th 2010



3185 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Album is so great, but I would put Regatta de Blanc as their next best.



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