The Police
Zenyatta Mondatta


5.0
classic

Review

by ChrisD USER (1 Reviews)
December 11th, 2005 | 81 replies


Release Date: 1980 | Tracklist


This album was released in 1980, and signalled The Police as a forthcoming supergroup proven by its US #5 and UK #1 chart positions.The album featured two huge Police tracks "Don't stand so close to me" and "De do do do, de da da da".Unfortunately,this was the only Police album that did not make the Rolling Stone's "500 greatest albums" list which is a really shame.This album is constantly overlooked by critics and fans alike which I believe has to do with the fact that the band members themselves used to slag the album.The reason for this was the fact that the album was written and recorded in a mere 4 weeks which may have something to do with the large abundance of instrumental tracks present on the album.
When I first bought this album it took me around four listens before I really started enjoying it as much as I do now.It now sits as my favourite Police album and one of my favourite albums of all time.Stylisticatily, this album is alot more progressive than the first two Police albums.It still has a little bit of punk/raggae at parts, but now includes more pop and jazz sections and more bass ostinatos than before.



Song reviews:



1.Don't stand so close to me

This is my favourite song on the album and my favourite Police song of all time.The chorus is very catchy and the raggae backbeat present in the song adds a great texture.Andy Summers also add's some good guitar layering in the chorus and the video for this song displayed a young band full of vibrance.Brilliant song.It was later recorded at an ill-fated attempt to make a sixth Police album.The band felt that the original had been recorded too fast and needed some spicing up.All that came from those dire sessions was the remake "Don't stand so close to me 86". 5/5

2.Driven to tears

Another great song.This featured Sting's first attempt at political lyrics and they sound excellent.This also displays Stewart Copeland's best drum work on this album with his aggressive approach of playing matching his slick hi-hat/octaban work.Andy Summer's also has a great solo which was uncommon in most Police music.It would resurface many times in Sting's solo career. 5/5

3.When the world is running down,you make the best of what's still around

This song contains some very good bass work from Sting.Simple, but brilliant as well.Stewart provides a solid 4/4 backbeat and Andy Summer's provides 3 simple barre chords played throughtout the entire song.The simplicity of this songs manages to sound very lush at the same time with its amazing lyrics.Sting was differently progressing at this point in his career.Although this song is a real toe tapper,it begins to drag on after awhile but nonetheless,still a brilliant showcase of 3 immensely talented musicians playing simple pop music. 5/5

4.Canary in a coalmine

Another great song.Andy Summer's adds a riveting guitar backing to Sting's amazing lyrical work:

First to fall over when the atmosphere is less than perfect
Your sensibilities are shaken by the slightest defect
You live you life like a canary in a coalmine
You get so dizzy even walking in a straight line.

Again, Stewart provides a solid backbeat to the song.A very catchy song indeed! 5/5



5.Voices inside my head

Many of Sting's lyrics on this album have to do with feelings of paranoia and such.Just listening to the lyrics throughout the album gives the indication that Sting had been doing his homework on certain subjects.This track is another instrumental with only the title of the song receiving any spoken word.ANother very simplified song,it begins to drag on again with the only spark near the end of the song coming in the form of some taseful Copeland drum fills. 4/5

6.Bombs Away

The first Stewart Copeland penned track on the album features a very catchy drum beat and some tasty dynamics on the snare courtesy of Mr.Copeland.The song's lyrics show reference to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan which could possibly stem from Stewart's days growing up in Egypt and middle eastern countries due to the fact that his dad was an Amercian secret services worker.This song seems sort of cheesy at first glance,but it begins to grow on you after a few listens! 4/5

7.De do do do,De da da da

Sting wrote this song because he wanted to experiment with nonsense lyrics in the vein of "Tutti Frutti", "Doo Wah Diddy" and "Ob la di Ob la da".It has been said that he got the name of the song from his song.The lyrics refer to how politicians, entertainers, and other people use words to manipulate society.This was a HUGE hit in the states and is one of the greatest Police songs ever recorded.Many people dismiss due to the less then intelligent sounding name,but the song shines through I believe.The song itself features a 'raggaefied' feel and just as in 'Don't stand so close to me', Andy adds some solid textural guitar rhythm guitar parts which in unison with Sting's bass work, equals out to a highly enjoying song. 5/5

8.Behind my Camel

This was Andy Summer's first major contribution to the band.This song was coveredby Primus extensively and is another one of the album's many instrumental tracks.The simplicity of the guitar riff can perhaps only be matched by "When the world is running down".Most of the song features the same recurring guitar ostinato, and sounds like it would have a great spot on a "song's of halloween" cd or off of some George Romero flick.Stewart adds some nice cymbal work showing off the style that millions of drummers would one day imitate.All in all a very decent song,but begins to drag near the end.But nonetheless,it won a grammy in 1981 for 'best instrumental' alongside "Don't stand so close to me" which won "best rock performance". 3/5

9.Man in a suitcase

The second best song on the album, this song should have been released for a single.If you don't have this song on your iPod.....DOWNLOAD IT NOW!! Everything about this song is great;amazing drumming,super catchy and smart lyrics and a great raggae rhythm guitar backing to really get your feet tapping.Simply amazing. 5/5

10.Shadows in the rain

Again we see more references to paranoia in Sting's writing.Sting wrote this song about his birthplace Newcastle,England.He said him and his father used to get up very early in the morning to delivery milk and he used to imagine what Newcastle would be like if a nuclear bomb was every dropped on the town.Thus,he came up with "Shadows in the rain".After The Police disbanded around 1983,Sting would take this song with him and re-record it for his debut album,"The Dream of Blue Turtles".That version contained a very upbeat, swinging feel.This version has a very errie sound to it ala "Behind my camel.The longest track on the album,it clocks in at 5:03.In all honesty,whenever I play this album,I find I usually skip over this song.I prefer the newer version better.This song tends to drag on again near the end like a few other tracks on the album.A great song nonetheless, but I feel the newer, upbeat version is superior. 3/5

11.The other way of stopping

The second Copeland penned track and the last song on the album,this is another instrumental song.It features more simplistic Police arrangements with a solid Copeland drum beat, and a catchy Andy Summer's guitar hook present throughout the song reminiscent of "Behind my camel".Not one of the best tracks on the album but still a solid closer to a magnificent musical journey. 3/5



So their you have it.I would definitely suggest buying this album.The Police were beginning to experiment with more styles of music and Zenyatta Mondatta (which,according to the band,has no real meaning) was sort of a middle ground of sorts.The band seemed to be caught between the punk/raggae that was personified in their early days and the heavy jazz/pop sound that the band eventually molded into.



-Chris


user ratings (220)
Chart.
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
BigHans (4)
Their finest album yet, Zenyatta Mondatta is the result of superior musicianship meeting focused son...


Comments:Add a Comment 
ChrisD
December 11th 2005


44 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

hmm....So I tried editing this review and ended up taking out the all of the bold printing and underlining of the song names....oh well........

ChrisD
December 18th 2005


44 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

no reply?

Dethtrasher
December 21st 2005


2211 Comments


Not my type of music but if this was your first review I would suggest that you don't write so much about each song.

šEvery Breath You Takeš is one of their best songs though.

Dethtrasher
December 28th 2005


2211 Comments


never mindThis Message Edited On 01.20.06

skankinBassist
September 6th 2006


3 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The review's a bit long, but good. This is by far my favorite Police album. In my opinion it's their best.

xraycat
April 15th 2007


9 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

[null]

kygermo
September 16th 2008


996 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

To me, this IS The best Police record. Synchronicity was a bit too mainstream, and Ghost In The Machine is another monster all together. Considering the time they took to make this, it's the bomb.

StrizzMatik
January 10th 2009


3220 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Anyone else agree that Driven To Tears kicks massive amounts of arse?

PanasonicYouth
January 29th 2010


7412 Comments


i'm kinda surprised at how good this is.

Jethro42
January 29th 2010


12551 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Anyone else agree that Driven To Tears kicks massive amounts of arse?

Strongly agreed.

I forgot how great this album is, so I just bumped this up a notch.
Good first review. But I don't agree with some of the song ratings.
I would rate 'Voices Inside My Head' 5/5. 'Behind My Camel' and 'Shadows In The Rain'
(even if Sting version rules) between 4 or 4.5/5. But it's all a matter of individual opinion.



LeGo
June 9th 2010


9 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Not good as a whole, but songs are very catchy and good

Jethro42
November 6th 2011


12551 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

VOICESSSS INSIDE MY HEADDDDDD
ECHOESSSSS OF THINGS THAT YOU SAIDDDDD

funky is sexy

someguest
November 29th 2011


21264 Comments


"Driven To Tears".

Digging: Pet Shop Boys - Please

dannyboy89
February 3rd 2012


12888 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off


Anyone else agree that Driven To Tears kicks massive amounts of arse?

Very much so. Underrated Police song.

dannyboy89
February 3rd 2012


12888 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

I've begun to realize the disadvantages of tbt's, but screw it, I love the album. Have a pos.

TheNotrap
December 15th 2012


8127 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

The greatest band between 78/82.


Digging: Pink Floyd - The Endless River

Jethro42
December 15th 2012


12551 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Easily one of those

YoYoMancuso
March 28th 2013


11189 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Driven To Tears is mad spacey

ViperAces
April 6th 2013


12485 Comments


DONT STAND
DONT STAND SO
DONT STAND SO CLOSE TO ME

someguest
April 6th 2013


21264 Comments


HER FRIENDS ARE
SO JEALOUS
YOU KNOW HOW BAD GIRLS GET



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