Every Move You Make – The Studio Recordings (Box Set) – The Police
Well it’s been a good while since I’ve heard The Police and I have to confess that even though I considered them a really good band and liked their albums enough to buy all 5 of them on vinyl has each one came out many moons ago, they are not the type of band I would play these days and their music can even sound on the outdated side of things. The fact that my turntable has been stuck in my loft along with my vinyl records since the late 90’s also would play a part in as to why I would not play them these days and even though I did buy most of Stings solo albums on CD, I never did buy any of The Police albums on CD.
I doubt very much if I still have the albums on vinyl simply because when I did relegate my turntable to the loft, I did end up selling the biggest majority of them and only kept a few. Over the many years of buying records I have most likely sold just as many albums on vinyl and CD than what I have left in my collection now, in fact possibly a lot more. I have even brought many albums all over again some many times over and the pride and joy that sits on my shelves these days is mostly of surround mixes and they mean more to me than anything you can put on a CD or a vinyl record. Unlike those conventional stereo formats, they also hold their value and can fetch a lot more than what you paid for them as well.
But in all formats, there is generally something of a collector’s item you will pay a lot more money for, but in general CD’s and Vinyl albums can be had on the second hand market for PEANUTS! Which also happens to the be the title of one of the songs on the bands debut album and the very reason I brought this box set in the first place. But before I go any further let’s take a look at the packaging and artwork first.
The Packaging & Artwork…
The albums come in a Clamshell Box and in total you get 6 albums on 6 CD’s and I was well surprised to see that all 6 CD’s come in Gatefold DigiSleeves and not just the single cardboard wallets you get in most of these type of cheap box sets. The one thing the box set does not include is a booklet though the linear credits and production notes have been included on the CD’s but it does not include lyrics or any informative information about the band. But overall no expense has been spared here and this box set offers you amazing value for the money and has been very well presented. I pre-ordered it from Amazon and got it for £16.66 which is around the same price I paid for the bands 5 albums on vinyl many moons ago.
The same box set was released on Vinyl last year to mark the bands 40th Anniversary and it does include a booklet but it also comes with a very hefty price tag of around £119 on Amazon. For the life of me I am sorry to say that I fail to see where there is any real value here in relation to the CD box set apart from the booklet. It’s ridiculously well overpriced and I thank my lucky stars I no longer collect vinyl.
Every Move You Make – The Studio Recordings Vinyl Edition
Although no doubt there are many vinyl lovers out there who would argue that it’s the best quality recording you can get. But in reality, the vinyl record has always suffered with its restrictions of what you can fit onto its format and is nowhere near as robust as the CD and is very fragile in relation to it. It also suffers from surface noise which does not help and regarding recording quality the CD is very much the real winner I am afraid. Where the vinyl album really wins is with the size of the artwork. But in reality, these days even DigiPaks cost more to make than a vinyl album cover which is also where I fail to see why a vinyl album should cost more money.
I gave up on the vinyl format 2 decades ago and can honestly say I do not regret it, because it is inferior in today’s world especially in relation to the more immersive experience 5.1 surround has to offer. SACD/DVD & Blu Ray are more superior formats and, in all honesty, this little poem I wrote I have entitled “Just For The Record” speaks the true reality of the vinyl record and I dare anybody to question the reality of it all simply because it speaks the truth.
Viny L your plastic pal the plastic all round mover
Whenever he took a needle he became a bit of groover
His surface was nice and shiny and needed a lot of attention
Otherwise he would snap crackle and pop which very few would mention
He attracted static and even scratched although he could not rust
Not even his anti static bag could keep away the dust
And if the needle got clogged up and stuck he would start to stutter
Viny L could even warp and was made to wow and flutter
But of course, for many the vinyl record has that nostalgic vibe and feel about it that many people cannot let go of. It is without doubt still a great format that still offers a good enough decent recording quality that is all well and acceptable and I have nothing against those who still prefer it. But as for how its price has shot up since the format came back from the dead from 2017 onwards. There is no way on this earth that it should cost any more than a CD and I do feel people are being ripped off.
The Police In Brief History…
The Police burst onto the scene at the same time Punk Rock had exploded here in the UK. The band even tried and make out they was a punk rock band with their first record “Fall Out” although it was merely a plan of action to try and gain a bit of reignition and get themselves noticed and they had no intention of being a punk rock band at all. They never did like that record they made either and even excluded it from this release. Although the fact that it was not included in this box set may not have even had anything to do with any of the band members at all, and this box set may very well have been compiled by the record company.
The Police were originally formed in January 1977 by American drummer Stewart Copeland and the English singer/bassist Sting (so nicknamed due to his habit of wearing a black-and-yellow striped sweater mirroring a wasp) the pair had originally bumped into each other in 1976 and exchanged phone numbers. Copeland was playing with the prog rock band Curved Air at the time and he originally worked as road manager for the band back in 1974 on their reunion tour and then as drummer for the band during 1975 and 1976. Having made two studio albums with the band they then decided to call it a day and the band broke up.
Sting on the other hand was a former schoolteacher and was playing in a jazz-rock fusion band called Last Exit in his home city of Newcastle and had been since 1974. It was in the beginning of 1977 that the band relocated to London but after a few gigs half of the band returned to Newcastle though Sting decided to stay and look for other work and sought out Copeland for a jam session. Having got together they decided to put a band together and brought in Corsican guitarist Henry Padovani to complete the line-up and spent some time playing mainly as s support act in various pubs around London.
It was this first incarnation of The Police that made the bands first record “Fall Out” to which was recorded at Pathway Studios in Islington, North London on 12 February 1977 with a budget of £150, was released in May 1977 by Illegal Records. Later on, in that same year they added a 4th member to the band the English guitarist Andy Summers who was a decade older than the other members. Summers started his musical career as guitarist for the British rhythm and blues band Zoot Money’s Big Roll Band in the mid-sixties. He also had stints with many bands and artists from the mid 60’s into the 70’s including the likes of Soft Machine, The Animals, Kevin Coyne, Jon Lord, Joan Armatrading, David Essex, Neil Sedaka and Kevin Ayers. In October 1975 he participated in an orchestral rendition of Mike Oldfield’s seminal “Tubular Bells“.
Summers first introduction to both Sting and Copeland came through Gong’s ex-bass player Mike Howlett who had quit the band and was putting a band together called Strontium 90 to which all 4 became a part of for a very short period of time. It was during this short period that the band had recorded some demos and one of them was “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic” a song that was to later appear on The Police’s 4th album Ghost In The Machine. The foursome also performed at a London club as ‘The Elevators‘ in July 1977.
As a 4-piece band The Police only ever performed live twice in 1977 and Summers was never happy with the band as a 4-piece outfit and delivered an ultimatum to the band and Padovani was dismissed. The Police’s power trio line-up of Copeland, Sting, and Summers performed for the first time on 18 August 1977 in my home town at Rebecca’s club in Birmingham. What was to happen next very much became history though it was not until 1979 that they really made an impact and exploded onto the scene.
The Albums In Review…
Every Move You Make (The Studio Recordings) box set by The Police was released on CD on the 15th November 2019. Just like the vinyl release that got released in 2018 it comes with 6 CD’s. Because this is a box set and there is a lot to get through, I am only going to focus on the highlights of the albums and not go into great depth of all the individual album tracks like I do on most reviews. I shall also review each album as they were originally released in chronological order. So now without any further ado, let’s get down to the album reviews.
The bands debut album Outlandos d’Amour was released on the 2nd November 1978. The album contained 10 tracks all written by Sting (bar a couple which he co-wrote with the other two members of the band) and comes with an overall playing time of 38 minutes 11 seconds. The album never got the band off to a flying start and initially performed poorly due to low exposure and an unfavourable reaction from the BBC to its first two singles, “Can’t Stand Losing You” and “Roxanne” (about suicide and prostitution, respectively). The BBC even banned both the songs from air play and they never even dented the charts. The reason they had a problem with ‘Can’t Stand Losing You‘ was because the photo on the cover of the single had Stewart standing on a block of ice with a noose around his neck, waiting for the ice to melt.
If it was not for Stewart Copeland’s brother Miles the album would have never got made because it was, he who decided to manage the band and put up the money to make the album. It was also him who had seen something in both “Can’t Stand Losing You” and “Roxanne” to release them as singles from the album. But all was not lost because the potential he did see in those records did pay off in the end when they got re-released a year later in 1979 and both became major hits and smashed into the top 20 of the UK Singles Charts. By 1984 the album had also sold over a million copies and went platinum.
The bands first 2 albums were recorded at Surrey Sound Studios which was a studio that a former doctor namely Nigel Gray had set up in 1974 and functioned as a recording studio between 1975 – 1987. Gray was a qualified medical doctor who followed his passion into music and was able to use his kindly bedside manner to coax three extraordinarily successful records from a band operating at the time on the tiniest of shoestring budgets. The first two albums were recorded in his converted studio above a dairy in Leatherhead in Surrey.
At the time the bands debut album Outlandos d’Amour was recorded in 1978 it was only recorded on 16 tracks and it was not until the following year that it got upgraded to a 24-track studio. Nigel Gray sold the studio in 1987 and retired in Cornwall. But during his time at the studio he got to record quite a few albums for other bands and artists such as Wishbone Ash, Godley & Creme, Hazel O’Connor, Siouxsie and the Banshees and more. He died in 2016 and all 3 members of the band paid tribute to him and said they could not have done it without him.
Most of the reviews for the album were unfavourable although the one it got from Tom Carson of the Rolling Stone magazine I did find interesting as he gave it some high praise for its technical abilities of all three band members, but was relentlessly disparaging of their attempt to tackle sophisticated rock and reggae while posturing as punks.
Personally, I myself thought it was quite a good album but far from solid and no doubt when The Police first came out they were posturing as punks like he stated, but that was really down to the Punk Invasion still being popular in England around that time. Where I give more praise to The Police more than anything is that they did create a style that was quite unique to anything that had come before it by fusing reggae with pop and rock and that is what really made me take notice of them in the first place.
I myself could never stand reggae music and I still detest it today just like punk rock. But they did something better with it by not making it so boring. Andy Summers was far too good of a guitarist to just stand there and look like a cardboard cut-out doing the reggae chop on his guitar and to me being a guitarist in a reggae band has to be the most boring job any guitarist on the planet could have :))))). I am not saying there is not an art to it but in all honesty, it just bores the life out of me and says the same TING! TING! thing with its rhythm and beat. If The Police were either punk or reggae there is no way on this earth I would brought them in the first place.
However, no matter how I look at The Police they have always come across to me as more of a pop band rather than any hard hitting rock band and though I quite like them and enough to buy them, they were never amongst my personal favourite bands I have in my record collection and no doubt it is their hit making potential that made them and not so much the other tracks that was on their albums. You could effectively say they were more of a singles band than an albums band and that is the difference between popular music and rock and prog rock music that came out earlier on.
The album Outlandos d’Amour is more or less driven by the 3 tracks that were put out as singles to which are “Can’t Stand Losing You“. “Roxanne” and “So Lonely” and I would also say they were by far the better written songs on the album. But that’s not to say that some of its album tracks do not have something to say and overall their debut album is quite an energetic album that is driven along at high speed in parts.
The album also kicks off at a high speed with its opening energetic song “Next To You” which drives along like a bullet. Although I do not think personally that this is such a good song and is really only driving along at this high speed to try and rock things out and like many punk rock bands who also done the same sort of thing at this high pace only did so to try and make it rock. But potentially it just does not work I am afraid and will never rock like the music many rock bands did such as Deep Purple, Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin for example. It’s not a bad song but it does have a false pretence about it and fails to carry a lot of weight.
I could also say the same thing about “Truth Hits Everybody” and if I was looking for another track on this album that does stand out as a really good album track, that would certainly go to “Hole In My Life” which I do feel is up there with the potential the 3 singles had from the album and is a really good song. I quite like “Born In The 50’s” and that might be down to me being born in the 50’s and both “Peanuts” and “Be My Girl – Sally” are fun songs and are OK. The final track on the album “Masoko Tanga” is the longest track of them all and is perhaps more of a gap filler though it’s got some good rhythm to it and it is more reggae based, though I can take it in small doses.
Overall the bands debut album Outlandos d’Amour is far from a solid album and it’s not my favourite album of the bands either. It does however contain a few classics and my personal favourites from the album are “Roxanne” and “Can’t Stand Losing You” and I find it hard to separate them to make one more of a favourite than the other. I would not say it’s a bad album either and I have no problem putting it on and listening to the whole album without having to skip a track. But like most of the bands albums these days they very rarely get played and if I was to pull out an album of theirs to play this would not be my first choice.
Oddly enough the Rolling Stone magazine rated the album much later on as one of the best debut albums and in their poll, it reached number 38 out 100 of the best debut albums. In all honesty I have quite often found that magazine ridiculous and this album is nowhere near solid enough to even be considered as one of the best debut albums. My personal highlights from the album are as follows: “Roxanne“. “Can’t Stand Losing You“. “Hole In My Life” and “Born In The 50’s“.
Musicians & Credits…
Produced & Arranged by The Police. All songs written by Sting (except track 5. by Sting & Copeland and track 9 by Sting & Summers). Recorded between January – June 1978 at Surrey Sound Studios London, England. Recording Engineers Nigel & Chris Gray. Originally Mastered by Tony bridge. Art Direction by Michael Ross. Photography by Janette Beckman.
Sting: lead & Backing Vocals/Bass guitar. Harmonica (Track 2) & Butt Piano (Track 3)
Andy Summers: Guitar/Backing Vocals. Spoken Word & Piano (Track 9)
Stewart Copeland: Drums/Percussion/Backing Vocals.
Joe Sinclair: Piano (Tracks 4 & 10)
I See You’ve Sent My Letters Back And My L.P. Records And They’re All Scratched…
The album track listing is as follows: 1. Next To You. 2:52. 2. So Lonely. 4:49. 3. Roxanne. 3:13. 4. Hole In My Life. 4:49. 5. Peanuts. 3:55. 6. Can’t Stand Losing You. 2:59. 7. Truth Hits Everybody. 2:54. 8. Born In The 50’s. 3:41. 9. Be My Girl – Sally. 3:19. 10. Masoko Tanga. 5:40.
Lee’s Album Rating Score. 6/10.
The bands second album Reggatta de Blanc was released on the 2nd October 1979 and contained 11 tracks span over and overall playing time of 41 minutes, 50 seconds. The other members of the band had more on an input into the writing especially Stewart Copeland. However, the bands hit making potential always came from its main writer Sting who really was the brains of the outfit. It was also the hits off this album that Sting wrote that had catapulted the band into the limelight so to speak. However, it could also be said that the re-release of “Roxanne” earlier in the same year did draw a lot more attention to the band and certainly helped to increase the sales of their debut album.
Once again, the band decided to record the album at Surrey Sound Studios despite their record company A&M wanting to equip the promising band with a bigger studio and more famous producer. I am sure the band made the right choice too especially in that the small budget (between £6,000 and £9,000) was easily covered by the profits of their previous album, Outlandos d’Amour, further ensuring that the record label would have no control over the actual creation of the band’s music. This also relieved a lot of the pressure on the band.
The band recorded the new material for their second album from scratch and it only took around 4 weeks over a period of several months. However, during the recording sessions they did find themselves short on having enough new material to make the album, they even considered re-recording “Fall Out” at one point. Both Sting and Copeland had to dig through old songs they had previously written in their former bands and used other elements to create new songs with some of them. For example, a lot of the lyrics to “Bring On the Night” were recycled from Sting’s Last Exit song “Carrion Prince (O Ye of Little Hope)” and “The Bed’s Too Big Without You” similarly started as a Last Exit tune. They were that short for songs for the new album that they even used the B’ Side of the single “So Lonely” they wrote in the previous year which was “No Time This Time” as a gap filler to complete the album.
Despite the problems they had to come up with new and existing material to put their 2nd album together, Reggatta de Blanc was an instant smash upon its release and not only did the album hit number 1 in the UK Album charts but it also spurned out a couple of number 1 singles in the UK’s charts. The album proved both more popular and successful than its predecessor Outlandos d’Amour and in the following year of 1980 the albums self-titled track earned the band their first Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance.
The album’s title of Reggatta de Blanc is a pseudo-French translation of “white reggae”. There is no doubt that the music The Police were making was certainly a different breed of reggae in relation to where the music originated from. What this band were doing was giving it far more structure to the music by fusing elements of rock and pop into it. Even the chord structure of their songs was far more sophisticated than most of the 2-chord crap that was associated with 90% of the reggae music that surfaced from across the shores here in England in the early to mid 70’s.
The easiest way to cover any song is by doing a reggae version of it and you could do practically any song in 2 chords by doing so. This is why I despised reggae music so much and why it bored my pants off. To be honest the only way most reggae bands could play the smash number 1 hit that came off this album “Message In A Bottle” is by doing it in 2 chords and most would struggle like hell to play it how they play it. It’s quite sophisticated and a very well written structured song and it happens to be my all-time favourite song by The Police.
“Message In A Bottle” was my first real introduction to The Police and the first time I ever really took any notice of them, the moment I heard the second single “Walking On The Moon” which also hit number 1 here in the UK it very much made my mind up to go out and buy the album. To be honest I vaguely recall hearing “Can’t Stand Losing You” beforehand in the charts and although I quite liked it, it did not convince me to go out and buy their previous album at the time. I think if I had of heard “Roxanne” besides, it would have enticed me to buy Outlandos d’Amour but somehow that record completely avoided me hearing it on the radio.
By the time of the release of their 2nd album Reggatta de Blanc in 1979 The Police had ditched the punk rock scene and any ties they had with it. Gone were the 100 miles per hour songs that I thought did not do their debut album any real justice to make way for some better structured material. Although I would not say this album was solid by any means either and the couple of songs I feel that let it down are the inclusion of the last two tracks on the album “No Time This Time” and “Does Everyone Stare“. I would also say that “Deathwish” which was one of the two written songs by the band is not exactly anything to write home about either and is more of a filler. But apart from those I do feel this album does work more like an album with the material that was written for it.
Like I mentioned earlier I have always seen The Police as more of a singles band rather than an albums band and it is without doubt Sting’s writing that contributes to bands hits. But being an albums man myself I have never really seen an album of hits make a good album and that is why I stay clear of compilations and Greatest Hits albums.
Hit records are all well and good and no doubt in most cases they are best songs you will find on an album. But they can also be the songs you can get tired of hearing all the time and force you to skip them on the album so you can listen to something you do not hear as much. What makes the album Reggatta de Blanc work more like an album is the fact that other band members also had as much input in the writing as Sting and out of all 5 albums The Police made, this is the only album were the other members had something more to say.
Stewart Copeland’s contributions in particular make this album work more like an album and it contains some of the best material he has ever written for the band. “Contact” is an excellent song he wrote and more of a rocker than most of the bands songs and “On Any Other Day” is more of a fun song but nevertheless very well written. “It’s Alright for You” is more of your standard rocking song that he co-wrote with Sting but it works pretty well and sits well on the album. The albums self-titled track “Reggatta de Blanc” which was written by the band is a really GREAT! track and Copeland even chose it has the best Police record in the Modern Drummer magazine.
The other couple of songs that Sting wrote are very well written and “Bring On The Night” is up there with the couple of number 1 hits he wrote from the album and was in fact released as a single in the US, Germany and France. Though it was only in France that it made a dent and peaked at number 6 in the charts. “The Bed’s Too Big Without You” is perhaps one of the nearest songs The Police have been to reggae and in terms of a reggae song this is purely a classic and I personally think it’s a damn site better than anything that Bob Marley ever wrote in his life.
Overall, I do feel that the bands second album Reggatta de Blanc is only slightly marginally better than their debut album and it does tend to flow and run along and work more like an album in some respects. However, as an album it’s still not my go too album of theirs but it does contain my all-time favourite record of theirs and my personal highlights from the album are as follows: “Message In A Bottle“. “Walking On The Moon“. “Bring on the Night“. and “Contact“.
Musicians & Credits…
Produced & Arranged by The Police & Nigel Gray. All songs written by Sting (except tracks 7, 9 & 10. by Copeland. Tracks 2 & 5 by Summers, Sting, Copeland and track 3 by Sting & Copeland). Recorded at Surrey Sound Studios London, England between February – August 1979 (except track 11 recorded in 1978) Recording Engineer Nigel Gray. Originally Mastered by Tony bridge. Art Direction & design by Michael Ross. Photography by Janette Beckman (back cover) and James Wedge (front cover).
Sting: Lead Vocals (except tracks 2 & 7)/Bass & Double Bass/Backing Vocals & Bass Synth (Track 9).
Andy Summers: Guitar/Synthesizer (Tracks 1,6,9 & Piano Track 10)
Stewart Copeland: Drums//Backing Vocals/Lead Vocals (Tracks 7, 10 & Guitar Track 3).
Only Hope Can Keep It Together…
The album track listing is as follows: 1. Message In A Bottle. 4:51. 2. Reggatta de Blanc. 3:06. 3. It’s Alright For You. 3:13. 4. Bring On The Night. 4:16. 5. Deathwish. 4:14. 6. Walking On The Moon. 5:02. 7. On Any Other Day. 2:57. 8. The Beds Too Big Without You. 4:27. 9. Contact. 2:38. 10. Does Everyone Stare. 3:46. 11. No Time This Time. 3:20.
Lee’s Album Rating Score. 7/10.
The bands 3rd album Zenyatta Mondatta was released on the 3rd October 1980. The album contains 11 tracks spanned over and overall playing time of 38 minutes 22 seconds and once again the album hit number 1 in the UK Album charts and it produced another number 1 and a top 10 hit in the UK Singles charts. I have to say that with how music was changing by now with the new wave, romantics and electric retro hitting the scene it was good to see that The Police were still just as strong as ever without having to change their style to fit in and stay in the limelight so to speak.
Mind you they were not the only band to still fit in with how much music was changing when we hit the 80’s and Dire Straits were in every inch just as popular and in my opinion a much better band than The Police too and were more suited to my particular taste. Dire Straits also created music that had a lot more longevity about it and I can still play them a lot today, were as The Police made records that can easily wear out and appear to sound a bit more on the outdated side of things today.
Although the album was once again co-produced by The Police & Nigel Gray for tax reasons, they could not record the album at Surrey Sound Studios even though they would of liked to have done. So, they decided to drag Nigel Gray along with them to the Netherlands so they could record the album there. This cost them more money to make than their previous two albums did combined together and was made for around £35,000. However, that figure was still exceptionally cheap for someone who by now were well established stars.
The Wisseloord Studio in Hilversum, Netherlands was officially opened on 19th January 1978 by Prince Claus who was the husband of husband of Queen Beatrix and the Prince Consort of the Netherlands from Beatrix’s ascension in 1980 until his death from Parkinson’s disease and heart and respiratory ailments in 2002. The studios were founded by electronics company Philips, to enable their PolyGram artists to record in a professional environment. Initially there were three studios, nowadays there are four and a lot more has been developed and added to it.
In the early days the studios were mainly used by Dutch artists. Later, international musicians such as Elton John, Paul McCartney, Phil Collins, Scorpions, Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark, Def Leppard, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Tina Turner, U2 and many more have used the facilities. The studio is still running strong today and in 2010 it did close for a refurbishment and a major refit and these days it is much more than just a studio and it even has a writing campus.
The album is noted as being the last of the bands era regarding it’s style of fusing reggae and punk along with other musical elements though to be honest I don’t think the band ever really changed their style by any great margin at all. The material they wrote quickly too and would have been written whilst they were on their second live tour, much of it was recorded in 4 weeks. The band members have often expressed disappointment over it and it was down to them not being able to use the same studio and how they could only get to use the studios to do a couple of a songs at a time in between being on the road doing their live shows.
The bands third album Zenyatta Mondatta as always been my GOTO! album out all the 5 studio albums the band ever made. I think there are reasons for that too, and the first would be that even though most of the material was written by the bands potential hit writer Sting, most of the material he did write for the album was less commercial. The second reason is really down to the fact that a lot of the songs are way less commercial it makes the album work more like an album and more so than its first couple of predecessors. No doubt both “Don’t Stand So Close To Me” and “De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da” are the stronger written songs that stand out like hits, but the thing I like about the other songs Sting wrote is that they are not hit making material but still very well written songs that can say just as much in some respects.
Zenyatta Mondatta is the nearest album The Police ever got to be an albums band at this point in their career and it was more than a hit potential singles band and that is perhaps why it is my GOTO! album out of the bunch. What makes a good album is not the hits, those are the things you are most likely to skip because you have heard them more than the rest of the album tracks like I have mentioned before. Elton John’s Greatest Hits is never gonna be as good as his album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road for example. Simply because there are far better tracks on that album than the 4 singles that was released from it. I could say the same for Queen and many other artists and that’s why I do find most compilation albums boring.
However, when it comes to making very good albums personally I do not think The Police got it quite right like those artists I mentioned and many others. But this album is perhaps the nearest that they ever did. Besides the two hits Sting wrote for the album songs like “Driven To Tears” and “When The World Is Running Down, You Make The Best Of What’s Still Around” are really very good album tracks the first of those was one of the first politically themed songs The Police released, and the first that Sting wrote. But one of my particular favourites of his he wrote for this album is “Canary in a Coalmine“.
I also like “Man In A Suitcase” and that’s perhaps because I loved the TV Series from the 70’s starring Richard Bradford. Although the song does not pertain to that TV series. However, both “Voices In My Head” and “Shadows In The Rain” he also wrote are amongst my least favourable tracks on the album. The latter of those I thought he did much better on his first solo album The Dream of the Blue Turtles.
I personally do not think the couple of songs Stewart Copeland wrote were as good as the material he wrote for the bands second album Reggatta de Blanc. “Bombs Away” is another politically themed song that pertained to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan it was also recorded on a tape that Nigel Gray had just used with Siouxsie and the Banshees. “The Other Way Of Stopping” is an instrumental track and they are both not bad contributions and I prefer them to those couple of songs that Sting wrote.
I also quite like the instrumental track “Behind My Camel” which is the only writing contribution Andy Summers gave to the album. I think it would make a good theme for a TV series too and Sting hated the piece enough to even refuse to play the bass on it to which Summers had to play himself. It’s also said that whilst they were recording the album that Sting found the tape of it lying around and took it and buried it in the garden. Copeland was not that keen on the piece either but it was the first piece he had composed solely by himself during his career at the time and it even won a Grammy Award in 1982 for the Best Rock Instrumental Performance.
Overall, I would not say the bands third album Zenyatta Mondatta is any stronger than their second album Reggatta de Blanc regarding the written material that is upon both albums and the one thing The Police never did make in my personal opinion is a solid album. But there is just something about this album that draws me towards it more than their other albums, and it may be down to it sounding less commercial. My personal highlights from the album are as follows: “Don’t Stand So Close To Me“. “De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da“. “When The World Is Running Down, You Make The Best Of What’s Still Around“. “Canary In A Coalmine” and “Man In A Suitcase“.
Musicians & Credits…
Produced & Arranged by The Police & Nigel Gray. All songs written by Sting (except tracks 6, & 11. by Stewart Copeland and track 8 by Andy Summers). Recorded at Wisseloord Studio Hilversum, Netherlands between July & August 1980. Recording Engineer Nigel Gray. Originally Mastered by Marv Bornstein and Frank DeLuna at A&M Studios (Hollywood, CA). Art Direction by Michael Ross. Design by Michael Ross and Simon Ryan. Photography by Janette Beckman (front cover). Watal Asanuma, Miles Copeland and Danny Quatrochi (back cover).
Sting: Lead & Backing Vocals (except track 8)/Bass/Synthesizer.
Andy Summers: Guitar/Backing Vocals/Synthesizer & Bass (Track 8) Piano Track 4)
Stewart Copeland: Drums//Backing Vocals.
Strong Words In The Staff Room The Accusations Fly…
The album track listing is as follows: 1. Don’t Stand So Close To Me. 4:04. 2. Driven To Tears. 3:20. 3. When The World Is Running Down, You Make The Best Of What’s Still Around. 3:38. 4. Canary In A Coalmine. 2:26. 5. Voices In My Head. 3:53. 6. Bombs Away. 3:09. 7. De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da. 4:09. 8. Behind My Camel. 2:54. 9. Man In A Suitcase. 2:19. 10. Shadows In The Rain. 5:02. 11. The Other Way Of Stopping. 3:28.
Lee’s Album Rating Score. 7/10.
The bands 4th album Ghost in the Machine was released on the 2nd October 1981 and contained 11 tracks spanned over an overall playing time of 41 minutes, 15 seconds. The album done very well and spurned out 3 UK top 10 singles one of which hit the number 1 spot. The album also done very well hitting number 1 in the UK Album charts and it went on to go into multi-platinum sales in the US selling over 3 million copies. Once again it was down to the bands successful writer Sting who wrote most of the material and for the bands fourth album, they decided to make a few changes.
By now the band were looking to get a different sound and decided to no longer go along with the budget idea of making the album and it was also by now Hugh Padgham was one of the producers making quite a name for himself and one of the hottest producers around at that time in the 80’s. I have to confess that these days 90% or more of the production work Padgham did for many major artists and bands back in those days does sound today mostly outdated and that outdated that I can no longer play it.
He was credited for creating the gated reverb drum sound that was so prominently used on Phil Collins‘ single “In the Air Tonight“, to which became the template for much of the recorded pop drum sound of the 1980s. He had this idea that because the drums sound so deafening when close up to them being played that the drums should sound larger than life on the record. Every single production he did for both Collins and Genesis back in those days was what made them unplayable today. To even think this guy won several awards for his production skills is beyond belief. Although in all fairness his production work did work for some artists and I do think he done quite a good job on this particular album.
The new material for the album was recorded between January and September 1981 and the band recorded all but one of the tracks for the album at Air Studios located on the Caribbean island Montserrat. Montserrat is nicknamed “The Emerald Isle of the Caribbean” and producer George Martin fell in love with the island and decided to build the ultimate, get-away-from-it-all recording studio. AIR Studios Montserrat opened in 1979 and offered all of the technical facilities of its London counterpart, but with the advantages of an exotic location.
Many well-known artists used the studio and during the decade it ran for over 70 albums were made at Air Studios in Montserrat. The Police even recorded their final album Synchronicity at the studio. Dire Straits recorded their famous album Brothers In Arms at the studio too and Elton John used it to make 3 of his albums, the first of them being Too Low For Zero to which produced a couple of his hits “I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues” and “I’m Still Standing“. However, it was unfortunate that a decade later in 1989 whilst the Rolling Stones had just finished their Steel Wheels album that disaster struck and Hurricane Hugo devastated the island and the Montserrat facility was severely damaged and was forced to close.
Other artists who made their albums their included the likes of Ultravox, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, Paul McCartney, Marvin Gaye, Gerry Rafferty, Rush, Black Sabbath, Midge Ure, Little River Band, Duran Duran, Sheena Easton and more. Hurricane Hugo destroyed 90% of its structures. The building and its equipment were irreparably damaged. The buildings are still standing but their roofs are failing, leading to extensive damage to the floors of the accommodation area and inner part of the studio complex making them unsafe to walk on. The facility is now a modern ruin, and is closed to the public.
The band had touched on political themes with a couple of their songs from their previous album Zenyatta Mondatta and they were to touch on it more with the material that was wrote for Ghost In The Machine. Sting was inspired by the Hungarian British author and journalist Arthur Koestler and the title of the album was the title of one of his non-fictional books he wrote back in 1967.
One of the other interesting things I have just found out some near enough 40 years later about this album is to do with the albums artwork which was designed by Mick Haggerty. The front cover displays a 16 segment as seen below.
Ever since I brought the album on its release back in 1981, I had always seen the digits on the albums cover to be that of a display from a LED Calculator that had gone wrong or had been damaged. The fact that it had gone wrong very much reflected the albums title of “Ghost In The Machine” in the way of a Gremlin or Ghost getting into it causing it to malfunction. I would also say that my observation of how I seen the albums front cover was the most logical explanation as to what it represents.
I have to say the whole concept of what this 16-segment display was intended for is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard of. It’s said to represent the hair styles of the 3 band members and the band was unable to decide on a photograph to use for the cover at the time and settled for this graphic display of their hairdos. Sting’s hairdo is in the middle as he was the one with spiky hair. The album’s cover is ranked at No. 45 in VH1’s 50 Greatest Album Covers.
In all honesty I am pretty sure I could find 50 album covers done by Roger Dean that would absolutely wipe the floor with this album cover and to find out some 38 years later that the digits were supposed to be hairdos has me rolling on the floor in hysterical laughter LOL.. It has to be the stupidest thing I have ever come across :)))))).
As daft as a brush that the idea the band came up for the albums front cover artwork might sound, the album does sound a hell of a lot better and this is an album that I first noted for its bass drive and I very much used to use this as a reference album to test out the bass in my room when positioning the speakers for my HiFi back in those days. I have always nicknamed it the DUB album way before that genre came to light much later on and the bass on this album has more of a mass than any other album I have ever brought, and I have brought quite a few in my lifetime.
The bass drive on this album is to die for and it was not until 8 years later when Elton John released his 22nd album Sleeping With The Past in 1989 that I ever got to hear this same bass drive again and it was only ever on the 1st track of that album on a song titled “Durban Deep“. Still to this day no other album I have ever heard has this bass intensity as what this album and that track of Elton’s does. It’s so well controlled too in a way that it does not overdrive or override your HiFi system. I dare say there are other albums that have it and they most likely would come from reggae music which to me is more drum and bass and the fact that I do not like most forms of reggae music is why I have no other albums in my collection that have this intensive mass of a bass drive on them.
What used to draw me to play this album quite a lot back in those days was the bass more than anything, however once again this is an album where the 3 singles that got released off it are once again the best of the material on the album. The album also kicks off with all 3 of them which do give you the feeling that you are in for a good album. But the album does change its mood after those 3 opening hits and the right feel of how the album started off does not really return to the final 3 tracks on the album.
“Invisible Sun” was the first of the 3 singles to be released and it broke into the top 10 in the UK charts and only just missed the number 1 spot and reached number 2. “Spirits In The Material World” was the 3rd single to be released from the album and although it did not quite make the top 10 it did reach number 12 in the UK’s charts. Sting wrote the song on a Casio keyboard whilst he was in the back of a van and it’s also said the it was the first time; he had ever played a synthesizer before in his life. Well if that was the case, I rather find it strange that he was also credited for playing the synthesiser on the bands previous album that was released in the previous year. So, someone has their wires crossed.
The number 1 UK hit was the second single to be released from the album “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic” and this was the only track on the album that was not recorded in the Caribbean at Air Studios and was recorded at Le Studio, Morin-Heights, Quebec, Canada. Considering it’s the only song on the album that does have more of a Caribbean vibe and feel about, I find it strange why they went to Canada to record it. The song was originally a demo that Sting wrote back in 1976 and its notable for featuring a pianist (uncommon in Police songs) and the piano and keyboard arrangements were done by Jean Alain Roussel who was noted as a session player for many artists during the 70’s and 80’s and was perhaps more notable for his work with Cat Stevens.
The following 5 tracks “Hungary For You“. “Demolition Man“. “Too Much Information“. “Rehumanize Yourself” and “One World (Not Three)” are perhaps more reggae based than their norm in the way they generally fused it with other elements on their first 3 albums. Sting also contributes saxophone on these tracks too, although the sax is used more like an horn section than anything else.
“Hungary For You” he mostly sings in French and it’s quite a good track. “Demolition Man” is the longest track weighing in at some near enough 6 minutes and I personally prefer the version that Sting later went on to do or even the version Manfred Mann’s Earth Band did over this version. I know Grace Jones also covered the song and it was used in the film of the same title starring Sylvester Stallone and Wesley Snipes that was released in 1993 and it became a hit in that year too. “Too Much Information” is none too clever and “Rehumanize Yourself” penned by Sting & Copeland is something more along the lines of Bad Manners in some respects, and “One World (Not Three)” is perhaps the most REGGAEFIED! track on the album though it’s not too bad.
The final 3 tracks on the album are the better album tracks in my opinion and production and sound wise they are more fitting with the opening 3 tracks on the album. “Secret Journey” is the final song Sting wrote for the album is a very good song and was even released as a single in the US & Canada though not in Europe. Stewart Copeland’s “Darkness” was used as the B’-Side and is quite a good song too and so too is the only contribution Andy Summers contributed to the writing with “Ωmegaman” which is perhaps the rocker of the album. It was actually chosen by A&M to be the first single from the album, but Sting refused to allow its release in single form.
Overall, the bands 4th studio album Ghost in the Machine could have been the best album of material they ever put together. However, where it falls down is in the way the album actually flows and changes direction with the atmospheric sound to make it sound like all the tracks marry up and belong on the same album. It’s very much jarred by the way overall sound does sound completely different on tracks 4, 5 6, 7 & 8 in relation to tracks 1, 2, 3, 9, 10 & 11. The bass drive is the actual thing that holds it all together in the way that it does work and that effectively is the best thing about this album. My personal highlights from the album are as follows: “Spirits In The Material World“. “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic“. “Invisible Sun“. “Secret Journey” and “Ωmegaman“.
Musicians & Credits…
Produced by The Police & Hugh Padgham. All songs written by Sting (except track 7 by Sting & Stewart Copeland. Track 9 by Andy Summers and track 11 by Stewart Copeland). All songs recorded between Janury – September 1981 at at Air Studios, Montserrat except track 2 recorded at Le Studio, Morin-Heights, Quebec Canada. Recording Engineer Hugh Padgham. Originally LP Mastering by Ted Jensen. Remastered by Dave Collins & Bob Ludwig. Art Direction & design by Jeffrey Kent Ayeroff, Mick Haggerty, Vartan. Photography by Duane Michals.
Sting: Lead & Backing Vocals – Bass & Double Bass – Keyboards – Saxaphone.
Andy Summers: Guitar – Backing Vocals – Keyboards.
Stewart Copeland: Drums – Percussion – Keyboards – Backing Vocals (Tracks 5 & 11).
Jean Alain Roussel: Piano – Synthesizers (Track 2).
It’s A Big Enough Umbrella But It’s Always Me That Ends Up Getting Wet…
The album track listing is as follows: 1. Spirits In The Material World. 3:00. 2. Everything Little Thing She Does Is Magic. 4:21. 3. Invisible Sun. 3:44. 4. Hungary For You. 2:53. 5. Demolition Man. 5:58. 6. Too Much Information. 3:43. 7. Rehumanize Yourself. 3:10. 8. One World (Not Three). 4:47. 9. Omegaman. 2:48. 10. Secret Journey. 3:34. 11. Darkness. 3:17.
Lee’s Album Rating Score. 6/10.
The bands final studio album Synchronicity was released on the 17th June 1983. The original vinyl album came with 10 tracks and had an overall running time of 39 minutes, 49 seconds. However, both the Cassette and CD releases included the extra track “Murder By Numbers” to which is also not included on the CD in this box set. But they have included it on the bonus disc you get. The album was nominated for a total of 5 Grammy Awards in 1984 and won 3 of them including the album of the year. It was the bands most successful album selling over 8 million copies in the US and once again was produced by the band and Hugh Padgham.
Once again, the album was recorded at Air Studios Montserrat and all the overdubs were done at Le Studio in Quebec, Canada and the title of the album and much of the material Sting wrote for the album was inspired by Arthur Koestler’s book The Roots of Coincidence. The album was recorded between December 1982 – February 1983.
Le Studio was a residential recording studio set in the Laurentian Mountains near the town of Morin-Heights, Quebec, Canada built in 1972 by recording engineer and producer André Perry, Nick Blagona and Yaël Brandeis (who was Perry’s wife) and was later renamed Studio Morin Heights. André Perry gained fame as a recording engineer working for John Lennon. Along with the Olive Company he went on to develop one of the first recording consoles with motorized faders feeding two 24 track Studer’s synchronized to provide 48 tracks. He moved to Morin Heights, where he owned a lake, and built his studio there. The idea was to give recording artists a venue where they could record and live in a creative atmosphere, near the Laurentian Mountains.
The Canadian band Rush made most of their 70’s albums at the studio. Other notable artists to use it was David Bowie, Cat Stevens, The Bee Gees, Chicago and many others. Perry sold the studios in 1988 and in 2008 the studio had gone out of business, and as of 2015 the property was up for sale. In 2017 the building was partially destroyed by a suspicious fire and the residential area of the studio was completely destroyed.
As an album Synchronicity is without doubt the most solid album the band ever made and it’s also more like a proper album regarding the material that was written for it. By now The Police had ditched most of the traces of reggae that was associated with the 4 albums that came before it and even though the album produced 4 hit singles the rest of tracks are more like album tracks and are mostly very well written and very good. Even though this is not my GOTO! album of the band I do think it’s the best album they ever made, and “Every Breath You Take” is amongst the best hit songs Sting every wrote and is up there with “Roxanne” and “Message In A Bottle“.
Both “King Of Pain” and “Wrapped Around Your Finger” are also excellent well written hits and the 4th single release “Synchronicity II” is another really great song. But the other GREAT! thing about this album are also some of the album tracks and “Walking In Your Footsteps“. “O My God” and “Tea In The Sahara” are certainly amongst the best of them. The opening track “Synchronicity I” is also quite good and Sting’s writing on this album is pretty much solid. The weakest tracks on the album are the ones written by the other 2 band members though “Mother” penned by Andy Summers is quite funny and Stewart Copeland’s “Miss Gradenko” isn’t that bad either and there is not really anything remotely that bad on this album at all.
Overall, the album Synchronicity contains the strongest body of work that as ever been put on any of the bands albums it’s easy to see why they gained so much success and where at the ultimate height of their career when this album was released. It came as quite a shock when Sting decided to put an end to The Police whilst they were on top of the world and dominating the pop charts. The Police were one of the most successful pop bands of all time and very much went out on a high. My personal highlights from the album are as follows: “Every Breath You Take“. “Wrapped Around Your Finger“. “King Of Pain“. “Tea In The Sahara“. “Synchronicity II“. “Walking In Your Footsteps” and “O My God“.
Musicians & Credits…
Produced by The Police & Hugh Padgham. All songs written by Sting (except track 4 by Andy Summers and track 5 by Stewart Copeland). All songs recorded between December 1982 – February 1983 at at Air Studios, Montserrat & Le Studio, Morin-Heights, Quebec Canada. Recording Engineer Hugh Padgham. Mastering by Dave Collins & Bob Ludwig. Art Direction & design by Jeffrey Kent Ayeroff &Norman Moore. Photography by Duane Michals.
Sting: Lead & Backing Vocals – Bass & Double Bass – Keyboards – Drum machine & Sequencing (Track 1) – Saxophone (Track 3) – Oboe (Track 4).
Andy Summers: Guitar – Backing Vocals – Keyboards – Lead Vocals (track 4).
Stewart Copeland: Drums – Percussion – Marimba – Co-Lead Vocals (track 5).
Tessa Niles: Backing Vocals.
I’ll Be Watching You…
The album track listing is as follows: 1. Synchronicity I. 3:23. 2. Walking In Your Footsteps. 3:36. 3. O My God. 4:03. 4. Mother. 3:05. 5. Miss Gradenko. 1:59. 6. Synchronicity II. 5:03. 7. Every Breath You Take. 4:13. 8. King Of Pain. 4:58. 9. Wrapped Around Your Finger. 5:13. 10. Tea In The Sahara. 4:17.
Lee’s Album Rating Score. 9/10.
The bonus disc Flexible Strategies is an album that was included in both the vinyl and CD box sets of Every Move You Make. It’s also seen unofficial releases mainly from Russia since the vinyl box set was released back in 2018. Effectively it’s just a bonus album that features Non-Album B-Sides and the album consists of 12 tracks over an overall playing time of 43 minutes, 33 seconds. “Flexible Strategies” to which they have decided for the title of this extra album was the instrumental track that appeared on the B’-Side “Everything Little Thing She Does Is Magic” from the bands 4th album Ghosts In The Machine from 1981 and much of the material here goes back way further than that too and is an album were all 3 members of the band had more of an input in the writing rather than being mostly an album of tracks written mostly by Sting.
To be honest since having the box set I myself tend to play this album more than the others basically because I never had most of the material what you get here so it is all quite new to me even if it was made many years ago. I would not say the material was up to the heights in relation to the material that wound up on their albums but it certainly is an interesting album and well worthy of digging out and playing.
Some of the tracks on the album are very explicit and contain foul language and the album kicks off with “Dead End Job” which was co-wrote by Sting & Copeland. This song was performed live by the band before Andy Summers had joined them, however this recorded version was recorded when Summers had joined and Henry Padovani was no longer in the band. The original studio recording of the song was done when The Police were a 4-piece outfit in 1977. The version they included here was 40 seconds longer and recorded in January 1978 and was used for the B’-Side of “Can’t Stand Losing You“. It’s quite a raw powered and driven song and I love the banter at the end by Sting & Summers which is the explicit side of things.
“Landlord” was another song that was originally performed live before Summers had joined the band. This version however was recorded much later and is credited to all 3 members of the band and was used for the B’-Side of “Message In A Bottle“. it’s one of those songs that runs along at 100mph. “Visions Of The Night” was written by Sting back in 1977 and although this song was used for the B’-Side of “Walking On The Moon” it’s the only studio song which features all four members of The Police including Henry Padovani’s rhythm guitar. “Friends” was the B’-Side of “Don’t Stand So Close To Me” and was written by Andy Summers. He got the inspiration for the song from Robert A. Heinlein’s sci-fi novel Stranger in a Strange Land. It reminds me a lot of Ian Dury with how Summers puts it across with his speaking voice, it also has Sting chanting along in it like he does on “Synchronicity II“.
“A Sermon” was written by Copeland and was originally written for the band debut album Outlandos d’Amour but was left off the album. Eventually it found its way on the B’-Side of “De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da” in the UK and was also used for the B’-Side of “Don’t Stand So Close To Me” in the US. The instrumental track “Shambelle” was written by Summers and was used for the B’-Side of “Invisible Sun“. Like I already mentioned “Flexible Strategies” was the B’-Side of “Everything Little Thing She Does Is Magic” and that was credited to all 3 members of the band. It’s quite a funky little number too.
“Low Life” is a really GREAT! song and was written by Sting and he wrote the song in Hamburg whilst they were working on the bands second album Reggatta de Blanc. It’s my favourite song on this album and should have been an A’-Side in my opinion or included on the album at least. However, in the end it wounded up on the B’-Side of “Spirits in the Material World“. It also features Olaf Kübler on saxophone who can play the instrument a damn site better than Sting. “Murder By Numbers” was the B’-Side of “Every Breath You Take” it was also included on the Cassette release of the album Synchronicity and later on the CD release of the album, although it was omitted from the original vinyl release. The song was co-written by Sting & Summers.
The much slower version of the song from their debut album Outlandos d’Amour “Truth Hits Everybody (Remix)” was re-recorded during the sessions for their Synchronicity album in 1983. It’s a song the band toyed around with a lot and this version originally featured on the B’-Side of the maxi-single release of “Every Breath You Take” in the UK only. “Someone To Talk To” was written by Andy Summers and was used for the B’-Side of “Wrapped Around Your Finger” and the final track on the album “Once Upon A Daydream” was co-written by Sting & Summers and was the B’-Side of “Synchronicity II“.
Overall the bonus disc Flexible Strategies is a very welcoming inclusion to the box set and gives you a glances into some of the more earlier recordings the band did as well as some other songs that they recorded during the sessions they had putting all the material together for their 5 studio albums. For those like myself who were more album collectors this will feel like having a new album worth of material and even though the songs have been placed on the album in chronological order it still makes quite an enjoyable listen hearing them all put together like this.
It’s not a solid album by any means and after all this is a body of work of songs they were never really considered to put on an album in the first place and were mostly songs they wrote for the B-sides of their hit singles. But there is some really good songs here and my personal highlights from the album are as follows: “Low Life“. “Friends” “Dead End Job“. “Visions Of The Night“. “Murder By Numbers“. “Flexible Strategies” and “Someone To Talk To“.
No Rewards For Your Infatuation…
The album track listing is as follows: 1. Dead End Job. 3:35. 2. Landlord. 3:02. 3. Visions Of The Night. 3:06. 4. Friends. 3:36. 5. A Sermon. 2:32. 6. Shambelle. 5:10. 7. Flexible Strategies. 3:42. 8. Low Life. 3:45. 9. Murder By Numbers. 4:43. 10. Truth Hits Everybody (Remix). 3:47. 11. Someone To Talk To. 3:05. 12. Once Upon A Daydream. 3:34.
Lee’s Album Rating Score. 6/10.
Summary & Conclusion…
To sum up and conclude my review of Every Move You Make (The Studio Recordings) by The Police. I would say that it is a box set that gives you the chance to rediscover and capture the magic of this band all over again and its super low price point of around £16 – £18 gives you the perfect opportunity to do so. However, if you already have all their albums and even the Message in a Box: The Complete Recordings 4 Disc box set that was released back in 1993 this box set is not going to give you anything new apart from all the tracks being more up to date with the remasters.
Regarding the remasters which would of been done in 2018 I do feel they do sound quite good, although from what I can gather in many reviews for a better overall sound quality you might be better off sorting out the individual releases of the albums that was released on CD back in 2003. I would also say that the cardboard Digipaks that came with those earlier remasters were of better quality than the ones the albums come in this box set which are more on the thinner side of things with how they have been constructed and the print quality would of also have been much better.
I personally do not think these new remasters are better than the quality of the original vinyl albums I had when they came out and there has been some slight compression used on these new remasters though it’s not really over the top. I certainly would not lash out the extra bucks for the vinyl edition of this box set and they would have been remastered the same and you would be better off with earlier remasters or the original vinyl albums that got released when they originally came out. But once again for the price point of the CD box set you cannot really complain and the quality is certainly good enough and represents good value for the buck.
The Police were without doubt a truly GREAT! pop band that had their own unique sound which was much different to many pop bands and it was down to fusing reggae with pop and rock that gave them that distinctive style that stood out a mile from the rest. It was also Sting’s voice that also had those unique distinctive characteristics and his writing that made the band what they were and why he still continued to be just as popular and successful with his own solo career. They churned out many hits and they was without doubt more of singles chart-topping band rather than a band that made good solid albums with good album material on them apart from their final album Synchronicity.
They captured the limelight and was never ever really out of it and disbanded at the highest peak of their career. They made their mark and put their stamp on musical history and will never be forgotten. However the music they did write may have been more appreciated back in its day rather than how it stands in the longevity stakes certainly personally for myself and it was the fact that they was more of an hits band is why I personally could not play these albums as much today and it is perhaps down to that rather than their music sounding on the outdated side of things.
But I did enjoy revisiting the band again and this box set gave a bit more with the bonus album Flexible Strategies that was included in that most of the material on that I had never heard before. And at this price point its certainly worthy of every penny.
Lee’s overall Complete Box Set Value Rating…
The Box Set Presentation Rating Score. 9/10.
The Price Point Rating Score. 10/10.