Given the stupendous success The Police achieved by the mid-eighties, it’s hard to remember that they started out as a very fringe-y band.
Outlandos D’Amour in 1978 was a hoot – a demented lashup of punky reggae or reggae-y punk, infectious and madcap fun and impossible not to dance to. Reggatta De Blanc was more of the same, but more confident and less elliptical.
And so we – my music-geek pals in North Dakota, and music buffs in general – waited eagerly for The Police’s next effort, Zenyatta Mondatta.
And thirty years ago today, it came out.
And I reacted with a “huh?”
I had loved the first two albums.
And I would eventually like Ghost in the Machine, and especially Synchronicity.
But Zenyatta Mondatta, then as now, leaves me completely cold.
I was one of few, of course; the album made them superstars. “De Doo Doo Doo De Daa Daa Daa” and “Don’t Stand So Close To Me” were their first top forty hits in the US.
And it wasn’t because it didn’t showcase some really cool musicianship. Andy Summers was an amazing guitar player; Stewart Copeland was a tight, propulsive drummer. Sting was…
…well, Sting was a decent singer and a capable bass player. But he bugged me.
Now, the things that bugged me, the tics and voice and arrogance, would go on to make Synchronicity a great, great album four years later.
But on Zenyatta? It just bugged me.
And so I sat out the next year or two, Police-wise.
This week was still a great one, by the way. Stay tuned.