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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Music Retrospective: The Police - Synchronicity

Well, it’s finally here. Synchronicity was the Police’s final album. You may think that the title is a made up word, but you would be wrong. Synchronicity is defined as “the coincidental occurrence of events and especially psychic events that seem related but are not explained by conventional mechanisms of causality.” There’s a little trivia for ya! Anyway, the album was released in June 1983 and it was a hit. It spawned four singles. It was after this album where the band split up and went their separate ways.  It’s said that it’s their most popular album, but is it any good? Let’s find out, shall we?

Synchronicity

  1. Synchronicity I – The album starts out with a fast, synth-heavy song.  It’s definitely something you can sway to. From what I can tell, the song is about the definition of synchronicity. It talks about how everything’s connected and what not. Yes, I don’t get it, but at least the song is good to listen to. It’s definitely a good song to start out on.
  2. Walking in Your Footsteps – With this song, we leave the synthesizers at the door and adopt a bit of world music. The song is about everyone’s favorite subject: dinosaurs. Yes… it’s talking about dinosaurs and about how we are basically walking in what they’ve created. I also think that this could be applied to us walking in our ancestors’ footsteps as well. Either way, it’s a nice song. It’s not my favorite on the album, but it is good.
  3. Oh My God – The song is a pretty jazzed up song. It also marks the return of “Funky Sax!” If anything, the song could also be called “Funky Sax 2: Saxy Bugaboo.” Anyway, the song has a nice rhythm to it. It’s about... well, filling up the space or something. It seems like he’s basically begging God to show up in his life. I think it could also be talking about a long-distance relationship that needs some closeness and fixing up. We even get a call back to “Every Little Thing…” towards the end which is a little weird. It’s not the last time Sting does this in a song. We also get a weird, fever-induced saxophone solo at the end. Overall, it’s an okay song.
  4. Mother – Oh brother, it’s this song. Well, “hold on to your butts” because this is going to take a minute. It’s been said that it’s the worst Police song. I can’t say if it’s the worst, but I will say that it’s not the best song ever. The song has a Middle Eastern feel to it and it feels a little chaotic. It’s basically about a guy who has serious mother issues. Apparently, she can't leave him alone. He can’t even go out with women because they turn into his mother in the end. It’s safe to say that the dude has issues and I will say that the music does fit the lyrics here. Andy Summers, who wrote the song, sounds a bit crazed. All in all, it’s definitely the weirdest song on this album. It may be the weirdest song they’ve ever done. Yes, it’s even weirder than the one about a blow-up doll… which was also written by Summers.
  5. Miss Gradenko – This nice little relief is brought to you by Stewart Copeland. It’s the shortest song on the album and it might be the shortest song they’ve ever released clocking in at two minutes. It’s been said that it’s about an affair going on between two professionals. It’s got a nice beat to it and the guitar solo isn’t too bad either. Overall, it’s a nice, short song. It's not too special, but it does provide the ears something good to listen to.
  6. Synchronicity II – And here is another of my favorite songs. When it comes to this one, there’s a lot to like about it. The music kicks you in the butt as well as the crouch because it’s pretty good. I really like the guitar playing in this song. The song’s got a good groove. It's is about a man with a normal, mundane life and he is struggling to hold it all together. Throughout the song, it’s mentioned that something deep and hidden is coming. I’ve read that some people either think that the man goes crazy and kills his family or the Loch Ness Monster shows up at their house and eats them all at the end. Since those interpretations are freakin’ “Dark,” I’ve got my own interpretation: the guy either decides to take the family on a European vacation or he decides to open up more, I don’t know nor care. I do know that this is one of their best songs ever.
  7. Every Breath You Take – Here is the group’s best known song. It’s the first song of theirs I’ve ever listened to. It’s a really simple, nice song. It really doesn’t have much of the synthesizers blaring or anything. It’s well put together. The song has been known as the Stalker song and I can see why it gets that title. I can also see other ways to look at it. It could be about unrequited love, a failed marriage, an obsession of some sort, a parent/child relationship, straight-up PI business, or Big Brother/NSA government crap. Whatever the actual meaning the song is, I know that it is one of their best songs on the album.
  8. King of Pain – This song was also another hit off the album. I really like how it starts out. The music continues to build upon itself. From what I can gather, the song could be about some sort of pain going on in someone. It could be a physical thing or a mental thing. It’s not really stated.  All you need to know is that he is in pain and that not even his loved ones can bring him out of it. I like the interplay with the lyrics a lot with this one too. Overall, it’s a really good song.
  9. Wrapped Around Your Finger – Here is another hit and another one of my favorite songs from the Police. The music starts out slow and soft and builds up toward the end. The song talks about a servant learning from his master and eventually overcoming his master. Most of the lyrics refer to works of literature and myths. It’s been said that Sting was inspired by mysticism when writing this song. I don’t know how true it is, but it puts the song into context. Personally, I have always thought that it was about a relationship that revolved around only one person. Eventually, the other person in the relationship is able to get it to revolve around them… yeah, it’s a weird interpretation. Either way, this is an awesome song (I’m saying that a lot, ain’t I?).
  10. Tea in the Sahara – This song is one I rarely listen to. After the last four epic songs, you may feel a bit weary, but don’t worry because this song’s pretty interesting. This song is a story about three maidens who want to have tea in the desert with a prince. Unfortunately, he never shows up and the maidens are left there with sand in their cups. This is a nice song. It’s got a nice, slow, reggae feel to it. I believe it talks about unfulfilled dreams and broken promises. It’s not one of my favorites on the album, but it is a good, somber song.
  11. Murder By Numbers – The last song on the album is pretty weird. I’ll just say that right now. It’s about killing someone. It seems like it’s not just talking about serial killers, but it’s talking about killings via war, gang violence, and random violence. Even though the song has a dark feel, the music’s pretty cool. The song starts out with a tight beat from Copeland and the music just continues to get better from there. It’s got a nice, steady groove. It literally feels like a jazz session or something. All it needs is some “Funky Sax” to finish it off. All in all, it’s a good song to end this album on.

Best Song – That’s kind of tough because there are a lot of good songs on here. I’ll go with “Wrapped Around Your Finger” for this category. I know that it’s one of their best songs ever.

Weirdest Song – Guess which song made it here. I’ll admit that “Murder by Numbers” is not far from the spot, but the song for this album is “Mother” aka “MOTHER!!!” It’s definitely a “little black spot” on this album.

Don’t be shocked, but guess what? I thought this album was really good. In a way, the album feels like a culmination of everything they did beforehand. Each album built upon itself in terms of style and lyrics. Like the last one, this one feels like a mix of rock, jazz, and reggae. There’s even some world music thrown in for good measure. Every song except for one (Mother) is listenable and pretty good. The only thing that might bring this album down is the song “Mother” which is pretty… meh. I’ll go with “meh” for that loud piece of bad mashed potatoes!

Is it their best album? It might be. As I said before, just about every song on here is good. They each sound distinct and unique. The second half of the album is just full of pure awesomeness. Still, I’ll hold off the “Best Album” category for next time. I just want to make one last listen to all of their albums and then make a decision. I’m also going to re-do my favorites list. Since I have now listened to all of their albums, I believe it’s time to make a few changes. Well, I’m out. Peace, God Bless, and watch out for ‘ole “Nessie.”

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