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Synchronicity (Remastered 2003)
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Track Listings 1. Synchronicity 2. Walking In Your Footsteps 3. O My God 4. Mother 5. Miss Gradenko 6. Synchronicity II 7. Every Breath You Take 8. King Of Pain 9. Wrapped Around Your Finger 10. Tea In The Sahara 11. Murder By Numbers
With the release of 1983's Synchronicity, their fifth and final studio album, the Police were briefly the biggest rock band in the world. As such, it's a suitably overblown representation of their stature. Gone are previous albums' love ditties set to danceable Caribbean pop and new wave; in their place are the pretentious conceptualism of the title, the grand strokes of chart-friendly drama, and rock-star brooding found in the record's three top-ten hits, "Wrapped Around Your Finger," "King of Pain," and the undeniable classic, "Every Breath You Take." The newfound seriousness spurred multiplatinum sales, convincing Sting it was time to go solo. --Roni Sarig
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With the title in mind, the song and album theme borrows from and elaborates on Jung's psychology work. Sometimes two parallel events do collide at an opportune time. How else does one explain "Every breath You Take" as a popular romance ballad?
"Synchronicity I" leads off, an up-tempo number with excellent intensity, powerful drums and guitar washes. "We share this nightmare."
"Walking in Your Footsteps" is full of atmospheric guitars and primal drumming to explore themes like dinosaurs and early hominids...and modern ones. Spare yet full of sound.
"O My God" has a groove that harkens back to "Zenyatta Mondatta" and is notable for an instance of Sting recycling lyrics from "Every Little Thing She Does is Magic."
"Mother" is a bizarre, irritating song featuring Andy Summers on vocals, with a Norman Bates type theme. One could imagine this being played over and over during a fraternity hell week to drive pledges bonkers.
"Miss Gradenko" is Stewart Copeland's contribution, with his usual wry lyrics. "They were in a policy meeting, planning new ways of cheating..."
With "Synchronicity II" the disk really takes off. The instrumental dynamics are superb and there are dual stories of a nightmare suburban/corporate existence and something happening 'many miles away...' Great vocals by Sting.
"Every Breath you Take" is the track that sent this one skyrocketing, along with the famous black and white video. Spare guitar and keyboard lines along with pulsing bass and drums, with lush dynamic choruses make this a classic. The funny thing is that this is basically a song about a stalker, but people play this at their weddings. More great vocals by Sting.
"King of Pain" features some of Sting's best lyrical imagery yet, excellent instrumental dynamics and a memorable chorus.
"Wrapped Around Your Finger" is another gem, full of atmospheric guitars and keyboards, and Copeland's best drumming on the disk.
"Tea in the Sahara" is an underrated gem, featuring more cool guitar work and references to "beneath the sheltering sky" and exotic desert landscapes.
"Murder By Numbers" is a darkly comic song about committing the perfect murder, even taking out your entire family, and turning it into art.
Buy this one as your introduction to the band and work backward, or move forward through the solo work of Sting, Copeland and Summers.
Top international reviews
This was their last album and it sounds very mature for a band that is often (bafflingly after listening to this album) labelled Punk! Melody is king here, and experimentation a close second. There are guitars, there are synths, there are lots of instrumentation, but they are all mostly in the background and there are also some weird effects that pop up every now and then, see 'Walking In Your Footsteps.'
The highlights are of course 'Every Breath You Take,' 'King of Pain,' and, well, take your pick. There isn't a bad song here really, though 'Mother' is very much a black sheep here and quite a jarringly weird one at that. It's totally at odds with the rest of the tracks and sounds like King Crimson soundtracking a man with Oedipus Complex having a meltdown! Which is pretty close to what it is, so I guess...that makes it a success story!?
'Synchronicity,' has a cool electronic synth riff that leads the song and its sequel is also great and are among the most upbeat songs on the album.'Murder By Numbers' is a cool, laid back, almost bluesy closer with (like most of the songs) deceptively dark, twisted subject matter.
Production is flawless, as are the vocal lines/melodies carrying each song. The lyrics book has all the lyrics and the packaging is very tasteful indeed and iconic to most. The album is also surprisingly short, and there is absolutely no excess fat/filler, nothing drags on longer than it should.
Only loses one star because of my personal taste. I feel it lacks tempo sometimes and all the songs are pretty close to being the same bpm, or at least it feels that way to me. I would've liked them to give their more upbeat past a nod, but that's just my opinion. Fantastic and classic album though, and one I may just give back it's missing star with more listens.
The album opens explosively with the title track (part 1) them immediately slows down for the 'tribal' sounding Walking in Your Footsteps. The next 3 tracks are the low point of the album with Mother being the lowest point in my opinion. Synchronicity II brings us back on par - it's a stonking good track that pumps its slick guitar lick down your throat and makes you want to dance and sing. The other three singles from the album follow and these 4 tracks are the highlight before the album closes off with the pleasant but not wonderful Tea in the Sahara and Murder by Numbers. I have a 1987 CD not the remastered version, and having heard the remaster I'll happily stay with my old 'original' CD.
I remembered this as my least favourite of their albums, and it certainly has some (for me) forgettable tracks - I could certainly live without the title track, and Mother is just a mess. But "Walking In Your Footsteps" is wonderful, as is "King of Pain". Add to that the hits "Every Breath You Take" and "Wrapped Around Your Finger", there is far more to enjoy here than not.
A nice surprise was the old B-Side "Murder By Numbers", which my vinyl copy did not have. This actually sounds far more like contemporary Sting than the rest of the album, although I know it was recorded around the same time as the rest of the album.
Don't know why they left this one track on the album must have been the stress.