Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Requested Review: "Outlandos d'Amour" by the Police

it's french. i know because i am fluent in the language

Tonight's review from blogfriend Nick Stevens is a doozy, folks. And by "doozy" I mean "a really easy review of an album I really like by a band I already really like."

Let me explain. Mr. Stevens, like Mr. Coryea before him, gave me a few options for albums to review. One was Van Morrison's Astral Weeks, an album I love but one that I know just a little too well. Maybe the stuff of a future review, why not? Another was Cat Stevens' Teaser and the Firecat (or was it Tea For The Tillerman? I'm too lazy to look it up) but, y'know, I'm not always in the mood to "mellow out" with Mr. Yusuf Stevens. The last, of course, was the album you can see in the title of this post. And in the large album cover photo I am sure I have posted at the top of this page, with those three fresh young faces with unusually blotchy blond hair. I figured, by now, I've reviewed plenty of requested bands I don't know anything about - why not review a band I already know and really like, for once?

To be honest, though, the only Police album I had in my possession before Outlandos D'Amour was Zenyata Mondatta. It's a great album, but, you know - that was the only Police album I had. They had a lot of albums. What if I hated everything else they recorded? What if Zenyata was their only decent album and nobody bothered to tell me?!?

But of course, none of that is true. Outlandos is a really good album. I honestly don't have too much to say about it 'cause - c'mon, in the Police. C'monnnnn. So what I will do is take the same cop-out route I took for the Appetite For Destruction review and go over my thoughts point-by-point. This will be easier for you to read - and more importantly, easier for me to write, because I am lazy and tired.

- This was the Police's debut album, from '78. As such, they sound like a group of peppy young bucks playing punk-pop new wave on the fan-tahstic opening track "Next To You." It is a song that will get you on your feet and make you groove 'round and 'round!! Then "So Lonely" comes on and you're realizing that you're actually listening to a reggae band. WAAAAT

- Speaking of that "new wave" label: I would only apply it to a few songs. The rest are reggae-influenced punk-pop, but not quite "new wave." The new-wavey songs are the aforementioned "Next To You," "Peanuts," "Can't Stand Losing You," "Truth Hits Everybody," "Born In The 50's," and "Be My Girl - Sally."

- Actually, that's most of the songs on here, isn't it? Shit.

- "Roxanne" is on here too, but I'll be fucked if I'm gonna talk about that one. WHAT COULD I POSSIBLY SAY??

- "Born In The 50's". Let's talk about that one. This track in particular gets singled out as one of the weakest on the album, at least in most of the reviews I've read. It's not a bad song - musically, I enjoy it - but I will admit that the lyrics are a little preachy, and Sting's raspy vocal delivery in the verses makes it sound like he's trying too hard to be righteously angry. Also - and get ready to be shocked, readers, 'cuz I just found this out - Police guitarist Andy Summers wasn't "BORN! BORN IN THE FIIIIIFTAYES" at all! In fact, he was born in 1942. 1942. To put that in context, the man is the same age as Paul McCartney and Brian Wilson, and about a full decade older than the rest of the band. And here he is, the old fussbudget lost in a sea of swarthy young punks. In fact, before he joined the Police (and, coincidentally enough, when he was around the same age that the rest of the band were on this album) he played on one of those later-period psychedelic Animals albums, his only appearance on record before Outlandos. Fun facts all around!!

- Speaking of Mr. Summers, his out-of-fucking-nowhere monologue in the middle of "Be My Girl - Sally," which seems to be a whimsical tale about marrying a blow-up-doll, has to be one of the most un-Police-like moments I have ever heard on a Police album. What is wrong with you, you randy old hippie?? The rest of the song is pretty basic pop rock, but made a hundred times more interesting by that interlude.

- "Can't Stand Losing You" is not only catchy as heck, but it's funny! REAL funny. Something tells me they lost their sense of humor right quick once they became more and more popular, but who am I to say?

- I definitely prefer the poppier, more rockin' numbers to the slower reggae stuff. I mean, they do reggae just fine, but how can you deny that rock-solid pop songcraft?! You just can't. It does bother me a slight bit that it takes the album a little while to regain its momentum after the epic opener "Next To You" - after hearing such a fast-paced rocker, I expect (nay, DEMAND) more of the same! Goddamn you, Policemen, for being so diverse!!

- That's it. In all honesty, I just found out that the Flaming Lips' new album Embryonic is streaming on the Colbert Report site, and I am considering staying up for another hour tonight just to hear the whole thing. The stuff of a future review, I'm sure!

- Shit, I'll review it right now, if you want me to. Right in the middle of a Police review, the new Flaming Lips album, reviewed in its entirety, track by track! Jeez, isn't that exciting and unexpected?? Never know what's gonna pop up in the well-renowned "WHAT IS THIS SHIT" music blog.

- No. No. I'm going to sleep.

- I'm not proofreading this.

-UPDATE 9/17/09:, alright, I'll proofread it.

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