ARTIST: The Police
TITLE: Zenyatta Mondatta
YEAR RELEASED: 1980
CHART ACTION: #5 US, #1 UK
SINGLES: Don’t Stand So Close to Me (#10 US, #1 UK), De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da (#10 US, #5 UK)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Driven to Tears, Man in a Suitcase
LINEUP: Sting, Andy Summers, Stewart Copeland
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: The Police truly breakthrough in the US with their most consistent album yet.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Unlike the first two Police albums, it seemed that every track here was thoughtfully written and crafted, and not something used to just fill out time. This included the two instrumentals, which did show the versatility of the band, and “Shadows in the Rain”, which is more of an excursion in dub than anything else.
The deep cuts reveal a lot about the band. The reggae influence was greater, as well as the political (with “Driven to Tears and the segue into “When the World Is Running Down…” plus “Bombs Away”). Even with Sting’s impressive bass work, the star on this album is Andy Summers, whose guitar lines tend to float above the fray and add a texture and style that was missing on some previous cuts.
What I don’t like is the structure of the album. The first side is definitely strong, but at the expense of side two which I think they could have shifted an instrumental with “Bombs Away” so that side doesn’t have two instrumentals and the dub excursion.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: “Behind My Camel”, Andy Summers’ instrumental, won a Grammy. Sting didn’t play on it.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No
GRADE: A-: Almost an “A” album, but for sequencing issues. It’s a quibble but I’m allowed.