Friday, September 1, 2017

The Police - All Songs Ranked Best to Worst

I grew up listening to the Police. My dad had Synchronicity on tape and I borrowed it from him so much that he finally just let me have it so I'd leave him alone (a move I totally get now that I'm a dad). I was sitting at home one night feeling bored and decided to re-listen to all five Police albums and rank each song. Here are some things I learned:

Stewart Copeland (drums) and Andy Summers (guitar) are the best in the business at their respective instruments. Also, if you watch or read any interviews, they are clearly nicer, humbler dudes than Sting by a very large margin. What I mean to say is: I like them much better than Sting. However, some of the songs they wrote are awful and are far down on the list. Part of it is their songs sound more like novelty songs with silly lyrics and gimmick-y premises.

I have to hand it to Sting: he writes relentlessly catchy songs. However, I don't think enough people recognize the contributions of Copeland and Summers which take each of Sting's songs from "good" to "amazing." None of Sting's solo stuff has ever been as good or successful. 

Sting is a very pretentious as a lyricist, trying to cram in as many literary and Psych 101 references as he can, whether it works or not.

Andy Summers was the original Tom Morello. He has the best effects and offbeat solos and probably never really got his due as the genius he is.

I averaged the rating for each song on each album and the album ranking (lower album number means higher song ratings) came out like this:
  1. Synchronicity - 23.09090909 
  2. Outlandos d'Amour - 23.3 
  3. Zenyatta Mondatta - 25.90909091 
  4. Ghost In The Machine - 32.18181818
  5. Reggatta de Blanc - 35.09090909
That's pretty consistent with what I found as I listened. Each album has the killer songs we all know, but a lot of the deep cuts are pretty mediocre. One music critic said of the Police, "Once you skim off the hits, you're left with uninspired though well-crafted filler," and nowhere is that more true than Regatta de Blanc. Weak ideas and even riffs recycled from Outlandos get stretched painfully thin into "songs." Zenyatta Mondatta has similar problems. To be fair, they were making these albums at a crazy fast pace.

My main beef with Ghost In The Machine is the saxophone. Some time before it was recorded, Sting taught himself how to play and the album is polluted with layers upon layers of middling saxophone that hurts my spine to listen to.

My favorite songs are on Outlandos d'Amour because it captures the Police in their first moments of combining punk rock and appropriated reggae, and the sound is exciting and bouncy. For best album, Synchronicity stands out because it all works together so well as an album you can sit down and listen to front to back.

Here are the songs ranked best to worst:


RANKTitleWriterAlbumSingle
1"Roxanne"StingOutlandos d'AmourY
2"Message in a Bottle"StingReggatta de BlancY
3"Don't Stand So Close to Me"StingZenyatta MondattaY
4"Can't Stand Losing You"StingOutlandos d'AmourY
5"So Lonely"StingOutlandos d'AmourY
7"Man in a Suitcase"StingZenyatta MondattaN
8"Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic"StingGhost In The MachineY
9"Walking on the Moon"StingReggatta de BlancY
10"Synchronicity I"StingSynchronicityN
11"Every Breath You Take"StingSynchronicityY
12"Spirits in the Material World"StingGhost In The MachineY
13"De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da"StingZenyatta MondattaY
14"Next to You"StingOutlandos d'AmourN
15"Miss Gradenko"CopelandSynchronicityN
16"King of Pain"StingSynchronicityY
17"Truth Hits Everybody"StingOutlandos d'AmourN
18"Secret Journey"StingGhost In The MachineY
19"Wrapped Around Your Finger"StingSynchronicityY
20"Masoko Tanga"StingOutlandos d'AmourN
21"Invisible Sun"StingGhost In The MachineY
22"Synchronicity II"StingSynchronicityY
23"Walking in Your Footsteps"StingSynchronicityN
24"Canary in a Coalmine"StingZenyatta MondattaN
25"O My God"StingSynchronicityN
26"Tea in the Sahara"StingSynchronicityN
27"Bombs Away"CopelandZenyatta MondattaN
28"Driven to Tears"StingZenyatta MondattaN
29"Does Everyone Stare"CopelandReggatta de BlancN
30"Hungry for You (J'aurais toujours faim de toi)"StingGhost In The MachineN
31"Too Much Information"StingGhost In The MachineN
32"Behind My Camel"SummersZenyatta MondattaN
33"Born in the '50s"StingOutlandos d'AmourN
33"Murder by Numbers"Summers, StingSynchronicityN
34"Bring on the Night"StingReggatta de BlancY
35"The Bed's Too Big Without You"StingReggatta de BlancY
36"It's Alright for You"Sting, CopelandReggatta de BlancN
37"When the World Is Running Down, You Make the Best of What's Still Around"StingZenyatta MondattaN
38"Voices Inside My Head"StingZenyatta MondattaN
39"Shadows in the Rain"StingZenyatta MondattaN
40"Ī©megaman"SummersGhost In The MachineN
41"Peanuts"Sting, CopelandOutlandos d'AmourN
42"No Time This Time"StingReggatta de BlancN
43"Hole in My Life"StingOutlandos d'AmourN
44"Rehumanize Yourself"Sting, CopelandGhost In The MachineN
45"Demolition Man"StingGhost In The MachineN
46"The Other Way of Stopping"CopelandZenyatta MondattaN
47"Darkness"CopelandGhost In The MachineN
48"Contact"CopelandReggatta de BlancN
49"On Any Other Day"CopelandReggatta de BlancN
50"Deathwish"Summers, Sting, CopelandReggatta de BlancN
51"One World (Not Three)"StingGhost In The MachineN
52"Reggatta de Blanc"Summers, Sting, CopelandReggatta de BlancN
53"Be My Girl – Sally"Sting, SummersOutlandos d'AmourN
54"Mother"SummersSynchronicityN