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The Police | Every Move You Make: The Studio Recordings

The reggae-pop trio's first box set in a generation is comprehensive but not flawless.

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WHO ARE THEY? Singer-bassist and Tantric sex enthusiast Sting, drummer/nemesis and token American Stewart Copeland and inoffensive middle-man guitarist Andy Summers — AKA the biggest British band of the late ’70s and early ’80s (as evinced by the massive hoopla over their brief reunion tour in 2007). AKA the trio that introduced reggae-pop to the masses. AKA your mom’s favourite group. AKA the thing that paid for Sting’s Tuscan estate.

WHAT IS THIS? The first comprehensive collection in 25 years, Every Move You Make is a six-disc box housing newly remastered versions of all their studio albums — Outlandos d’Amour (1978), Reggatta de Blanc (1979), Zenyatta Mondatta (1980), Ghost in the Machine (1981) and Synchronicity (1983) — plus a sixth disc of non-album B-sides (many penned by Summers and Copeland, who often found their quirkier tunes overshadowed by Sting‘s bulletproof pop-chart juggernauts).

WHAT DOES IT SOUND LIKE? Good — though perhaps not quite as good as it should. These new remasters tighten up the bottom end of the mix noticeably, which leaves some tracks feeling a bit thin and top-endy. Still, it’s nice to have nearly all the tunes in one place. Though it does seems petty for them to leave off Fall Out and Nothing Achieving from their first single with original guitarist Henry Padovani.

WHAT SHOULD IT BE TITLED? Arresting Development.

HOW SHOULD I LISTEN TO IT? Paired with indie-rock singer-guitarist Juliana Hatfield‘s tellingly titled recent tribute disc Juliana Hatfield Sings The Police.

WHAT 10 WORDS SUM IT UP? Nostalgic, familiar, crowdpleasing, punky, poppy, speedy, stylish, groundbreaking, comprehensive, energetic.

WHAT ARE THE BEST SONGS? You can sequence your own greatest-hits playlist, so let’s talk bonus tracks: For my money, earlier, punkier firecrackers like Dead End Job, Landlord and Visions of the Night are the real prizes here. Of course, those who prefer proficiency over propulsion may gravitate towards later, jazzier fare like Flexible Strategies, Low Life and Murder by Numbers.

WHAT WILL MY FRIENDS SAY? ‘Really? They made five albums and didn’t leave a single unreleased studio track in the vault?’

HOW OFTEN WILL I LISTEN TO IT? Assuming you aren’t already sick of hearing them on your local oldies station, it’s worth reminding yourself every now and then how good these guys actually were.

IF THIS ALBUM WERE A PRECIOUS METAL, WHAT WOULD IT BE? Solid platinum.

SHOULD I BUY, STREAM OR STEAL IT? Nobody really has to own all The Police albums — but everybody really should.