Home Read Classic Album Reviews: The Police | Remasters: Outlandos d’Amour / Reggatta de...

Classic Album Reviews: The Police | Remasters: Outlandos d’Amour / Reggatta de Blanc / Zenyatta Mondatta / Ghost in the Machine / Synchronicity / Live!

The superstar trio's catalogue returns crisply remastered — but with zero bonus fare.

This came out in 2003 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


For a band that just got into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, The Police don’t exactly boast a huge body of work — just five studio albums released between 1978 and ’83. Still, while their career may have been relatively brief, you can’t deny their impact on pop culture. Every one of the bottle-blond reggae-pop trio’s albums — all of which have just been remastered and reissued in swanky digipacks — contributed tracks to today’s classic-rock playlist.

Their debut Outlandos d’Amour and its 1979 followup Regatta de Blanc offered spunky, punky fare like Next To You, So Lonely, Roxanne, Can’t Stand Stand Losing You, Message In A Bottle and Walking on The Moon. The third and fourth outings, 1980’s Zenyatta Mondatta and ’81’s Ghost In The Machine, found them widening their worldview and deepening their scope with Don’t Stand So Close To Me, Driven To Tears, De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da, Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic and Spirits In The Material World. Even their 1983 swan song Synchronicity — an ironic title considering they were splintering at the time — produced King Of Pain, Wrapped Around Your Finger and the look-who’s-stalking anthem Every Breath You Take.

Sure, we’ve all heard these songs about 50 jillion times — but I doubt you’ve heard them sound quite as nice as they do on these spiffy new reissues. The pristine remastering enhances the separation, silence and interplay that were fundamental to The Police’s sound, allowing the listener a fresh perspective on all those tunes whose impact has been blunted by all that overexposure. And if you still want to hear different versions of the songs, you can go for their posthumous Live! double album, which bookends a club show from 1979 and an arena gig from 1983.

If these editions have a failing, it’s the utter lack of bonus material — no historical essays, no lyric sheets (save for Synchronicity), and none of the rare tracks that were included on their 1993 Message In A Box package. What gives? After all, The Police just got their reward. Don’t their fans deserve a little something too?