[Review] The Police: Synchronicity (1983)

The Police are up for one final shootout before opting for early retirement.

Kronomyth 5.0: Jung and the restless.

Okay, so Sting holding a book by Carl Jung is the very definition of pretentious, I’ll give you that. But c’mon, critics: How can you give Synchronicity—an album that sold eight million copies in the US alone—three out of five stars? (You’d think they were pootin’ those stars out of their own stingy hiney holes.) Synchronicity is a great album by a great band that I admire greatly. And “Synchronicity II” is a great song. I even like the contributions from Andy Summers (“Mother,” which would have felt at home on a Robert Fripp album) and Stewart Copeland (“Miss Gradenko,” best thing he’s done since Klark Kent).

It’s the second side of the album, the Sting “solo” side if you will, that usually gets all the attention. At the time, I didn’t much appreciate being bombarded with “Every Breath You Take” every ten minutes, but these days even I have to admit it’s a brilliant ballad. “King of Pain” and “Wrapped Around Your Finger” are also terrific, the latter ushering in the literate, romantic age of Sting (“Fortress Around Your Heart” et al).

Although many critics will tell you the first side is uneven, I think the second side is too even. Not a lot of agitation, just gauzy guitar textures (apparently, Summers was still under Fripp’s hypnotic spell) plus some unremarkable drumwork from the normally fiendish Copeland. And for all the talk of filler, only “O My God” and “Tea in the Sahara” are dispensable in my book. I see Synchronicity as a mature, complex album from The Police that might be the smartest record seven out of those eight million Americans ever bought.

Original elpee version

A1. Synchronicity I (3:23)
A2. Walking in Your Footsteps (3:35)
A3. O My God (4:00)
A4. Mother (Andy Summers) (3:03)
A5. Miss Gradenko (Stewart Copeland) (2:00)
A6. Synchronicity II (5:04)
B1. Every Breath You Take (4:13)
B2. King of Pain (4:59)
B3. Wrapped Around Your Finger (5:12)
B4. Tea in the Sahara (4:11)

CD reissue bonus track
11. Murder By Numbers

CD re-reissue bonus video track
12. Every Breath You Take (video)

All songs written by Sting unless noted.

The Players

Stewart Copeland, Sting, Andy Summers. Produced by Hugh Padgham and The Police; engineered by Hugh Padgham.

The Plastic

Released on elpee, cassette and compact disc on June 1, 1983 in the UK and the Netherlands (A&M, AMLX/CMX-63735), the US (A&M, SP/CS/CD-3735), Australia and New Zealand (A&M, RML/RMC-53102), Israel (A&M, AMLH-63735), Japan (A&M, AMP-28075) and Mexico (A&M, LPR-73017) with lyrics innersleeve. Reached #1 on the UK charts and #1 on the US charts (RIAA-certified 8x platinum record).

  1. Re-issued on elpee in 1986 in Japan (A&M, C28Y-3031).
  2. Re-released on expanded, remastered gold disc in 1992 in the US (Mobile Fidelity, UDCD-511) with one bonus track.
  3. Re-released on expanded, super audio compact disc in 2003 in the UK (A&M, 493647) and the US (A&M, 069493606) with one bonus track.
  4. Re-released on expanded, remastered 200g vinyl elpee in 2007 in Japan (Universal, UIJY-9029) with one bonus track.
  5. Re-issued on expanded compact disc in 2007 in Japan (Universal, UICY-93193) with one bonus track.
  6. Re-released on 180g vinyl elpee in 2008 in the UK (A&M, 0082839373517).
  7. Re-released on expanded, super-high material compact disc in 2008 in Japan (Universal, UICY-93838) with 2 bonus tracks.
  8. Re-issued on expanded, SHMCD in 2009 in Japan (Universal, UICY-91410) with 2 bonus tracks.

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