Thursday, October 7, 2010

369. Regatta De Blanc. Not especially arresting music from The Police.


Album: Regatta De Blanc
Artist: The Police
Year: 1979
Genre: Rock

Tracks


  1. Message in a Bottle
  2. Reggatta de Blanc
  3. It's Alright for You
  4. Bring on the Night
  5. Deathwish
  6. Walking on the Moon
  7. On Any Other Day
  8. The Bed's Too Big Without You
  9. Contact
  10. Does Everyone Stare
  11. No Time This Time



369 sees another album by The Police which means another pretentious title and another collection of Sting's vocals. Regular readers of this blog might recall my previous reviews of Police albums which were less than complimentary. I reviewed their last album first and their first album later which leads us to their second album and the second last I'm going to review (that does make sense you just need to read it slowly). The good news is that Regatta is a much more enjoyable experience than the other two albums.

There are two hits on Regatta which anyone with a radio not locked onto a classical station has heard. There's definitely a sliding scale of fame as far as music is concerned. If I haven't heard of it then I think it's obscure. If my wife has heard of it then it's pretty much universally known. If my parents have heard it then it's Mozart. Walking on the Moon and Message in a bottle were both songs that my wife said she'd heard so they've definitely penetrated the cultural zeitgeist to some extent. Message in a bottle is a fairly pleasant listen. It's got a nice groove going and the "I hope that someone gets my..." line is Sting singing at his best. It's not at all high-pitched and grating. Sadly the same can't be said for the other single. Walking on the moon relies on the reggae beat The Police decided to rip off early in their career and it shuffles along like something that comes directly from Jamaica. Only without any of the charm. True reggae is usually augmented by the dulcet tones of an Afro-Carribean singer who lends their deep and sonorous voice to the instrumentation. Walking features the whiney screech of Sting which makes it sound like a Reggae song performed under the influence of helium. While the band lays down a bass-heavy groove which tickles the woofers, Sting gives your speaker's tweeters a work out which they didn't need or want.

While the rest of Regatta isn't as bad as Walking it's not as good as Message either. But it does have some good ideas which goes against the traditional grain of The Dreaded Second Album. Traditionally most bands release a debut which is described as "Long awaited". It's the long awaited debut from a new band who have been writing songs for years and perfecting them in clubs and bars around their hometown. They spend a lot of time writing and perfecting songs because they've got no money to do drugs and no females will sleep with them because they smell like the back of the touring van they spend most of their life in. After the first album goes stellar they're catapulted to a life of fame that involves huge gigs, a decent touring entourage and as many groupie boobs as they can snort cocaine from. Somehow the urge to write songs gets lost amongst the press interviews, TV Appearances, wild parties, huge gigs, music festivals and drug abuse. And the motivation that made them write music that connected with common people (near poverty, failed relationships, cheap pubs and unfulfilled lust) is replaced by experiences that only other rock stars can connect with (sycophants, aspiring models, promoters and celebrities). This will frequently lead to a case of The Dreaded Second Album Syndrome in which the band can't cobble together any songs good enough to compare with the hits they packed album one with. Lots of bands put out a great debut and then fall in a heap when required to come up with a follow up. Surprisingly The Police actually put a stronger set of songs on album two than they did on album one. There's nothing much here that suggests a dearth of ideas or a tendency to repeat themselves.

Possibly my favourite cut on the album is the title track. It's an instrumental, which is a definite bonus and it's a really good one. It's a chance to appreciate how talented the band are without being distracted by their lead singer who was actually quite a good bass player when he got going. This track reminds me of an Australian band called Spy V Spy who I've always said were criminally under rated and deserve more love. If you like this song then check them out. No Time This Time is a good rock and roll song and gets my vote for best undiscovered Police hit. Any Other Day however is the album's lowpoint and sounds like Stewart Copeland's selfless attempt to prove that Sting wasn' the most annoying singer in the band.

Regatta is the highest ranking Police album in the countdown so far and deservedly so. There's one more to go.

Highlight: No time This Time
Lowlight: Walking on the Moon.

Influenced by: Reggae and Rampant egos
Influenced: Simply Red.

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote: "This album has the honor of being one of the best air guitar albums ever,Honest just ask Rick " three dudes with no shirts" N. "

-That sentence started with a statement I disagreed with but rapidly became something I didn't understand.


Alors trouvez-vous Stin prétentieux ou tout simplement ennuyeux? Permettez-moi de savoir-dessous.

2 comments:

  1. Yeah a bit of love for Spy V Spy!! Don't tear it down one of the great Aussie pub rock songs. As for the Pleece, I like them and actually went to their last ever (liars) gig at the Melbourne Showgrounds in 1984 and it was excellent. Stings voice? Well its funny how a voice can get to you and anytime you hear it, it becomes the proverbial nails on the blackboard. For me it's Robert Plant. I like the instrumentation of Zeppelin but I hate the singing. Yeah I know its sacreligious to say that (did I spell it right) but thats how it is.

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  2. Maybe there's something wrong with me, but I happen to like Sting's helium-induced wailing! And yeah, solid album!

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