The Police’s debut album, Outlandos d’Amour, not only made the band a household name but also left another name in infamy. “Roxanne” is the third song on the album and is one of the group’s biggest hits.
It is told from the perspective of the lead singer, Sting, after he falls in love with a prostitute from the red light district. The song follows suit of the entire album as it incorporates elements of reggae, pop, punk and rock as Sting begs Roxanne not to “put on the red light.”
Throughout the album, The Police continued in this style by effectively utilizing a variety of types of music into each of their songs. “So Lonely,” maintains this pattern with a punk rock feel in the chorus, while including more elements of reggae throughout the verses. The way that the song seamlessly shifts from two such versatile genres displays the genius of the album.
Through incorporating all of those different genres of music into the album in a way that sounds and feels natural, The Police successfully created their own genre and signature sound.
More of this reggae-tinged, spattered with punk and rock feel can be found throughout the album, but is especially prominent in “Can’t Stand Losing You.” Once again, they kept the chorus punk rock, with reggae throughout the verses. Then in the closing song, “Masoko Tanga,” they take the reggae feel to another level, as reggae dominates the instrumentals of the song with no punk or rock elements to be found.
Even through this inclusion of reggae, the album as a whole was largely based in punk rock. One of the heaviest punk-influenced songs on the album is the opening song, “Next To You.” The hard rock, angry tones and fast pace of the lyrics come together in a way that can only be called punk.
“Truth Hits Everybody” is a song that has mainly punk influences as well, with its heavy guitar strumming as Sting belts out, “Take a look at my new toy, it will blow your head in two, oh boy.”
Although at times the lyrics tend to repeat and are not always the most thought provoking, the group still manages to make songs that are memorable and meaningful.
Other songs on the album, such as “Hole in My Life,” “Peanuts,” and “Be My Girl – Sally,” follow in a similar pattern, with punk rock dominating as the principle influence.
A novice would never expect that Outlandos d’Amour was the first album that The Police recorded as a group. The way each song masterfully transitions into the next and the expert experimentation across different genres, not to mention how wonderfully catchy the songs are, is something that can take years and multiple albums for bands to achieve.
Being able to realize all of this in their first album, it is not a wonder that The Police rocketed to the level of success that they did.
The album as a whole comes together impressively, moving from song to song with an enjoyable well-flowing ease.
Following the release of Outlandos d’Amour, The Police went on to release four more albums before they disbanded in 1986.
The band members continued to make music, each with their own solo career. Sting went on to have the most successful career as a solo artist. Guitarist Andy Summers recorded both solo albums and albums with groups, as well as drummer Stewart Copeland, who also produced a number of TV and movie albums.
Even though the group was no longer making new music together, that did not stop them from getting together and performing. Both Copeland and Summers were invited to Sting’s wedding where the group did an impromptu performance together for the wedding guests. They also played together again in 2003 when they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Then in 2007 the group embarked on a reunion tour, commemorating the 30th anniversary of the formation of The Police. The tour was a hit and was listed as the third highest grossing tour of all time.
Reviewer: Maisie Sackett
IRC: Lucy Patton
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