I’ve heard four out of the five Police studio albums, and I don’t find any of them particularly outstanding, but the trio were one of the best singles bands of their era. Throughout their tenure The Police produced a golden run of singles, from 1978’s ‘So Lonely’ and 1979’s sublime ‘Message in a Bottle’ through to 1981’s ‘Every Little Thing She Does is Magic’ and 1983’s ‘King Of Pain’. The trio of Andy Summers, Stewart Copeland, and Gordon Sumner, better known as Sting, had a tight and distinctive sound, shoehorning instrumental virtuosity into concise pop songs. Copeland is one of my favourite rock drummers, bringing his jazz background into a rock background, and his expertise on the cymbals is noteworthy. Veteran guitarist Andy Summers employs weird riffs and catchy solos, and while Sting is sometimes a figure of ridicule, he’s immensely talented as a songwriter, bass player, and vocalist.
This 1992 Greatest Hits collects all their signature hits and also includes the entire brilliant second side of Synchronicity, so you don’t need to sit through Andy Summers’ ‘Mother’ to get to gems like ‘Wrapped Around Your Finger’ and ‘Synchronicity II’.
It’s not quite perfect – I would trade ‘The Bed’s Too Big Without You’ for this overlooked track from 1981’s Ghost In The Machine: