The Police (1978)
Along with Talking Heads, the Police basically started post-punk and new wave. The former band was a bit more innovative and adequate, but these guys were wonderful and talented in their own right. They were the most commercially successful new wave/post-punk band, no doubt because they managed to be very sincere and humanistic amid the genre’s typical irreverence. Most importantly, the Police were extremely accessible, crafting tight, hectic tunes out of a few minimal and aurally pleasing ingredients. These components were supplied by the power-trio setup of the twitchy and technical Stewart Copeland on drums, the experimental and complimentary playing of Andy Summers on guitar, and the heart of the band’s sound, Sting himself playing front-and-center bass. (Their music was augmented by synthesizers a lot as well.)
This debut finds them blending punk, reggae, doo-wop, beat poetry, funk, jazz, tango and new wave into an incredible whole. They were never afraid to change tempo, shift the mood, or shake up their songwriting style, but always delivered the goods. Their tunes are so polished and ingratiating as to initially appear clumsy and elementary, but take a good look and you’ll notice the cleverness and uniqueness of each one. Indeed, this album is so consistent that picking an obscure non-hit as most representative track isn’t that far-fetched.
Key track: “Peanuts”
See also: Reggatta De Blanc – the Police (1979), Zenyatta Mondatta – the Police (1980), Ghost In the Machine – the Police (1981)