Monday, January 14, 2008

No. 322: Ghost in the Machine

Band: The Police
Album: Ghost in the Machine
Why Rolling Stone gets it right: The Police's brand of reggae-infused rock reached its commercial plateau with "Ghost in the Machine," as Sting's pop sensibilities took over. The addition of larger production values made for different styles, as the band strode away from punk rock.
Why Rolling Stone gets it wrong: The album is the beginning of the end as Andy Summers found himself being used less in the writing process. The band's rawness -- a defining and good trait -- began to fade away with this album. Needless to say, it sounds overproduced.
Best song: "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" is a wonderful love song.
Worst song: Andy Summers, you shouldn't be writing much. "Ωmegaman" proves that.
Is it awesome?: Not really.

Feeling locked out of the process, Police guitarist Andy Summers had problems with "Ghost in the Machine."

I have to say I was getting disappointed with the musical direction around the time of Ghost in the Machine. With the horns and synth coming in, the fantastic raw-trio feel—all the really creative and dynamic stuff—was being lost. We were ending up backing a singer doing his pop songs."

As a fan, I can't disagree. The horns and the synths and the production just feels silly to me. "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" is the album highlight, but even it is overly layered and sounds like the decade from which it came.

The album is filled with such juxtapositions. Sting and Co. wrote tons of great songs, but as the decade tended to do to its great songs, the production hurt the records. "Invisible Sun" has been covered by tons of bands and it's wonderful stripped of the synths. "Secret Journey," while silly lyrically, is romping good song when you take away all the sturm und drang.

The first and Police records are brilliant, but once Sting decided he wanted to stop being a New Wave dude and become a man of the '80s, the band suffered.


barb michelen said...
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fft said...

To me this is the last good thing Sting was ever involved. Although its really a good album for Stewart Copeland who really hits the skins well on this album. I dont listen to the Police much anymore, but I did growing up. When I do this is the album I reach for the most.