Friday, February 15, 2008

No. 369: Regatta de Blanc

Band: The Police
Album: Regatta de Blanc
Why Rolling Stone gets it right: The Police's second album shows the band moving towards the band's reggae love. Fueled by Sting's dub-style bass and Stewart Copeland's drum skill, "Reggatta" moved the band forward quite a bit.
Why Rolling Stone gets it wrong: The album isn't particularly strong outside of the two singles. The band's departure from its punk roots didn't really work as well as it probably should have.
Best song: "Walking on the Moon" is probably the band's strongest nod towards reggae and one of their best tracks.
Worst song: "No Time This Time" isn't great.
Is it awesome?: Eh. The band's first and final records are the best.

The Police sit somewhere between punk rock and pop rock. There's something incredibly interesting about this to me. The band appeals to both the subculture and the main culture. Straddling this line is basically punching a band's ticket to big record sales.

As the record's title suggests, this is white guys trying reggae. At times, it's much more effective than one would expect. The singles are fantastic, as "Message in a Bottle" takes the punk speed and accents it with Andy Summers' guitar line. Similarly, Sting's easy narrative of a man on an island is tried and true.

"Walking on the Moon" takes a larger risk in slowing down the tempo more than the band had ever tried. Maybe the band's closest tie to full-blown dub, the song was written in the same way "Yesterday" was. According to our good friend Wikipedia, Sting was drunk and was singing "Walking round the room" to himself, but realized that would be a silly title for a song.

The rest of the record is satisfiable, though not great. The title track, at points, appears to steal from previous songs (the bassline, for example, mirrors "Can't Stand Losing You"). "The Bed's Too Big Without You," even at four minutes, sounds longer than it probably should be, due to a misguided slowed down drum line.

The Police's non-single tracks aren't always great, but the singles are always fantastic. This record shows that quite well.

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