Album Reviews of the 80s

This page currently edited by: No One. Past editor: Vapor Trails, Rock 'n' Roll Fan

The Police, "Synchronicity" / 1983 Review by: Derek Hiemforth
Undoubtedly the group's masterwork, "Synchronicity" combines elegant and clear orchestration with a powerful and brooding sub-current of driving energy. By the time "Synchronicity" was made, the band had moved beyond the sometimes repetitive and unfinished sound of their earliest work, and Sting's songs had not yet slid fully into the heavily jazzy and occasionally overproduced sound of his solo efforts. The balance between the fine musicality of Sting's later stuff and the raw force of The Police's early songs is perfectly struck in "Synchronicity." Its songs are melodic without being lullabys, energetic without being frantic, and polished without being soulless.

Unlike many 80's albums, "Synchronicity" maintains its continuity from beginning to end; when listening to it, you get the sense that you are enjoying an entire work rather than simply a collection of ten or twelve songs. The exception to this is the Andy Summers-penned piece "Mother". In truth, I think "Synchronicity" would be a better album if "Mother" was left out entirely. Its tuneless and raucus sound is jarringly out of place among the other pieces on the album, and it makes you wonder what the thought process was that led to its being included. It would have been much more in place on one of their early albums such as "Outlandos d'Amour" or "Reggatta de Blanc." The only possibility I can think of is one first suggested to me by a friend. He pointed out that the other songs fit together very well, and "Mother"'s presence on the album could be described as being 'asynchronous.' It's just word play, but it's interesting to wonder whether there was a conscious effort to put such an obviously ill-fitting song into the mix for some reason.

One indication of "Synchronicity"'s effectiveness as an album is that it's difficult to choose which song(s) are the best. "Every Breath You Take" is the obvious choice, as it is a classic song and a huge hit. But nearly every song on the album has something to recommend it. From the relentless pull of "Synchronicity I," to the haunting melody of "Walking In Your Footsteps," to the bounciness and subtle complexity of "Miss Gradenko," to the powerful imagery of "Synchronicity II," to the sheer beauty of "King of Pain," to the mischievous satire of "Murder By Numbers," The Police fill this album with memorable songs.

"Synchronicity" is as effective an album today as it was when it was released fifteen years ago.

Rating: 9.5 out of 10

We also have pages on this topic devoted to the 70s and 90s

Do You Have a Review to Share?

Please check out the submission page.