Album Review: The Police – Zenyatta Mondatta (1980)

The English trio of rockers, The Police, have always been a very unique band. So much so that one couldn’t even really label them with a certain genre. There is some new wave in their music, plenty of reggae rock, early music has some punk to it, late music has lots of pop rock in it, and the occasional song even has some progressive elements to it. The best album to showcase how broad The Police are in their musicianship is their 1980 album, Zenyatta Mondatta.

There two big hits to come off the album are “Don’t Stand So Close To Me” and “De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da.” “Don’t Stand So Close To Me” is easily one of The Police’s best songs ever made. Lyrically the song is… about an affair… between a schoolgirl and… moving on now. Musically, it has an amazingly mixed intro, with the synthesizers and both drummer Stewart Copeland and guitarist Andy Summers with simple yet hypnotic playing.

The highlights go far beyond the big hits, however. “Man In A Suitcase” and “Canary In A Coalmine” are both fast-tempo, fun songs. The latter has a funky bass-line from Sting.

Stewart Copeland’s talent is also very prominent on the album. “Driven To Tears” and “Bombs Away” both showcase his drumming skills, with quick tom fills in “Driven To Tears” and a killer groove in “Bombs Away.”

“Voices Inside My Head” and “When The World Is Running Down, You Make The Best Of What’s Still Around” (nobody put a word limit on song titles) are both lead by bass guitar. Although on the more experimental side, they are both major ear-worms.

“Voices Inside My Head” is especially memorable due to Andy Summers and Sting somewhat trading the lead role between electric and bass guitar every few beats, by constantly flipping which instrument captures the attention of the listener the most.

The only downside to the album is the large number of songs that stay mostly the same throughout. The aforementioned “Voices Inside My Head,” although enjoyable, demonstrates this a bit too much. It is also quite prominent on tracks such as “Behind My Camel” and “Shadows In The Rain.”

Zenyatta Mondatta could very well be The Police’s best work, as it has no unenjoyable songs on it. Some bits are slightly bland, but the highlights ultimately make up for that. The album is a great addition to any collection and will have several songs remain etched in history for a long time coming.

Overall rating: 8/10

Published by Jeremy Bader

Aspiring writer, film and music lover, drummer.

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