Heed The Brontosaurus!

Police Synchronicity 04

Hey there mighty Brontosaurus
Don’t you have a message for us.

They reach across to us, from primitive times long past when humanity was barely formed out of the primordial ooze, bearing wisdom beyond all mortal ken – ladies and Gentlemen I give you The Brontosauruses !! Ah, no, sorry scrap that I meant The Police Synchronicity; it was 1983 so some of that sentence was right.  I have a slight bias against the Police caused entirely by Sting’s total ubiquity, it was possible for a man in the mid 80’s who had reached the age where shaving was a necessity, to see Sting’s face more often than he saw his own in any given day.  Brilliant singles though.

Apparently there are 36 different variations on the cover.
Apparently there are 36 different variations on the cover.

I was given Synchronicity in 2010 and until today had listened to it twice maybe, being a bit disappointed both times, a bit samey, too much treble, not enough bass.  After spinning it twice today already, I’m a little more favourable, but not vastly so. Brilliant singles though.

Fifty million years ago
They walked upon the planet so
They live in a museum
It’s the only place you’ll see ’em

Police Synchronicity 01

Having said all that opener ‘Synchronicity I’ takes off like a rocket and has the best bass sound on the album.  It hits the track like a greyhound on the final curve, propelled by a very fast sequencer riff and some great rhythmic playing, Sting’s vocals ghosting over the top.  It sounds invigorating now, it must have seemed like The Future* 31 years ago, this ode to meaningful correlations and happenstance – based on Arthur Koestler’s The Roots of Coincidence, his parapsychological riff on Jung’s ideas of (ta-da!) synchronicity.  All that and not a single either.

Police Synchronicity 08

‘Synchronicity II’ was a single and I think, a really pants song – great bass line aside**.  It’s all very spritely with clumsily profound lyrics, which basically stumble across a Great Truth Of The Age*, that working for a living is a bit demeaning and uncool, thanks guys! I’m sorry to unhip the place up, I’ll just sink back under the waters of that ‘dark Scottish lake’ you keep banging on about’.

Hey Mr. Dinosaur
You really couldn’t ask for more
You were God’s favorite creature
But you didn’t have a future

Police Synchronicity 03

There’s nothing too essentially wrong with the likes of ‘O My God’, or ‘Miss Gradenko’, or even ‘Tea In The Sahara’ with its’ tasteful really well-played white reggaeisms, but nothing that grabs, or compels either.  It’s all lightweight, emotionally and musically for me and rather unforgivably 80’s sounding in places too.  We’re not a million miles away from Bryan Ferry’s patented wine-barisms on Boys and Girls; again, brilliant singles.  I am perfectly prepared to accept that I am totally wrong and that my views on Synchronicity are merely the product of my teenage arrested development which I should have grown out of long ago; after all I am a Faster Pussycat fan, so what do I know.

Police Synchronicity 05

But the real payload on Synchronicity is, as I skilfully alluded to earlier, the singles.  ‘Every Breath You Take’ is almost as good as music gets, period.  A perfect marriage of music and lyrics, it took me years and years to realize just how menacing a song it is, I always thought of it as a love song and it is, but twisted and taut.  Perfect song for a first dance at a divorce.  Second best and only just, is ‘King of Pain’ which I always thought was a bit of a kinky S&M number, as it’s about a failing relationship, that says far more about me and my peccadilloes than it does about the Police! Oops.  Regardless, it is another fine track with a plaintive vocal and sparse music.

Hey there mighty Brontosaurus
Don’t you have a message for us.
You thought your rule would always last
There were no lessons in your past.
You were built three stories high
They say you would not hurt a fly

Oh and ‘Walking In Your Footsteps’ is a good song about heeding Brontosaurus lessons, possibly.

Apart from ‘Synchronicity I’, I’ll still take the Police as one of the best singles bands of the late 70’s/early 80’s, rather than a band to assiduously collect on LP.

Police Synchronicity 07

475 Down.

P.S – Not entirely sure if it is brontosauruses, or Brontosaurii – you know following the Elvis route to English plural ‘I have one Elvis, whereas you have two Elvii’.

*capital letters intentional there.

**am I the only one who can hear Billy Idol in that bass line? if you just listen to the first 17 seconds or so, it sounds like every track he did/does/will ever do.

35 thoughts on “Heed The Brontosaurus!

  1. I always found the key to getting around the trebly sound of the Police, if it gets grating, is to just focus on Copeland’s drumming. Soooo gooood…

    My aunt had this album on 8-track, I remember that. Doubt she still does, though.

  2. I have to disagree here. While yes, The Police were a great singles band, they also put out pretty substantial full album listens. Zenyatta Mondatta and Ghost In The Machine were both great albums, as well as giving us some wonderful pop songs. I think the fact that three incredibly talented musicians(as well as one pretty good lyricist..heavy-handed at times) became as big as they did in the era of eighties pop radio. Synchronicity was what pushed them to the ultimate level of egotistical, self-centered, way-too-serious-for-their-own-good superstardom. I liked that album, but I never loved it. “Murder By Numbers” is still quite wonderful nowadays. But yeah, it had this tinny-sounding thing to it. The low end took a back seat so Sting’s “deep lyrics” could make their presence known.

    I don’t know, I think the power-trio thing is something that appeals to me. The idea that these guys got as big as they did with nothing more than themselves, and they did it the way they wanted to, well that just butters my bread. I just try to forget Sting went on after this band and became the world’s greatest horse’s ass(and superhuman lover, apparently.) Don’t get me wrong, I think he was a horse’s ass in 1977 when he first started playing with Copeland and Summers, but at least they matched his ego with chops. A friend of mine saw The Police on their reunion tour back in 2008 in Chicago. He said it was unbelievably good. Their anger and resentment for each other worked to make them hit the mark, even after all these years.

    Okay, I’m done.

    Oh, “The Bed’s Too Big Without You” is still stellar to this day. That’s all.

    1. Disagree?!! Disagree?!! How dare you!

      I’ve not heard any of the other LPs since the 80s. This one has that 80s cocaine treble sound – no idea what their habits were btw, it just has that sound to me.

      Murder isn’t on the vinyl, it might have been a CD bonus track I think.

      Here I am breaking my back to bend you to my will – I made speech bubbles, found dinosaurs and everything – only to be confronted by free thinking?! Pah!

      1. Your efforts did not go unnoticed, my friend. I am what the locals say, “bull-headed”. Maybe had there been snacks involved I might have cooperated.

        “Cocaine treble sound”. That is quite perfect. I do believe those Police fellows were reasonably on the straight and narrow, but that sound permeated everything in the early to mid eighties. Think Dire Straits ‘Brothers In Arms’ or Springsteen’s ‘Born In The USA’, all devoid of any true bass heft. It was all the fault of that damn war on drugs. Nancy Reagan stole our low end.

        Mark my words.

      2. You have to get the Nancy thing made into a Republican-baiting Tee immediately! Maybe it was just all the producers who were getting snow-deaf in the 80s?

  3. I’ve never thought of the Police in this way – a good singles band. I just thought of them as SPG, Serious Poseurs Group. But you’re right, each kicking wrapped in a single mattress feels better nowadays. Dare I say, enjoyable? Rooooxanne (far too many o’s, I know) stamps right on the bollocks. You’re good. Dangerously good… at convincing me to listen to stuff I consigned to the naff bin. I appreciate that.
    Btw, I think it’s one Elvis, two Elvine. (Elvine – one who has slipped over the peanut butter and jelly event horizon.)

    1. Ha-ha-ha, my evil plan is clearly taking affect – I’ll have you spinning Leo Sayer by Easter. And thank you for the Elvine, its the sort of thing I worry about late at night.

      Btw. have some proper punk coming up shortly, just for you.

  4. The lesson of the Brontosaurus

    A) You are extinct,

    B) You are not even what you thought you were,

    C) when you were alive you thought you were one thing but you turned out to be exactly what you thought you were all along,

    D) In reality you are an Apatosaurus…hence the synchronicity.

    I think I get it now.

      1. Oh and also the casual connecting event in SII is that the monster crawling out of the slimey loch is the mild mannered executive type yearning to break free of his meaningless existence.

  5. Ah man you outdid yourself on artwork this time. Just awesome.

    I don’t know if you were in the discussion I was having with some music friends, but it was decided that I need to get the Police studio albums, basically.

    1. Thank you, I had a lot of fun this afternoon doing that – whilst watching my rugby team getting humped by New Zealand!

      I would respectfully disagree – Greatest Hits, for me.

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