What can I write about today I mused? I know, I’ll dig out an album I haven’t heard since I was at school and see what I make of it now. There is plenty I’d rather be listening to, I’m imagining the worst, but who knows it might be a pleasurable 35 minutes.
Yes, today, on your behalf, I’m going to listen to The Police’s Regatta de Blanc, in its entirety, on vinyl, all eleven track in order. It’s what is known as going the extra mile.
Why this album? A pretty easy choice, it fits the bill perfectly. a) I absolutely bloody loved this at the time. When was it released? Autumn of 1979 I think, with the album’s opener Message in a Bottle already at number 1. b) I haven’t listened to it since I would think 1983, my final year at school and c) Far from having a soft spot for the band, I really wouldn’t care if I never heard them again, mainly on the back of their terrible latter singles and Sting’s god awful solo canon.
Well, Message in a Bottle is still okay. Not the all-time favourite I thought it back in 79/80. I was heavily into the Kinks, Buzzcocks, the Jam, the Specials and the Stranglers, possibly Magazine too. What else did I play? Kate Bush, XTC, Ian Dury, Elvis Costello. Still yet to discover The Fall, PiL and Joy Division.
The title track is up next. Fairly non descript. Followed by It’s Alright (sic) for You. This is third rate pub rock. Bit like 10cc having a go at “new wave”.
Bring on the Night is a languid dollop of blandness, The Police’s trademark white reggae, but in fairness, does not make me want to puke. I might spin it again to see if I’m all right. It actually starts like it’s a template for Don’t Stand so Close to me (released the following autumn). Yes, this is exactly the sort of music beloved of my old school chums with a CD collection that you could fit in a shoebox (size 7s) whose only exposure to live music is seeing Simply Red/ Springsteen/ Meatloaf/Beyonce/Sting/Jackson in as big an auditorium as possible.
Deathwish features drummer Copeland at his fiddly best. He was a good drummer; dexterous. Bass thudding alongside, Summer’s guitar is actually quite post-punk, reminiscent of something from the first Cure album. I suppose if this was by XTC I’d say it was okay. Perhaps it would be if Andy Partridge rather than Sting was singing it?
That’s side one done. Quite surprised to say that I am not detesting the experience, but it is quite possible that bar the first track, which I shall hear again on the radio or in a pub one day, I may be listening to all of these tracks for the last time ever. Hey, it’s an historic occasion.
Side two starts with their other big hit form the album, Walking on the Moon. Must say I’m not looking forward to this.
“Giant steps are what you take” yes, it’s all coming back to me. Standing in the dinner queue, class 3L. “I hope my leg don’t break, walking on the moon”. The man who wrote that is the world’s richest Geordie. I helped him get there. I wonder how much of the £3.79 I paid for this went in his pocket? Or how much went in in his accountant’s pocket! It’s harmless, I s’pose. Which isn’t as dim as it sounds. I was expecting to be outraged by the vacuity of the music. I’m not. Five tracks to go.
I loved this whole album in 1980, played it loads, but only recognised three titles from the sleeve. Ah yes I remember this On Any Other Day. I quite like this. A bit of angular new wave. “My wife has burnt the scrambled eggs, the dog just bit my leg…” Well I wasn’t expecting this, a song that I actually like. This is the one I’ll Youtube for you (see below). I still may not ever play it again, mind.
The Bed’s Too Big Without You. A Police classic, but I can’t stand this. My first band used to cover it and I can’t even drum like Stew Copeland now let alone when I was a 15 year old berk. Bad memories.
Next please. (I’m not skipping it, I promised I’d listen to the lot). Goes a bit dubby towards the end.
Contact ~ reminds me a bit of Numan. It’s a lot like Numan. Android reggae. I should really have rounded up a 14 year old to listen to this with me. Get one that’s fairly open-minded, see what they make of it. Or my 5 year old nephew. It’s always healthy to get a kid’s opinion on stuff adult’s take seriously.
Does Everyone Stare ~ Starts with piano. Reminds me of something, can’t think what. Oh hell, what is it? Mid seventies ~ Steely Dan maybe?
One track to go. I think it safe to sum up my thoughts. I don’t know if I will ever play it again, but it’s not bad. It honestly isn’t a bad album. Just a bit bland. It’s easy to be glib and state that being bland is a music crime but we can’t all be Brian Wilson, Arthur Lee, Ray Davies or Damon Albarn, and even they can’t be, all the time.
No Time This Time is possibly the worst track. A rocker. Poor man’s Thin Lizzy.
A good band, no more, certainly not worthy of being pop legends, who I enjoyed when I was 14 but unlike the music made by The Fall, Joy Divison, Magazine and the Buzzcocks, I’ve just grown out of it. Then again, I don’t decide who become legends. Mr Sting has sold plenty of records, I just have the feeling though that he’s sold them to the sort of people whose entire collection numbers no more than a dozen discs (yes, or to 15 year old berks!). These people don’t care about pop like you and I do they just make talented but bland musicians ludicrously rich.