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Articles Home » 1981 Articles » Police, The - 1981 Ghost In The Machine
Police, The - 1981 Ghost In The Machine

ARTIST: Police, The
ALBUM: Ghost In The Machine
YEAR: 1981
CD REISSUE: 2003, A&M, 069 493598-2


LINEUP: Andy Summers - guitar, vocals * Stewart Copeland - drums, vocals * Sting - vocals, bass

TRACK LISTING: 01 Spirits In The Material World * 02 Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic * 03 Invisible Sun * 04 Hungry For You (J'aurais Toujours Faim De Toi) * 05 Demolition Man * 06 Too Much Information * 07 Rehumanize Yourself * 08 One World (Not Three) * 09 Omegaman * 10 Secret Journey * 11 Darkness


Unless you were living in a cave during the late 1970's early 1980's or are too young to remember, everyone knows The Police although opinions on the band's music vary. I recall when I first heard 'Roxanne', thinking it was dreadful and was later dismayed that it became the hit it was. To this day much like Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers first hit 'Breakdown' from the same period, I think it's one of the most over rated and unworthy singles that ever hit the charts and their first three goofy titled stripped down faux reggae influenced albums are not much better, but what do I know. Fronted by the enigmatic, spiky haired and full of himself Sting; the quirky threesome were one of the biggest bands on the planet, sold mountains of records and filled baseball stadiums with freshly scrubbed MTV weaned fans who couldn't seem to get enough.

The Songs
Like much of the music the 80's had to offer, I never got it, but 'Ghost In the Machine' I enjoyed in part for a couple reasons. First, the reggae was gone. Never liked the style or it's infatuation with reefer and other than 10cc's 'Dreadlock Holiday' and maybe a couple other examples, I don't think it makes for good pop. Second, the band seemed to experiment a little more on this record and while I wouldn't call this 'progressive' per say, it took some chances, all of it not entirely successful but interesting nonetheless. The stabbing keys of 'Spirits In The Material World' and chorus show a band letting loose of the past stripped down new wave and embracing the go-go hi-tech 80's and a pretty cool track to boot. The most upbeat cut on the album and one of the band's biggest hits 'Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic' is a sure-fire improvement over 'Roxanne' and indeed The Police had come a long way in the songwriting department. Dark, but mysteriously beautiful, 'Invisible Sun' is easily one of the most haunting songs they ever recorded and my personal favourite while 'Hungry For You (J'aurais Toujours Faim De Toi)' rocks at a pretty good clip. It's not to last though as the lengthy 'Demolition Man' wears out its welcome and other than 'Omegaman' which could almost pass for Yes circa '90210', the album becomes very funky and uninteresting leaving 'Ghost In The Machine' a half and half proposition and underlining the fact the trio never released a true classic worthy of their obvious talents.

In Summary
One more album 'Synchronicity' and The Police went their separate ways. Sting went on to a successful solo career as both a musician and actor while both Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland busied themselves with several side projects up until the inevitable and unneeded 2007 Police reunion.

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#1 | gdazegod on December 13 2010 00:33:17
I am proud to say I have absolutely no albums by this band in my collection.. lol! whistler
#2 | Eric on December 13 2010 03:14:51
I hear ya, but having reviewed stuff like The Outfield we might as well go to the source at least once. With that said Sting's 1985 solo 'The Dream Of The Blue Turtles' and '93s 'Ten Summoner's Tales' were far more enjoyable than any of The Police albums....
#3 | gdazegod on December 13 2010 03:46:48
I will admit to owning a couple of Sting's solo albums, but that's as far as I am prepared to go.. lol! stress
#4 | jeffrey343 on December 13 2010 06:04:34
I never got into The Police either. I did like some (but not all) of he radio hits OK, and 'Synchronicity' had some good moments (although it was tremendously overplayed by everyone when I was in high school). A couple of years ago, I queued up all of their albums in Rhapsody and played them just to see if I was just too young to really 'get' them years ago. Answer - no.
#5 | code4 on October 13 2015 11:50:32
I can see why this album with it's slick hi-tech sound would be a choice for an AOR fan along with the next album (Syncronocity) which i feel is better. That said i love all The Police albums. Well, some have songs i don't like...they certainly seemed more than content with not making an album perfect once it had a few great tracks (never more apparent than with with the patchiest one of all 'Reggatta De Blanc'). As for Sting solo, 'Nothing Like The Sun' and 'The Soul Cages' (albums 2 and 3) i hold as masterpieces, particularly the latter. Most the first album i have never been able to get into and 'Ten Summoner's tales' has it's few moments but i find it to be super boring most the way.
#6 | Eric on October 13 2015 12:04:33
I plan on getting to some solo Sting for review in the coming weeks...
#7 | code4 on October 13 2015 12:12:30
Great to hear Eric. I was surprised only to find one Police album listed here though maybe even more surprised to find no Sting solo. Cheers
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