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Outlandos D'Amour

An album by The Police

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Underrated debut

  • May 8, 2004
I was introduced to The Police the same way that most everyone was: through their later work, namely "Every Breath You Take" and "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic". When I was in fifth grade, having heard a few of their songs, I purchased their first album: OUTLANDOS D'AMOUR. I did not like it.

Gone was the dreamy lyrics and vocals by Sting. Gone was the distinctive guitar work by Andy Summers. Gone was the unpredictable drumming of Stewart Copeland. This sounded like a punk rock band. At that time, I considered that to be a bad thing. Years later, I have come to appreciate punk rock - and this album. It took a few listens - well, many, actually - but I have finally come to appreciate The Police's 1978 debut. You see, if you really give it a chance, OUTLANDOS D'AMOUR is an excellent album.

For one thing, it has three of The Police's finest songs: "So Lonely", the classic "Roxanne", and "Can't Stand Losing You". The biggest problem with OUTLANDOS D'AMOUR is that the band sounds amateurish, as though it's trying to imitate the greats and failing. The reason that those three songs are so wonderful is that on those songs, the group lets it all flow. They do their own thing, completely ignoring what was hot at the time.

That's not to say that the rest of the material is filler. Hardly. The fast-paced opener, "Next To You", is an excellent song, one of The Police's best early recordings. "Hole In My Life" features a great guitar part and heavy drumming, topped off by great singing from Sting; it's arguably one of the group's best songs. "Truth Hits Everybody" is another fine early recording from the band. The nostalgic feeling of "Born in the 50's" makes it worth noting. Andy Summers' "Be My Girl-Sally" may have been a little too much for audiences in the late-70s to handle, but it's a very fun song, thanks largely to Summers' zany vocals. The album closer, "Masoko Tanga", gives a taste of what was to come on future albums from The Police.

Though it does feel a tad amateurish, OUTLANDOS D'AMOUR is an excellent and underrated debut. Sting's vocals are some of the best and worst of his career. Stewart Copeland's drumming is strong and inventive, but nowhere near as impressive as what would come later in his career. Andy Summers' guitar is probably the highlight of the album, particularly on tracks like "So Lonely", "Hole In My Life" and "Truth Hits Everybody". On OUTLANDOS, the group was trying to fit in. They hadn't yet realized that in doing the opposite - going their own way, doing their own thing - they would become one of the greatest bands of all time. For someone looking to try something new, I would recommend this album; needless to say, for Police fans, it's essential, if only for the three singles.

TRACK HIGHLIGHTS: "Next To You", "So Lonely", "Roxanne", "Hole In My Life", "Can't Stand Losing You", "Truth Hits Everybody"

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review by . November 01, 2003
posted in Music Matters
It certainly is quite interesting the follow the evolution of Sting. Today he dabbles in jazz and world music with a touch of rock n roll. Many eclectic flavorings exist in his music today.However, on the debut Police recording it is all about energy. Just listen to the opening song Next To You. Boy does it drive and rock. So Lonely, Roxanne, Born In The Fifties, and Can't Stand Losing You also have heavy new wave rock influences. Stuart Copeland really lets loose on the drums on these tracks.There …
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Tom Benton ()
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Aspiring high school English teacher with dreams of filmmaking and a strong taste for music.
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Outlandos D'Amouris a product of the late-'70s British punk scene, but the Police were never really punks. The album lacks the class-conscious awareness that fueled earlyClashalbums or the angry, antimusical nihilism of theSex Pistols. The material, although constructed with guitar, bass, and drums, often at tempos that would never be matched in their later studio recordings, stands apart. Andy Summers' guitar textures are here more traditional and without their later ethereal quality, but his chord choices on "Roxanne," for example, or his expansive solo lines on "So Lonely" would have baffled most of the burgeoning punk guitar school. So, too, would Stewart Copeland's drumming, enriched as it is by a multinational upbringing and stage experience in the last gasps of the progressive-rock movement. The rhythms of reggae are woven into the music and Sting's vocals pay conscious tribute toBob Marley. The songs are mostly about love, or a lack of personal connection, and are frequently obsessive; the hits alone are worth the price of the album.--Al Massa
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Label: A&M
Artist: The Police
Release Date: October 25, 1990

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