Playlist: Ten Of My Favorite Police Songs

Bring On The Night” – A perfect microcosm of why this band was so brilliant – the three guys in the band are all on completely different pages musically, especially in the verse, yet somehow it comes together in a way that works. “Bring On The Night” is also one of their very best codas, a rare instance where they don’t get carried away into some mindless jam.

“Can’t Stand Losing You” – This about as straight ahead (and unironic) pop as Sting’s lyrics ever got in The Police and even here has the somewhat philosophical “I’m too full to swallow my pride” line. For all the great musical textures this band brought to the table, it’s great to hear them just nail a straight ahead rock song.

De Doo Doo De Da Da Da” – The last song had to be prefaced with unironic because this is obviously the most pop effort from The Police, albeit in a way that’s completely sarcastic and brilliant. Sting uses a mindless pop hook in the context of a relationship argument. Very clever.

“Demolition Man” – A unique song for this band and it walks a strange line indeed. It’s frantic, blues-ish, and features a lot of improvisatory guitar playing from Summers. This has always been my go to example of showing off just how much musical space only three guys could occupy.

Don’t Stand So Close To Me” – A haunting parable from Mr. Gordon Sumner’s days as a teacher. An important song in Sting’s evolution as this was one of the first examples of thorough story telling in his writing that has since become commonplace.

“Every Breath You Take” – My favorite part of this song has always been the bridge. A great bridge opens a door to a room you never knew you wanted to go into and just as you’ve settled into it, it’s gone. In this song the bridge gives us a needed break from the main repeating guitar arpeggio while also giving much more of an overt desperation than the verse does.

“Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic” – A sneaky complicated song from the drum patterns to the main guitar lead to the weaving vocal lines. No one makes difficult songwriting sound simple quite like Sting.

Message In A Bottle” – In a typical pop song, everything builds up to the chorus. “Message In A Bottle” goes against the grain by having the chorus be the release point, a momentary breath from hypnotic guitar riffs. And yes, that is an all time great riff.

“Synchronicity II” – The first Synchronicity is also incredible but number 2 gets the nod for its lyrics – which will solidify your opinion of Sting as an unparalleled wordsmith or the most pretentious S.O.B. to be a pop star, or both. Either way, I’m pretty sure no one else will ever write a line like “We have to shout above the din of our rice krispies.”

“Wrapped Around Your Finger” – Speaking of, thank you Sting for teaching me what it means to be caught between the Scylla and Charybdis! This song has a great groove, an evolved version of the pop reggae on Regetta de Blanc combined with a Middle Eastern touch. Stewart Copeland pulled out an incredible percussion rig for this song on the reunion tour.