I really cannot stand Sting. That disclaimer should be put out there right away, in case I make some comment of him in this post that gives away the fact that he is offal. And awful. But I guess the lesson here at least for me was that even the most offal artists are sometimes capable of putting out truly fantastic music. The fact remains that high tensions and divided nations within bands often yield undeniable genius (witness Fleetwood Mac and the tumult that brought us Rumours) in the sonic temple. Such is the case with 1983’s Synchronicity by The Police.
Synchronicity was released in June of 1983. It was a heady time in music and pop culture, at least for me. I was 10, and impressionable. The impression that Every Breath You Take had on me was instant. Instant dislike. Likely, as you have read me referencing many times before, due to my mom overplaying the hell out of the song. She told me that it was a love song. That made me dislike it more. I remember one conversation where she said it would make a great “wedding song.” If you are marrying one of my exes, maybe. I just didn’t dig the moody vibe. It does get under your skin and in your subconscious, and it was a smash for The Police, but I could still live the rest of my life without that song. However, it wouldn’t have been a great album without it. This is such a unique album from start to finish, and the sum is greater than the parts, but you can’t argue with the staying power that Every Breath You Take has. The next single, Wrapped Around Your Finger, was more instant. Love at first listen. The video- even better. Sting dancing and doing whatever fucking stu-rate (stupid karate) move he was doing (disclaimer: I am not dissing karate, just Sting doing karate), among all the candles. I can’t tell you the number of times that my brother and I yelled at the TV “Set yourself on fire”. I love the song. Synchronicity II was next released, and if there is a favorite on this album, this is it. The video rocks is awesome (and again, hopes for Sting to fall to his demise were oft heard in suburban Willow Springs). The last single released was King Of Pain. Another favorite. I don’t think they did a video for that one, which is unfortunate for I would love to see what His Stingness came up with for that. Start to finish, a fantastic album, even with the oddity that was “Mother”. That’s a song that gets true eyebrow raising at the store when it comes on. I would recommend listening to that one at a much lower volume. Stung’s shrieking is right up there with Yoko’s primal screaming in all of her solo work. If the United States ever needs to drive armed forces out in a crisis situation, they can bookend “Mother” and all of Yoko’s “singing” to do the trick.
Synchronicity was inspired by Arthur Koestler’s book The Roots of Coincedence. Jung’s Synchronicity is a reference point for Koestler’s book. Sting, of course, was the one reading these doorstops of philosophy, and that’s what influenced the entire album. The Roots of Coincedence is a work that relies heavily on parapsychology, telekinesis, and extra sensory perception. In other words, my final term paper for my high school psychology class (and the only thing that saved me from a resounding “D” in the course). Of course I was going to like an album based around some of these themes. Of course, I didn’t know all of that back story for jack shit when I was 10, but it’s never too late to figure it out when you’re in your thirties. Interesting to also know that Schwing was inspired by another work the Koestler did earlier in The Police’s span, and that brought about Ghost In The Machine, their album before Synchronicity. Isn’t your life more enriched by knowing that? Mine neither, but it did spin a great album.
Let’s talk about the vinyl. I acquired it sometime in 1988, when Nerfy (first job knob) and I took a trip through downtown Lagrange, and I found Beautiful Day Records. That place was wholly responsible for my vinyl addiction. Nerfy thought he could make up missing our first dinner date to watch a Packers game by taking me “out on the town”. For those familiar, downtown Lagrange is NOT “out on the town”. But to a couple of 15 year olds, I guess it was alright. That’s how I discovered Beautiful Day. He was pissed because I was in there over two hours, while he wanted to go check out the toy store and the sports memorabilia. (Note: ever get stuck in a sports jersey shop for three hours with someone who almost pops a boner over a Don Majkowski jersey? Not recommended for the faint of heart). I was thrilled with the acquisition (the album, not the Packer fan). The cover shots are more in-depth, and it has a great gatefold sleeve. You get the complete lyrics also. I have the original one that I bought with Nerfy, and then I have the other one I picked up for $2.00 at the Chicagoland Record Show. The original one is a little sad for all the wear and tear I have put it through, so I keep the other one in plastic. It’s one of the few albums I do have two copies of, but it’s completely worth it.