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Although many Police fans consider 1983's 'Synchronicity' album to be the band's finest album, a significant number of others believe that it was 1981's 'Ghost In The Machine' that is the more satisfying.
After three albums recorded in either the egg-box covered walls of Surrey Sound Studios or amidst the persistent rain of Holland, the band transported themselves to the idyllic surroundings of the Caribbean, and to Air Studios on the island of Montserrat. The album saw a number of key changes from their past - they dropped the silly album titles and seemed to distance themselves from the 'white reggae' label. And, all of the songs on the album - perhaps for the first time - were worthy of their inclusion.
Sting summed up the album succinctly, "'Ghost' was, for us, a please-yourself album. In it we pleased ourselves. Our last records were experiments in commercialism. I'd been obsessed with the idea of coming up with a commercial record. 'Ghost' doesn't have that concern. After our first three albums, we wanted to go as far away from the sound we'd already created. I was determined to play some saxophone. Generally we wanted to go off the beaten path, to take a fresh new approach and see what happened. I think the material that came out on the next albums was stronger. It was something we all believed in. By our third album we realised it came too close in sound to the albums before it. The balance had been tipped too much toward commercialism. We'd become almost obsessed by it largely because the only group who was selling any records in Europe for a year or so was The Police."
The band had a new producer, Hugh Padgham, and enhanced their sound with keyboards and overdubs as well as with Sting's saxophone playing. Sting pointed out that "The title is taken from a book by Arthur Koestler about comparative psychology in which he states that man is becoming more machine-like, and what I'm saying is that we shouldn't be like machines. We're much more complex, more creative, more destructive." The computer imagery even went so far as not to feature the band members on the cover other than in digital icon form.
'Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic' was the poppy chart topper and 'Spirits In The Material World' is another superb track. The brooding 'Invisible Sun' would almost certainly have made it to the number one spot had the BBC not slapped a ban on the video and unsatisfied with Grace Jones' version, the band stormed through a great version of 'Demolition Man'. The back end of the album also features a trio of superb songs with 'Omegaman', 'Secret Journey' and 'Darkness'. The latter song title is very apt because there is a darkness to this record that permeates many of the songs. Whilst the failing personal relationships of the band members doubtless contributed to this, there was also the growing recognition that the band members were growing apart too. Sting admitted as such years later when we said, "I started looking for a way out. It was too much of a shock because I said from the beginning the Police will last three albums and well, we did really."
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