Fresh Ears: The Police
DISCLAIMER: Fresh Ears is a segment that aims the give a new look and fresh perspective on some of the classic musical acts of the past. Here I will dive into the cycle of influences that inspired the music and the generations that such music inspired. Finally I will discuss how it all sounds to a Gen Z’er who grew up in the age of the Internet.
To understand their music as thoroughly as possible, I had to do some research into bands origins. Born out the British punk scene, the trio of Sting, Andy Summers, and Stewart Copeland first got together in London in 1977. Each member brought with them a unique musical background that included blues, progressive rock and jazz. The Police are known for their ingenuity and inventiveness which set them apart from their contemporaries. The Police were pioneers, being one of the first bands to blend the sounds of new wave and reggae with punk rock, a trend that became popular in the following decade with the Ska Punk movement.
The Police were at their peak popularity in the late 70’s and early 80’s. It was during this period when they released “Roxanne” “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic” and “Every Breath You Take”. Although these and other anthems by the Police are still heavily in rotation on most classic rock radio stations, their presence and message are less prevalent in pop culture than when the band was in their prime.What remains are a few classic ballads and a lasting impression in contemporary music. Given their impact, it is hard to believe that the band was only together for six years.
Music by The Police holds up in the modern sonic climate partly because the band was so ahead of its time. The reggae-infused guitar riffs and percussive grooves coupled with Sting’s echoing melodies produced many timeless songs. Pop music today is filled with many elements that are reminiscent of the Police’s music. The technique of using up-tempo island drum beats in conjunction with a familiar genre’s melodies is something the Police helped popularize and can be seen today in modern day rock, pop, and even hip hop. The Dirty Heads, The Offspring, and 311 are some of the most popular artists who now carry this torch. Another name worth noting is Matisyahu who merges this style with the his rap cadences. These and other artists like them have been nurturing and evolving the sound that the Police helped birth in the 80’s.
After to listening through all their studio albums, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the music. To me the Police’s sound represents a transition in music from classic stadium rock into the diverse array of rock sub genres that exist today. Their influence has transcended genre and that is, to me, what solidifies them as contemporary music legends. I would and already do recommend this music to others my age as I believe that such a rich blend of genres provides plenty to be enjoyed by listeners of any taste.