by David Chiu
Interest in the Police remains strong 30 years after their debut indie single “Fallout,” first with their reunion tour and now with this 28-song retrospective. Starting out as art and jazz rockers, Sting, Stewart Copeland and Andy Summers were the most accomplished musicians of the punk era but they quickly embraced the genre’s DIY attitude, particularly on the early reggae-inflected material (“Roxanne,” “Can’t Stand Losing You,” “Walking on the Moon”). It wasn’t until 1980’s Zenyatta Mondatta album that the group started to emerge from the pack and Sting’s lyrics grew darker and complex (“Don’t Stand So Close to Me,” “De Doo Doo Doo, De Da Da Da”). The band reached mass acceptance through 1983’s Synchronicity album—eight of that album’s songs are on this compilation—and its biggest single “Every Breath You Take” was the most popular song of that summer. Fans will quibble over the exclusion of certain songs—“When the World Is Running Down, You Make the Best of What’s Still Around,” “It’s Alright For You,” and a few others—that can be remedied if you have all five studio albums or even better the Message in a Box set. Still for those who checked out the recent shows, The Police compilation makes a neat souvenir of that experience.