The Police – The Albums Ranked From Worst to First

Thanks to the You Picked It Post and the readers picking Synchronicity as the album to review, I dove into their catalog and decided to do an Album Ranking so here we are now. What can you say about The Police? This is band that got better and better after each album and had their biggest selling album and then called it quits. This was only 5 albums in and that was it. Who does that?? I guess they do.

The Police started in 1977 and were very punk and had a reggae swag to their music. They transitioned to a more post-punk and pop sound with their later albums and what I liked about their albums were they were all different and their song writing and playing kept getting better. I always thought of The Police as a “Smart” band as they used words I never heard before (just look at some of the album titles). The songs were so intelligent and they based a lot fo stuff off books and things they read. And I think that was also what made them interesting. It was great songs, great musicianship and they had something to say.

Now, the title of these posts are “Worst to First” and that moniker does not really apply to this list. The band had only 5 albums and each one was absolutely amazing. There is not a bad album in the bunch. Each album has a Classic Police song that is one of their best. I know there might be some disagreements in the list, but I don’t care as this is how I look at them as being best to least best. Let’s get started…

WORST LEAST FAVORITE – ZENYATTA MONDATTA (1980)

How good are your albums when the one that contains “Don’t Stand So Close to Me” is the least favorite. And there are so many good songs on here, but my reason for it being on the bottom is that there were too many boring songs and filler on this one. Mostly from Side 2. The songs that are on here that are good are great, but it was an all or nothing for the songs. I liked all the Sting songs on this one, but didn’t dig the Copeland or Stewart songs which is not usually the case.

There are a ton of goods one including the catchy as hell, “De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da”. You also get “Driven to Tears”, “Canary in a Coalmine” and the longest title of “When the World Is Running Down, You Make the Best of What’s Still Around”. Again, a very good album and not a Worst as they don’t have a Worst.

#4 – REGGATTA DE BLANC (1979):

Now I know that Apple Music & ITunes has this as an essential album, but it isn’t one of my top picks. It is good, hell yes it is. The band is starting to find their groove and their song writing is definitely improving and these guys can play their instruments. I liked the reggae vibe on a lot of these songs and there are some amazing songs, but like the last one, there were a few filler songs that didn’t do anything for me and lessened my listening experience a little.

But you can’t go wrong with such stellar classics like “Message in a Bottle”, “Walking on the Moon”, “Bring on the Night”, “The Bed’s Too Big WithOut You” and the title track. It is a more consistent album than “Zenyatta”, but has a couple hiccups that kept this from being higher.

#3 – OUTLANDOS D’AMOUR (1978):

The debut album for me is one of their best for me because it is so raw. It sounds more punk than anything else they did. It was a band that was hungry and was attacking their music with so much vigor and life. The band sounded fresh and was at the cusp of being something great. For all of this, it tops the last two mentioned albums.

I mean come on, “Roxanne” and “Can’t Stand Losing You” are too such great songs that I don’t know if they’ve done better. And not far behind is “So Lonely”, “Next To You” and “Masoko Tanga”. Are all the songs great, no, but they all show a side of band that was going to be something and make an impression on music.

#2 – GHOST IN THE MACHINE (1981):

This was the album that I remember hearing the songs first thanks to this new found station on cable called MTV. In 1981, MTV was getting started and didn’t have a ton of videos so they played The Police a lot. Now, I probably didn’t see them until we got cable back in 1982, but I loved the songs and the videos. When I got the album, it was magic all the way through.

Side one is one hit after another with “Spirits in the Material World”, “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic” and ends with “Demolition Man”. And Side two is no slouch either with “Omegaman” and “Rehumanize Yourself”. Oh Crap and “Too Much Information”. Man, so much good stuff.

#1 – SYNCHRONICITY (1983):

Here we are to #1. Regardless of the fact this was the band’s biggest selling album and had their biggest hits, it is actually the best of the bunch. Usually popular doesn’t mean good, but in this case, popular means AMAZING. This is also the first Police album I ever bought with my own money. I spent a lot of time with this one and have reviewed it on my site, not once, but twice (I got write this stuff down). It is such an amazing journey of songs from beginning to the end. After you listen to the album all the way through, you experience so many different sounds, styles, tones and you hear lyrics that are intelligent and often times tell an amazing story. It doesn’t get much better than this.

What songs are the best? Easy answer is all of them. I even like the crazy songs like “Mother” and “Miss Gradenko”. But it is the brilliance of songs like the stalker track that everyone plays at their wedding “Every Breath You Take” and then there are songs like “King of Pain” and the eerie “Synchronicity II” that are head and shoulders above everything else. And don’t forget “Wrapped Around Your Finger” and the title track “Synchronicity”. You can’t go wrong with any of it.

And there you have it, The Police’s studio albums in order of how I rank them from the worst to the best.  Let me know what you think.  Where did we differ and where did we agree.  What is fun about these list is how differently each album impacts people. What I like, you might not, but we like the same artist and that is all that matters really. And if as a result, you find something new, then my job is done!!!

45 thoughts on “The Police – The Albums Ranked From Worst to First

  1. Great stuff. Still baffles me how they or should I say Sting just ended it at their peak. No wonder the other two guys didn’t like him for a long time. lol If anything I would have flipped your #3 and #4 picks.
    I need to review these albums at some point as I have 4 out of 5.

    Liked by 1 person

        1. I don’t know if they have bonus tracks. I know Synchronicity has a track on the CD that the vinyl doesn’t have. I don’t think they have ever done deluxe sets with bonuses. Maybe the boxsets are the route to take.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Good on you for even attempting this nigh on impossible mission! Maybe I’m too close to this stuff, heard it too often or something, but even my love/hate with lesser-known stuff on these records is predicated on my brain’s knowing their worst is still better than a lot of others bands’ best.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I liked their earlier albums a lot…fun tracks but then came Synchronicity… It seems like Sting started to take himself a little too seriously around that time…but…you can’t argue with results and that one is the album they are best known for. My top would be Ghost in the Machine… a great list!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Fantastic band, not a bad album. They all have filler, but I like even that with time. Their records are a joy to listen to. Copeland and Summers were way more important than they were given credit for. You can say Sting wrote all the best stuff and be right, but the arrangements and playing of the other two pushed it over the top. Stew’s fantastic drumming gave it balls, and Andy’s sparse unusual chord choice and textured chorus playing set the tone for the entire ’80s. I mean, “Walking on the Moon” is based on a G7sus4. Who else was doing that in a pop song? The Beatles used it once at the beginning of A Hard Day’s Night, but The Police used it throughout. Legends.

    I like Zenyatta’s super sparse after midnight charm. Some of the stuff you probably consider boring I think is atmospheric and cool. Best listened to after midnight outdoors. A couple favorite deep cuts from Ghost you left out, “Secret Journey” is one of their best songs, Stew’s “Darkness” has some great lyrics and is awesome, and “One World (Not Three)” is a fantastic jam with a stellar drum sound.

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  5. Nice one, John – we’re in agreement with the highs & lows.
    I argue their chronological catalogue is a bit like a parabola that opens up, with the mid-career being the low point and the debut & finale being the best of the bunch!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Sting reminds me a little of David Coverdale, both cams from working class backgrounds but both developed a upper class accent and use bigger words than their peers. Both obviously immensely talented especially Sting but every action has an equal and opposite reaction, and I guess these guys are just hard to work with, and easier to work for.

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