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Message In a Box

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Album Review

Despite their legendary status, the Police only released five albums during their brief reign from 1978-1983. In addition, the trio had amassed a healthy amount of both studio and live B-sides, plus songs that only appeared on soundtracks. For the 1993 four-CD box set Message in a Box: The Complete Recordings, every single song the Police ever recorded is included. All the tracks were digitally remastered for the project, sounding superior to the original CD versions of the single albums. Also included is a 68-page booklet that includes an interesting (and often humorous) biography, a time line, and notes from all three bandmembers regarding the rarities that appear for the first time on compact disc here. But of course, the real charm of the box set is the music — album tracks ("Hole in My Life," "It's Alright for You," "Driven to Tears"), hits ("Message in a Bottle," "Can't Stand Losing You," "Spirits in the Material World"), and rarities ("Fallout," a live version of "Next to You") are all timeless classics. While the set is highly recommended to newcomers just discovering the wonders of the Police, longtime fans should consider replacing their tinny-sounding single CDs with the definitive Message in a Box. After all, it contains a total of 24 tracks unavailable (for the most part) anywhere else.

Customer Reviews

Outstanding

This is just an outstanding collection of songs by the best group of it's time.

The best part of this collection is that it shows the progression of the band from the first album to the last. The first album is the hardest, the second has a reggae/rock feel to it, the 3rd is their most straightforward pop album, the fourth is a mixture of world beats with synthesizers and horns and the fifth is the masterpiece Synchronicity. Each of these albums had a real disctinct feel to it and by the time Synchronicity rolls around, you'll be amazed that it's the same band that produced Outlandos D'Amour.

What sets the Police apart from other bands for me is that pretty much every song that Sting wrote for the band is good to great. The only song I can think of that was close to being a throwaway was Shadows in the Rain (which he remade with much better results on his first solo album). Pretty much everything else he did was excellent. Where the band runs into trouble sometimes is when the other two wrote the songs. Some (Bombs away, Omegaman) turn out alright but others (Behind My Camel and Mother) are absolutely atrocious and actually weaken the albums that they were on. Apart from those few songs though, the Police are flat out excellent. The third album is absolutely outstanding with great hooks, fantastic base grooves and a little ska thrown in for good measure. It's fantastic stuff that hadn't been heard before nor since. Truly unique and great to listen to.

The Police were one of those rare bands that just seemed to get progressively bigger with each album. Each one has a masterpiece on it. Roxanne, Message in a Bottle, Don't Stand So Close to Me, Every Little Thing She Does is Magic and Every Breath You Take headlined each release and every one has songs on it that are just as good if not better than the hits. If you're a fan of their hits, then you definitely have to pick this up, it's well worth it.

Songs like Truth Hits Everybody, Next to you, Bring On the Night, It's Alright for You, Man in a Suitcase, When the World is Running Down, Secret Journey, One World and Synchronicty I are just a few of the examples of great songs that non-fans probably aren't familiar with. I've played this album for quite a few of my friends and I'm proud to say that most have been converted into full-on Police fans. Plus with this collection, you get some rare songs that weren't on the albums. Once Upon a Daydream and I Burn for You could've been singles and Visions of the Night captures an energy from the band with a pretty interesting riff from Andy Summers. Low Life and Someone to Talk To (even if it does have Andy of vocals) are a couple of other lost gems.

In short... buy it. The Police were the biggest and best band of their time. There's a reason that a ton of bands were trying to sound like them back then, the Police were an awfully good band. And when the copycatters came out, the Police moved onto other beats. Way ahead of their time, this is a great colletion that you shouldn't pass up.

May you be with the force.

Un must

Pour tous les gens qui, comme moi, ont découvert le groupe du temps du vinyle, l'achat de ce coffret est vite devenu indispensable.
Le livret est très bien fait, il y a plusieurs pièces intéressantes tirées des faces B de 45 tours ou encore de la trame sonore du film "Brimstone & Treacle" dans lequel Sting jouait le rôle principal.
Et le groupe sonne toujours aussi bien, plus de 30 ans plus tard.

Me

Its a great album but why does it so darn $

Biography

Formed: 1977 in London, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '00s

Nominally, the Police were punk rock, but that's only in the loosest sense of the term. The trio's nervous, reggae-injected pop/rock was punky, but it wasn't necessarily punk. All three members were considerably more technically proficient than the average punk or new wave band. Andy Summers had a precise guitar attack that created dense, interlocking waves of sounds and effects. Stewart Copeland could play polyrhythms effortlessly. And Sting, with his high, keening voice, was capable of constructing...
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