I now get to present a song from my favourite album. As with many of these “favourite” categories, I don’t have just one. The challenge is choosing an album and then a track. I’ll take this opportunity to talk about the “album” (formerly the “LP” or long-playing album, as compared to a single) as a lost art. It used the be that an album was a coherent work of art. The tracks meant something taken as a whole, and the greatest albums had sums that were greater than its individual parts (ie, tracks or songs). That’s largely gone now, what with the iTunes buy-a-track culture reducing albums to hit songs and filler.
The Police – Wrapped Around Your Finger
Synchronicity remains one of my favourite albums, twenty-five years after I first laid ears on it. I was already a fan of The Police, starting from Ghost in the Machine. I quickly acquired their back catalog, and each of the cassettes had to be replaced at least once each. I bought Synchronicity three times on cassette, and three more times on CD before getting it digitally in FLAC format. Built around Sting’s fascination with Arthur Koestler’s writings on the work of Carl Jung, the songs on the album combine amazing musical breadth with brilliant lyrics.
“You consider me the young apprentice
Caught between the Scylla and Charibdes.
Hypnotized by you if I should linger
Staring at the ring around your finger.”
I remain a fan of Sting to this day, and have most if not all of his work on CD. Synchronicity was genius, and it was created despite the members of The Police hating each other during the recording. Perhaps that was a component of the alchemy of the album.