The Police - Zenyatta Mondatta

NME.COM feature on The Police - Zenyatta Mondatta album including album review, artwork, tracks, listen now, tour dates, discography and more.

Release date: 14 March 1991

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The Police - Zenyatta Mondatta: Wikipedia Album Entry

Zenyattà Mondatta is the third album by The Police, released in 1980.

Written during the band's second tour and recorded in just four weeks (minus several days for a short tour of the Netherlands). The band members have often expressed disappointment over it, going so far as to re-record two songs during a brief, unsuccessful reunion. Drummer Stewart Copeland, who contributed the songs "Bombs Away" and "The Other Way of Stopping", said about the time pressures:
“ We had bitten off more than we could chew. We finished the album at 4 a.m. on the day we were starting our next world tour... It was cutting it very fine. ”

Nevertheless, Zenyattà Mondatta went to #5 in the U.S. and #1 in the UK and Australia, spurred by the success of the Sting-penned singles "Don't Stand So Close to Me" and "De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da". It would later receive glowing reviews from re-assessments in Rolling Stone and Q Magazine, among others, in spite of the fact that this is the least well-received of the five albums by The Police - so much so, it was the only of their five albums not to obtain a spot on the Rolling Stone's list 500 greatest albums of all time.

As alluded to by Copeland, the Police embarked on a tour of the world the day of the album's completion, beginning in Belgium and reaching places such as India and Egypt.

The album itself is the last of the Police's early era, influenced by reggae and punk and featuring few musical elements on top of the core guitar, bass, and drums. Perhaps due to the lack of time for writing lyrics, the record has two instrumentals, "The Other Way of Stopping", and the Grammy-winning "Behind My Camel" (a third song, "Voices Inside My Head", is mostly an instrumental except for the words "Voices inside my head/ Echoes of things that you said", which are repeated a couple of times in the middle of the song). "Behind My Camel" was guitarist Andy Summers' first entirely self-penned composition, and it was not popular with the other members of the band. According to Sting, "I hated that song so much that, one day when I was in the studio, I found the tape lying on the table. So I took it around the back of the studio and actually buried it in the garden." Allegedly, Sting was so uninterested in the piece that he refused to play it. Andy Summers managed to coax Stewart Copeland into recording the bit as a duo, and then overdubbed the bass line himself.

Zenyattà Mondatta is also notable for containing the band's first lyrics ever referring to political events, with Sting's "Driven To Tears" commenting on poverty and Copeland's "Bombs Away" referring to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. These themes would become more prevalent in the Police's next album, Ghost in the Machine.

Zenyattà Mondatta has been translated as Sanskrit for "Top of the World".

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