Feb 12

The Police: “It’s Alright for You”


Spelled with one “g” and translated to English, it means “white boat race,” but that doesn’t sound nearly as cool.

My disparaging remarks about Sting’s pretentiousness [at the end of that post] notwithstanding, I love the Police — for the most part. From the appearance of “Roxanne” on their 1978 debut album, Outlandos d’Amour, through 1981’s Ghost in the Machine, they were one of my top 2 or 3 bands during those years. I saw them on the Ghost in the Machine tour, and they proved themselves to be an equally fantastic live band — as anyone who knows anything about them is already aware, they’re all great musicians, and Stewart Copeland in particular was their backbone and driving force on drums (ignoring the fact that Sting wrote most of their songs).

It was only when Synchronicity came out in 1983 that I found myself disappointed with one of their albums. And really, I have to blame Sting. His head had swelled to at least three times its normal size by then, and although his growing pompousness started to become apparent back on Zenyatta Mondatta a few years before, it found its full fruition with Synchronicity (although I suspect it got even worse on his solo stuff; it’s just that, other than Dream of the Blue Turtles, I couldn’t be bothered to listen to his solo stuff for any extent of time). The fact that two of my favorite songs on the album are “Ms. Gradenko” and “Mother” (written and sung by Stewart and Andy, respectively — and, oddly, the two songs that Stephen Erlewine on AllMusic calls the “awful” songs) should tell you something. With time and distance from it, I’ve come to appreciate the album more, but at the time, something felt off about most of it.

But Reggatta de Blanc, their 1979 second album, is still for me the peak of their albums — the next two had a large proportion of great songs as well, but on Reggatta de Blanc they still sounded punky (although not “punk”) and hadn’t become too involved with the guitar atmospherics yet. And I think a part of my attachment to the album is sentimental, remembering many a day of listening to it over and over in my room after getting home from school. Among the many great songs, the one that always gets me moving to this day is “It’s Alright for You,” a punk-ish number that wasn’t one of the singles (I think) but certainly could have been. The Police waste little time diving into the song and never take any detours from its pulsating beat and main directive, which could only have been to get the fans at their shows bouncing as high in the air as possible. And although I may have lost an inch or two on my bounce, it still works, I can assure you.


  1. Judyzwo says:

    Are you dissin’ Synchronicity? I remember bouncing around to this in my childhood bedroom. Good choice, Dave!

    1. Dave Gershman says:

      Yes, I guess I am dissin’ it — got a problem with that, Jude? To be fair, as I said, I can enjoy a good portion of it nowadays…

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