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Reviews: The Police: Zenyatta Mondatta

Reviews: 9

Review by emilsjr March 9, 2003
Performance:   Sonics:
Flushed from their success with their first 2 albums, the Police rushed out this album. Frankly, most bands would sell their soul to make as compelling an album. Sonically, I feel this album is the most improved over the previous releases and the best of all the Police releases.

The highlights here are amazing. "Don't Stand So Close" shows how clever a song writer Sting was becoming. "Driven to Tears" and "When the world is running down" (Sting performs this song live to this day) complete three of the best "First Three tracks" ever. The rest of the album fails to live up to them, although I always thought "Voices in My Head" should have been a bigger hit. The original version of "Shadows in the Rain" here is much better than Sting's solo effort.Typical of most Police discs, there is some filler. Zenyatta seems to have more then any of the others.

The SACD brings a level of clarity and detail that I have never heard from these songs. Although I still feel Ghost in the Machine was their peak, Zenyatta Mondatta has some strong material and for $15, this is a no brainer for any Police fan.

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Review by Penguin April 4, 2003
Performance:   Sonics:
The SACD transfer of this disk is soft and kinda muddy. I think the tape shows its age and was not well cared for. Compared to the original vinyl this SACD has no chance.

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Review by JW July 18, 2003 (1 of 2 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
ZM is probably the most polished and sophisticated or perhaps musically 'mature' Police album. It's upbeat and it definitely swings more than it rocks. In that sense it reaches out to Sting's solo career with jazz inspired albums as 'The Dream Of The Blue Turtles' and 'Bring On The Night' (now those were well recorded discs whose master tapes should be used for DSD remastering!).

Sonically ZM is also the best one of the bunch. I bought 5 of the SACD's and I am still forming my opinion about them - at a later stage I will add more comprehensive listening notes about the sonic merits of these remasters. This may lead me to review my ratings as well. For now it is my view that compared to other SACD's the The Police remasters don't impress me that much. Perhaps that's why we have some discenting opinions here amongst the reviewers so far. Depending on the perspective you take you can rate an SACD 1 or 5 stars - compared to vinyl, to CD, to 45rpm reissues etc. I tend to rate them compared to other SACD's and well recorded RBCD's.

More to follow.

Follow up:
Overall the sonic merits of this series are questionable, measured against the high standard SACD is capable of. They may be better than the previously released RBCD, but have they received the best possible treatment to let them shine on SACD? I think that a similar result could have been achieved on RBCD 'done right' and from there stems my slight disappointment in this series. None of them merit a higher than 3 star rating in my view. Having said all that, I have to note that perhaps the mastertapes did not allow for a better transfer. I cannot judge that. Check out my other reviews of The Police remasters to compare notes and see what you think. After repreated listening I would rank them as follows:

1 Zenyatta Mondatta: good bass, balanced sound with extended treble
2 Regatta de Blanc: sound equal to ZM
3 Ghost In The Machine: richer and darker sound than others with good bass
4 Synchronicity: better than Outlandos but a little veiled
5 Outlandos d'Amour: metallic treble that at times sounds congested, somewhat flat

Jw

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Review by dorokusai September 15, 2003 (0 of 2 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
This is my third SACD pickup from the new Police re-issues. My second favorite album, and really nice to listen to. Music is upbeat, not as moody as Ghost in the Machine. Easy buy.

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Review by tentimestwenty February 3, 2004 (1 of 3 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
As with other reviews, I should point out that I have not heard the SACD layer, just the CD layer. I'm waiting for a mid-priced music-only SACD player.

This disc comes close to the original vinyl. It definitely sounds more compressed and harsh, but overall it is an improvement on the previous RBCD version. My only complaint is that the treble, specifically on the hi-hat of Canary in a Coalmine is obviously muted. The original LP doesn't have this and I hope the SACD layer doesn't either. It's so noticeable I found myself running for the LP the very first time I heard it.

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Review by Noonions March 31, 2004 (0 of 1 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
After pefecting their musical vision on their second album,Zenyatta Mondatta gave the Police the big artistic and commercial breakthough,going Top 5 and spawning 2 Top 10 hits("Da Do Do Doo Da Da Da Da" and "Don't Stand So Close To Me").Other standouts includes "Driven To Tears","When The World Starts Running Down You Make The Best Of What's Sill Around" and "Canary In A Coalmine".The 2-channel SACD is a notable improvement over the standard CD,sounding smoother,fuller and less compressed.Another winner for Police and Sting fans on SACD!

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Review by Beck June 15, 2007 (3 of 3 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
I think this is the Police's best album. Certainly it features one of the greatest album sides of all time. Contrary to some of the other reviews, I think that the sonically the SACD adds a little to the CD release. Some of the percussion and background effects (eg During De Doo Doo Doo 'when their eloquence escapes you' you can hear the quiet shredding of a guitar in the background much more distinctly)

Still, I think the whole Police catalogue is worth it on SACD...

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Review by king-bing September 9, 2008 (1 of 6 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
I'd fogotten how this is the weakest of the five Police albums.; A lot of the tracks are mot much better than filler material and even the big hits are among their weaker efforts. The chorus effect on Andy Summers' guitar is truly over the top but that was probably in the original master too...

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Review by progboy October 8, 2012 (2 of 2 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
A few months back I was surprised to have found this gem from the 80's re-released and available on SACD format at a low low price .......i was bummed out that I missed this one the first time around ! I should mention that I am still a big fan of The Police albums. Zenyatta is one of my favourite of the Police albums with some of my fav tracks...Canary In A Coalmine....Driven To Tears...and Bombs away.

This was a total High School album for me and I must have listened to this album countless times having owned this on vinyl, CD and Remastered CD.

I really had no big expectation on the sound of this one and read a few of the other reviews here on this site and really had just an average expectation when I ordered it.

Although there are a few wrinkles on this recording there are also a few highlites...

First the down side....I find some of the guitar parts kind of hidden and less accentuated as I would have liked.....almost a dull finish on Andy Summer's guitar on some tracks...and lost a bit in the mix at times. Perhaps this is the way it was recorded and now I finally get to hear the "real mix" ...I am not sure but my Remastered RBCD has a better guitar presence IMHO.

On the plus side I love the bass placement and speaker separation and also find the drumming very clearly differentiated and pulled from the sound with nice clarity (clearly Stuart Copeland was a great drummer!). Sting's bass is very well differentiated as well in this SACD layer and sounds pretty punchy and deep....just the way you like it kids !!!!

I do like this SACD overall and think it may be the best single presentation of Zenyatta Mondatta that I have ever heard.

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