. . .
It’s weird to call the next-to-last album by an artist a “transition album,” but that’s certainly how Ghost in the Machine was perceived at the time: an expansion of basic sound of the Police that set the stage for whatever came next.
And at first, I was a bit leery of all of those horns and keyboards that were slathered upon all of the songs — after all, what made them interesting if not great, was the interplay between Sting’s bass, Stewart Copeland’s drums and Andy Summer’s guitar. And while all of that still existed, it was now buried beneath layers of keyboards. And weirdly enough, to me, at least, it actually narrowed down their sound a bit by removing all of the space that existed.
But, but, but: I wasn’t that invested in some kind of platonic ideal of what The Police sounded like — which is good, considering they were pretty much abandoning it, anyways — and so Ghost in The Machine wore me down over the radio, which it just fucking dominated after it came out. So eventually I came to love things like the counterpoint keyboard in the second half of “Spirits in the Material World,” the spooky vibe of “Invisible Sun” and utter joy at the heart of the monster hit single “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic.”
It’s also an incredibly weird-sounding song, which is because Sting had produced such a high-quality demo, they couldn’t get any takes that were better, so they played over the demo, and then had a session guy add completely unnecessary and yet totally spot-on piano to the already keyboard-laden song. And while Stewart Copeland is still noticeable — though mostly for his backbeat than his hi-hat work — Andy Summers is barely anywhere to be found.
It really shouldn’t work, but the chorus is so delirious, it’s impossible to resist, and the ending, where they break the traditional pop song format and Sting alternates chanting variations on the title with his trademark yodel, was one of those things that you kept listening to the early parts of the song to get to.
Aided by a manic music video that was played in the burgeoning MTV all the fucking time, “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic” was a massive hit pretty much everywhere, #1 in the U.K. and #3 here in the U.S. And, in fact, I got pretty sick of this song for a very long time, which, of course isn’t the song’s fault, but the culture’s.
“Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic”
“Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic” official music video
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