At this moment I'm listening to Outlandos d'Amour, the first album by The Police from way back in 1978.
It's a killer.
Lead singer Sting was an angry young man back then, not the rainforest-saving softie he is now.
He was a hellion, a beautiful beast. A bottle-blond bad boy blessed with the handsomest face in Britain (until the advent of David Beckham). In songs such as Next To You, So Lonely, Roxanne, Hole In My Life and Truth Hits Everybody, his voice is a haunting animal sound - full of mystery and menace and majesty.
He sang of loneliness, lust, jealousy, death and dreams.
Sting also had the good fortune to be backed by two of the greatest musicians of all time - drummer Stewart Copeland and guitarist Andy Summers.
They took certain elements of reggae - the offbeat rhythms and staccato chords - and infused them with a punk sensibility. It was a magic formula that made The Police one of the most critically and commercially successful bands of all time.
Which brings us to Magic!. Urgh!
Magic! is a Canadian band that currently has the No 1 song on the Billboard Hot 100 - Rude.
Lead singer Nasri Atweh has been quoted as saying that he intended the band to be a modern-day The Police.
Talk about delusional.
It would be like Justin Bieber saying he's the modern-day Elvis, and not even The Biebs is dumb enough (yet) to say such a thing. Magic! - with that annoying exclamation point - is the very definition of mediocre.
Rude contains not one iota of poetry. The lyrics - telling the deathly dull tale of a guy asking his girlfriend's dad for permission to marry her - are ploddingly literal.
Magic!'s sound is utterly lacking in sex or danger. There's something about middle-class suburban reggae that makes it sound so whitebread. If it was an animal, you could tame it with a saucer of milk. They make UB40 sound like Peter Tosh.
While Sting had the looks and the poise of some arrogant, pitiless god, Nasri has all the danger of a moody high-school truant. When did pop stars become such measly mewlers?
That exclamation point in Magic! should be turned into a question mark, and then follow it with the word "No".
That's where the exclamation point should go. Magic? No!
This article was first published on July 30, 2014.
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