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Friday, April 21, 2017

Composite Mood



Bad start today. Maybe start over?

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Animal Crossing Review Up on The Gamecube Archives

I have made good on my promise to focus more of my retro-gaming on the Nintendo Gamecube, with my first review, published here.
I had a ton of fun writing it, and also rediscovering how fun and immersive Animal Crossing can be.
Looking forward to hopefully writing many more of these.

Monday, April 17, 2017

The Nicsperiment's Honest Truth

When I went to college, I couldn't pick a major. I had no idea what I wanted to do in life. I changed majors a thousand times. For a brief time, I even co-majored in History and Religious Studies! Back then, Louisiana had a special, recently rolled out program called TOPS. TOPS would pay for a full, four-year college tuition for any willing, in-state student with a good high school GPA and high ACT test score. The only catch was, you had to go to a Louisiana college, and you had to begin in the fall semester directly following high school graduation. I had wanted to take some time away from education, to figure out what I wanted to do with my life, but the lure of free college was too tempting not to bite. I gave in and took the free tuition to LSU.
Finally, in my third of nearly five years at LSU, I settled on an English major, with a core concentration in Creative Writing, with minors in Film Theory and History (added in my final semester, when I realized I only needed six hours to get it!). I don't know if I am supposed to capitalize those or not, but it sure makes them look more important! I picked Creative Writing because I knew I enjoyed it, and would enjoy taking the classes--I had been writing short stories since I was a wee lad, anyway. I thought that being a writer would be cool, but didn't really think about what my career would be, or how I would make money after college, or that I would be alive after college and have to support myself in order to continue being alive, or that I might even get married and have my very own family that I would have to support in order for them to continue to be alive, too.
I bounced around from whatever job would have me, to whatever slightly better job would have me, and now, thirteen years, a wife and a kid later, it looks like I finally have a pretty clear shot at success in life as a paper-pusher. Awesome! Just what I thought I would do in college!
I don't know if I will ever be paid to put to use what I learned in college about writing (Studying under a twice-nominated for a Pulitzer mad-genius. I was his prized pupil, and I feel like I am disappointing him every single day of my life!). In complete honesty, I must admit, I haven't written a work of short fiction in over five years. However, in that span, I have blogged quite a bit. My blog started as a way to bloviatingly barf out all my emotions...while meanwhile cultivating an image of myself that was probably not realistic. Then I gave that a rest, before finally bringing The Nicsperiment back to focus on a sort of life retrospective framed under the guise of reviewing every album in my bloviated music collection. Yeah, I know I just technically used "bloviated" in the incorrect context, but I DON'T CARE!!! HAHAHAHA! This is my space, and I can use it however I want!
That's what the blog has been. A personal space. And hidden deep within this blog are the most personal expressions of who I really am as a person. Those personal expressions are my Travelogues.
When I die, I think there is one artistic achievement I should be remembered by, the only thing I would be proud to show to Mr. Madden at heaven's gate, attached to the phrase: I did this! Well, actually, I wrote a handful of stories about a decade ago that I think he'd be really proud of, as well, but as far as honestly expressing myself artistically and who I am as a human being over the last thirteen years of my life, I don't think I've done it better in anything than the travelogues I post on The Nicsperiment. So if anyone is reading this in the future, and is curious about who the author of The Nicsperiment really was, type "travelogue" into the search bar.
That's it. That's me.
Where gloves? photo DCP_0007.jpg

Monday, April 10, 2017

Travelogue: Brownell Memorial Park Carillon and The Mystery of the Morgan City Rambler


A few years ago, I was at Grand Isle, LA, but I was not fishing, crabbing, shrimping, or beaching like the other whales. I was watching cable access television. Some glorious local program, sponsored by a local motorcycle company, featured a hip leather-jacket clad couple gallivanting around strange locations in South Louisiana. At some point, much like a fever dream in a Stephen King novel, there was a massive tower in the middle of nowhere, full of ringing bells.  I sat up, entranced by its blissful, alien melodies.
"I am going to this place," I sang in whale song.
I began my journey, aka, I did not go to that place and lived my normal life for several years, then thought, oh yeah, that bell thing, and went a couple of weeks ago. Here, translated from my native Whaleanese, which is essentially just yiddish with more bubbles, is the tale of my adventure. Please blame all of the typos and grammatical errors on the translator, a wily moray eel named Frank that I met through Craig's List.  Okay, Frank, but some dots right here, or something.
*     *     *
I set out for Morgan City not so early in the morning because the bell thing, or Carillon, located in Morgan City, LA, did not open until ten that morning. Research, which I don't really like to do for these travelogues, instead just typing whatever stupid garbage first pops into my mind, shows that the 106-feet tall Carillon features 61 bells. varying in size between 18 and 4730 pounds, and was built by someone with entirely too much disposable income back when people could afford such things. Songs of great depth can be played through the Carillon by means of an actual human sitting at a clavier. Clavier sounds like clavicle. It would be cool if the clavier was made out of clavicles.
A clavier is like a piano, and that cable access show I watched featured footage from the top of the tower, where an actual human played songs on the bells through a clavier.  Now you possibly know what a Carillon is, or you just got bored and clicked your bookmarked porn or knitting site of choice, and are still waiting for it to load.
For those still with me, Morgan City is a a town in South Louisiana. I'd say it is on the ocean, or more specifically, on the Gulf of Mexico, but in South Louisiana, outside of Grand Isle, no town is actually on the ocean.  It is generally the town, and then 10-20 miles of mud, and then the ocean. Plus, our whole state is slowly sinking into the gulf, thanks the weight of deposited sediment. Thanks a lot, Father of Waters.
I had never been to Morgan City before, even though it is 90-minutes from my house. I set out on a nearly empty stomach because I heard they feed you real good in Morgan City, and I was tired of eating nothing but krill. Eh, I'm tired of the "I'm a whale" joke already. I'll drop it now, I guess (ED. NOTE: Wait, am I still getting paid? I have a family to support. How will I feed my eel pups? The minnow harvest was low this year. My wife has been giving her portion to the kids every night. Did you know we lay over 10,000 eggs. Do you have any idea how much food it takes to feed 10,000 starving eels? My wife is wasting away! I'm so weak, I can barely type this! Pl). Yes, it is definitely time to drop this dumb whale schtick. Anyway, where was I? Oh, yes.
The day before my trip, I decided to head to FYE. I have this tradition of purchasing cheap used CD's blind, and then listening to them on road trips. Not only is this fun and surprising, but sometimes you happen upon a real winner. See: this travelogue for reference.
However, this winter, FYE closed. Physical media is dead. I decided to do the digital equivalent and purchase three $5 albums blind from Amazon's digital store, because that plucky little company could use a little more capital.
I put on one of these albums, Past Life, by a new band called Unwill. This album is metalcore in the style of Underoath, by which I mean it is by 20 year-old white, middle-class dudes with their whole lives ahead of them, who hate themselves and wish they were dead, which in turn makes me feel really old and out of touch. It was pretty good.
The drive to Morgan City was very swampy, and I got to travel down one of my favorite stretches of Louisiana highway, LA 69 (also, if LA 69 PM's you, IGNORE). LA 69, once you pass the speed trap in White Castle (not the burger place, the impoverished, badly aging town that needs to catch you speeding to make rent), runs along Avoca Island Cutoff Bayou, and there are houses on the other side of the bayou that can only be reached by tiny, hand-pulled, wood-plank ferries. Lest this sound like some made-up thing I saw on a True Detective episode, here is a picture I took for proof. There are five or six houses like this along the bayou, and this is one of the reasons I love Louisiana.

I then took a right onto Highway 70 at Pierre Part, and started seeing a ton of "Abortion Is Murder" signs. In the last half decade, I have completely stripped The Nicsperiment of any political identity, but all of these signs reminded me of an ex co-worker who thinks and says in these exact words, "Liberals want to kill all the babies. In fact, they actually probably want to kill everybody." That sounds like a very well-reasoned and well-educated political argument, and a great reason to vote for conservative politicians--actually, this ex co-worker admits this is the only reason he votes for conservative politicians...and he's right. Surely every one of American's 175 million non-conservatives wakes up each day, immediately thinking, "How the hell could I kill a bunch of babies this morning? I hate those damn little things so much. Hmm...what could I eat for breakfast this morning? Man, I wish babies were edible. Two birds with one stone, there. Plus, that would cut down on climate change. We need to get more liberals like me in political office to make this happen. I hope those conservative voters don't foil my liberal plans!" Maybe that old co-worker of mine will one day run for office. He'd probably win. And this is one of the reasons I hate Louisiana.
I crossed a bridge I once saw at a distance at sunset while driving my cousin to his bachelor party at a Pierre Part Bar called Crobar. For some reason, though, I couldn't remember where Crobar was, only that there were a lot of bug and animal noises outside when we were leaving it, and Google maps it in the middle of a swamp. Hmm...

I then drove along Louisiana's most prevalent landmass, a levee, for quite some time, until I saw a sign along the highway, and took a hard left into the woods.

I crossed my fingers and hoped that Brownell Memorial Park was free to enter...and just like your mother, it was!
I drove a short distance and ended up at a classic swamp shack (still waiting to see my first "post-modern" swamp shack).

The shack was manned by a very nice, talkative woman. An elderly Colorado couple happened to pull up at the same time as me, and bore the brunt of her sweet hospitality, but when I saw a poster for Tarzan of the Apes, I had to ask, "Was this movie shot here?"

"Yes," she replied. "We actually showed a screening of it a few years ago...it was...well...um...it was...interesting."
Well, with a tagline like "TARZAN DID NOT KNOW WHY HE CARESSED HER...HE HAD NEVER SEEN A WHITE WOMAN BEFORE," I don't understand why it could have been anything out of the ordinary, but seeing as my own wife is not white, maybe I am missing something. Do white women have some kind of magical power? Should I try to caress one?
After looking at some photos of the bells' construction, I headed back out to the walking path. Brownell Memorial Park borders Lake Palourde, which is part of the Atchafalaya Basin. Also, a manatee was spotted there last year! but I didn't see it (ED. NOTE: That's because the manatee, washed into the lake by a storm, shortly died in the fresh, cold water). Brownell Memorial Park is like my wife of non-European descent-- and this is no offense to the women whose mere presence causes Tarzan to compulsively caress them-- beautiful, but in an entirely different way, though I guess I could make a bunch of awful double-entendrees about swamp and hanging moss or something. This is a family blog, though, so you perverted, life-hating liberals will get none of that!

Also, there's a sculpture of some dude just chilling with a bunch of raccoons, with absolutely no explanation. And this is one of the reasons I love Louisiana.

Wait, it looks like there's an explanatory plaque right to his left. How could I have missed that? But wait, why is it on his left side? More liberal lies and distortion!
Speaking of lies, you know how I told you that The Carillon has 61 bells that are played by a clavier? Apparently, the one at Brownell Memorial Park is only played on special occasions.  The rest of the time, every fifteen minutes, speakers, controlled by a computer, play pre-recorded bell music. I realized this after seeing the mysterious tower rise up out of the woods, then produce beautiful music without a single bell ringing...wait a minute...oh, no. I just realized something. The bells are hammered. Not rung. So actually, the computer program might still be ringing the bells. I just wouldn't be able to see them ringing, because they wouldn't be moving. Oh crap, I need to make a phone call real quick...here's a picture I took of the tower to keep you occupied--

(30 MINUTES LATER)
--okay, I just had the most charming conversation with the lovely older woman in the visitor's center, as well as a woman in the Morgan City tourism department. It turns out that neither of them actually know if the computer program is playing the bells, or just playing pre-recorded music...but I don't recall seeing any kind of speaker up there. Maybe the bells were really ringing. Maybe, instead of just having knee jerk reactions, I should make sure my opinions are informed by thoughtful dialogue and the accrual of facts. Nah, that just sounds like some kind of snowflake jibber-jabber! This is a free country, and I can think what I want!
Anyway, as a cool peaceful breeze blew off the lake, I sat in peace and filmed the tower chiming 11, and playing a couple of songs.

I then got up to take a walk around Brownell Park's lovely, but incredibly short walking paths.
This is when I felt the pain on my butt.
Something was biting me and it wasn't existential dread, or the encroachment of time; this wasn't metaphysical, but an actual creature with teeth, sinking those teeth into the left cheek of my buttocks.
I immediately spanked myself, unfortunately in front of that couple from Colorado, and then fled to a private place in the woods where I could stick my hand down my pants, which is something I'm thinking about putting on my Linked In account. After fishing around, fearing a large black widow and leg meat-liquidification, I discovered, removed, and promptly crushed the culprit: a large fire ant. I hate those guys. By this point, the Colorado couple had fled, and I had the Park all to myself, including this lovely vista.

I then did what every sane person would do in that instance: I sat on a bench and played Chrono Trigger on my DS for an hour.

After a lovely gameplay session, I looked up to see a little friend from the game had come to life, and was sitting on a broken bench on the edge of the lake.

Most people would take this frog as a sign that God or the universe loves them, or would simply think, "What a lovely frog!" or (if you're a hypocritical, offspring hating liberal) "What a horrid frog, let me squash it with my shoe so it doesn't spawn!" but I instead thought this:
Wait a minute, did Chris from work give me this copy of Chrono Trigger, or did he just loan it to me? Will I have to give it back some day? Should I ask him if he gave it to me, or if he wants money for it, or if he wants it back some day? What if he did give it to me, but he forgot that he gave it to me, and will then want something for it if I mention it to him? But aren't material goods impermanent? Chrono Trigger is your favorite video game of all time, and has been for 20 years. You still have your original Super Nintendo copy, which still works and holds your original save file. This portable version, which you received for free, is only a convenience, and you can't take either version with you when you die! But what if they don't even make it that long? Video game systems weren't meant to last for decades upon decades. Eventually, all of the video games and systems you've collected will not only become obsolete, but non-functional. But then, won't physical media go the way of the dodo, anyway? Look at what just happened to FYE. Won't everything be easily available digitally? Even if isn't, and the physical copies of your video games still somehow miraculously work, are you going to be playing Chrono Trigger on your DS in bed in 50 years when you are in your mid-80's? No, probably not. It's not material goods that matter. It's people. It's human relationships. Wait a minute, how did I get to this section of woods? I haven't even been paying attention to my physical surroundings, I have been lost so deeply in this metaphysical, existential mental quandary. Look what's staring at me? A huge owl! My, how we can miss the beauty of creation by worrying about possessions and property. Who owns this beautiful owl? Who can know if it has a soul? But seriously, though, did Chris say I could have this, or did he just loan it to me?

After all this foolishness, I realized I was hungry and left.
I took Highway 70 into Morgan City, and searched for the near legendary Morgan's Restaurant. This restaurant, like Dolly Parton, is famous for two things (in her case, her wit and humor):
1. Its near perfect rating and status as top-ranked Morgan City restaurant on Trip Adviser. For some perspective, when people talk about Louisiana food being the best in the world, they're talking about the food in a town like Morgan City.
2. It is located in a hotel lobby.
That's right, the highest-rated restaurant in a town more full of good food than Uncle Scrooge's Money Bin is full of doubloons' best restaurant shares a space with the Clarion Inn Hotel.

Let me tell you something else ("Please" let me tell you something else?): Morgan's is a buffet--it has a full menu, but the buffet is its claim to fame. In the early 2000's, after the Beau Rivage casino in Biloxi was constructed, many people, myself included, were excited about its buffet--I don't gamble, but I do eat. Unfortunately, I have never found the Beau Rivage buffet very satisfying. Morgan's kills it. It is everything I wanted Beau Rivage to be. The food at Morgan's skews more typically "Southern" than "Cajun"---think smothered fried chicken over jambalaya--but good gravy, and I ate a whole lot of gravy that day, it was delicious. I didn't take any pictures of my food because that would have just been obscene, considering the amount of plates I put away, and the three tall glasses of Dr. Pepper and Sweet Tea (always capitalized) I dumped down my gullet. At some point, my wife called me, and her sweet voice lifted me out of my eating-induced stupor. Full of good food and my wife's optimism, I drove around Morgan City aimlessly.
Morgan City, like most towns in South Louisiana, has three markers.
Giant Catholic Church around which the entire town is based:

Check.
Cemetary that holds a sum of bodies greater than the entire current population of the town.

Check.
Badly aging, down-on-its-luck downtown area that's seen better days.
Check, and mate.
Actually, I am only saying that about Morgan City's downtown to serve a narrative I already predetermined before even visiting the city, something I learned from those godless liberals I heard about on TV. The downtown is actually composed of several streets, contains a park with a cool fountain, and an awesome-looking blues bar that I will surely visit if I ever find myself in the vicinity of Morgan City after dark.
Another interesting fact: following the will of our fearless leader, who God obviously intends to use in a sort of pussy-grabbing Moses role to lead us to the promised land, you stupid godless liberals, Morgan City is a walled city. In all seriousness, there is a wall protecting the city from the Atchafalaya River, who, much like our President, can get a little too handsy. This makes for quite a strange effect, but rather than some nebulous concept, like a murdering, raping, job-stealing immigrant, it keeps out something that is only fluid on an elemental level.
The truth is, Morgan City has a cool, totally unique vibe and attitude. I mean, you are welcomed into the town by a shrimp boat.

Which is a great insult to any shrimp visiting from out of town, but for everyone else, it is an original, warm welcome.
Bolstered by this knowledge, my wife's encouragement, and the rather alarming quantity of medicinals I procured from the local Walgreen's to counter-effect the feeling of consuming double-digit pounds of food, I decided to visit Brownell Memorial Park Carillon on the way out of town.
I leapt out of my car, strode through the woods, past the tower, to the lapping shores of Lake Palourde, where I pissed into the waves as a conqueror.

Suck it, libtards!!!

Friday, April 07, 2017

The Police -- Every Breath You Take: The Classics


10/10

If I wanted to show someone what The Police were about in one album, I'd play, Every Breath You Take: The Classics. In our current streaming-based musical climate, a greatest hits compilation might seem silly. However, for a band like The Police, who were so musically diverse, yet never quite nailed a perfect album, this greatest hits collection is the perfect gateway to their work. It showcases the raw, reggae-influenced urgency of their first album, the jammier, more stretched out and polished version of that on their second, the combination of the sound of their second album with a more pop-leaning on their third, the complete abandonment of reggae with a dark, deeper focus on pop-experimentation of their fourth, and the focus on Sting's more adult contemporary solo sound from their fifth and final. The Police are one of my favorite all-time bands, but even I can admit that hearing all of their best work together is better for a newcomer than say, diving immediately into the heady, stretched out jams of Zenyatta Mondatta. You really get the full-range of their talents here, and thankfully, none of the songs are edited down--for instance, "Walking on the Moon" still gets to space out for its full five minutes. Also, the songs are in near chronological order (and in complete album order), marking the gradual change in sound subtle, so that the trip from track one, "Roxanne" to track twelve, "Wrapped Around Your Finger" feels like a natural journey. As a bonus, at the end you also get the drum-machine and keyboard soaked 1986 re-imagining of "Don't Stand So Close to Me," and a more muscular, but slightly compressed-sounding remix of "Message in a Bottle."
You can't go wrong with this collection. There are plenty of bloated "Greatest Hits" compilations full of head-scratching omissions. To perfectly distill everything this short-lived, but incredible band could do in 12 tracks is a miracle, and one not to be missed. You could probably even stream it!

1995 A&M
1. Roxanne 3:11
2. Can't Stand Losing You 2:58
3. Message in a Bottle 4:50
4. Walking on the Moon 5:01
5. Don't Stand So Close to Me 4:04
6. De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da 4:06
7. Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic 4:19
8. Invisible Sun 3:44
9. Spirits in the Material World 2:58
10. Every Breath You Take 4:13
11. King of Pain 4:57
12. Wrapped Around Your Finger 5:14
13. Don't Stand So Close to Me '86 4:51
14. Message in a Bottle" (New Classic Rock mix) 4:51

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

The Police -- Synchronicity


9/10

It is useful to look at the side change for the vinyl version of The Police's final studio album, Synchronicity, to fully understand it. The first side serves as the first half of an eclectic, slightly uneven, strangely reggae-less Police record, and the second is Sting's audition as a solo artist. The first includes the two-part album-titled  energetic rocker song cycle, the world-music-inspired "Walking in Your Footsteps," the jazzy, downbeat "O My God," Andy Summers' bonkers "Mother," and Stewart Copeland's quick, pleasant "Miss Gradenko." The latter two songs, written respectively by the band's guitarist and guitar player, are their last for the band. "Mother" is an atonal nightmare, a bit of a joke with Summers wailing about his mother, but good fun if you're expecting it. "Miss Gradenko" is another Copeland song that would sound better if someone besides Sting sang it--Sting sounds again out of his element and disinterested singing Copeland's song.
Flip the record, though, and you hear a side from an entirely different album. It kicks off with "Every Breath You Take," The Police's biggest hit, and one of the best-selling rock songs of all time. Sting shows up with an entirely new singing voice, smooth, deeper, pitch perfect, as if he's been saving it for this exact moment. The song is ubiquitous, and has been for more than 30 years...and I'd be lying if I said it wasn't great. With its strange , haunting mix of voyeurism and seduction, it's a timeless song. Sting follows this up with "King of Pain." It's near adult contemporary, and Summers and Copeland are relegated to mere supporting players, but it's another timeless one. "Wrapped Around Your Finger" is the same. The vinyl closes with "Tea in the Sahara," a haunting, atmospheric song, featuring minimalistic, but ethereal textures by Summers, subtle, lovely rhythm from Copeland, and one of Sting's most haunting sets of lyrics and vocals.
This is the final full-length work by a band who were getting into fistfights with each other and couldn't even be in the same room during the recording process. It's easy to see in the sleeve photo, with Sting wearing sunglasses and his bandmates eyes naked, that he is too cool for school here, and ready to leave the talented, but equally headstrong Copeland and Summers behind. The tension, though, resulted in a great album, not perfect due to its inconsistency, but great. Even with Sting wielding a heavy-hand, Copeland and Summers' singular talent at their respective instruments shines through in each song. Even though Sting wields that hand heaviest on the second side, it's probably the strongest four song streak the band, and Sting himself for that matter, have put to tape.
If you listen to this through a more modern medium than vinyl, you also get the bonus closer, "Murder by Numbers," a jazzy, political song that is icing on Synchronicity's cake. So on a metaphysical level, I recommend the vinyl, but on a practical level, I recommend the CD or MP3 version. If they could have stopped punching each other in the face, I really would like to see what they would have come up with next.

Such a dreamy song, even with its sinister lyrics. I remember being sick as a child, lying on the couch, fading in and out of waking, this video on the television.

1983 A&M
1. Synchronicity I 3:23
2. Walking in Your Footsteps 3:36
3. O My God 4:02
4. Mother 3:05
5. Miss Gradenko 2:00
6. Synchronicity II 5:00
7. Every Breath You Take 4:13
8. King of Pain 4:59
9. Wrapped Around Your Finger 5:13
10. Tea in the Sahara 4:11
11. Murder by Numbers (cassette and CD only) 4:36

Monday, April 03, 2017

The Police -- Ghost in the Machine


6/10

Ghost in the Machine is the weirdest Police record, and also the most disappointing. That album cover, along with the opening track, "Spirits in the Material World," gives the impression that the listener is in for some kind of dark, futuristic mysticism--all three band members operating at full capacity in a sort of endless moonlight groove, over a signature synth-line. Then, track two pops up, and it's the poppiest song The Police ever recorded. Still, "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic," is infectious and energetic, and features a 90-second outro full of drummer Stewart Copeland going nuts. Copeland then has a hand tied behind his back for "Invisible Sun," a dark, cool, and driving synth-focused track that relegates the master drummer to mostly hitting one tom. The song seems to continue the themes of "Spirits in the Material World," and it appears the listener is getting a concept album exploring the title of the album, with some pop hits mixed in. And then Sting starts wailing on the saxophone.
I don't want to say that tracks four, five, six, seven, and eight are all complete missteps, but that five song stretch is a definite low-point in The Police's oeuvre. Sting tries to sing in French on one of these, but no matter what language he's singing in, these songs are pretty bad. The space The Police explored so deftly on their past albums is completely missing here. Sting's "melodies" often involve constant, staccato-style singing, and during the rare moment that he isn't doing that, he's picked up the afore-mentioned sax and starting blowing away. The time-signatures are essentially all a robotic 4/4, leaving Copeland little room to improvise, and guitarist, Andy Summers, to noodle away in the wash of noise. When the time-signature and tempo finally does change, and Copeland bursts free on track eight, "One World (Not Three)," the song is so goofy and sax-saturated, it doesn't even make a difference. However, if you take the song away from the horrid river pushing it downstream, i.e., the previous four tracks, it works a lot better.

Then, as suddenly as it horrifically appeared, the sax disappears. I love the saxophone, but I do not love when Sting tries to play the saxophone on The Police records. The three closing songs mirror the three openers, as they don't sound like the album's awful middle. "Omegaman"'s chorus guitar-line sounds unfortunately like a saxophone, reawakening bad memories barely put to bed, but it's so driving in its other sections, it is a great change of pace. "Secret Journey" sounds like what "Spirits in the Material World" hinted the entire album would sound like, dark and mystical, with plenty of space for every member of the band to explore. The album ends with Stewart Copeland's greatest songwriting contribution to the The Police's catalogue, "Darkness." Interestingly enough, with Stewart as songwriter, the drums are very minimal, but the song, mostly piano-based, does a great job of creating an atmosphere of self-doubt. Most shockingly of all, Sting actually sings somebody else's song like he means it. Thus ends The Police's weakest record. Four albums in four years can do that to you.
This vinyl was around the house during my early childhood. I don't remember having this negative a reaction to it, but then again, we only listened to one side at a time. I never had to listen to tracks four through eight straight on without that merciful pause between five and six. Still, I really enjoy the first three and last three tracks, and as much as I dislike the middle five, it's still The Police. I'd rather listen to this than Justin Bieber. Beiber? Beeber?

1980 A&M Records
1. Spirits in the Material World 2:59
2. Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic 4:22
3. Invisible Sun 3:44
4. Hungry for You (J'aurais toujours faim de toi) 2:52
5. Demolition Man 5:57
6. Too Much Information 3:43
7. Rehumanize Yourself 3:10
8. One World (Not Three) 4:47
9. Ī©megaman 2:48
10. Secret Journey 3:34
11. Darkness 3:14