Outlandos D'Amour, released in 1978, is the debut studio album by English-American Post-Punk/New Wave Music trio The Police. Recorded intermittently over a six-month period during their studio's free time, the album marked the band's shift away from the straight Punk Rock of their debut single in favor of a reggae fusion direction that would bring the band to fame. The shift came at the behest at their manager (and drummer Stewart Copeland's brother), Miles Copeland, who was harshly negative towards the early punk angle but instantly fell in love with the throwaway track "Roxanne", pushing A&M Records to release it as a single. While it failed to chart, A&M were nevertheless confident enough to commission a follow-up single: the result, "Can't Stand Losing You", performed much better, reaching No. 42 on the UK Singles chart and becoming the band's first technical "hit" (even if it didn't crack the top 40), leading A&M to approve the rest of the album, which by then was already finished, for a release.
Despite the promise that the band's second single showed, Outlandos d'Amour ended up flopping upon its initial release, selling poorly in the band's native UK. However, the band's fortunes would be heavily improved in the United States, where "Roxanne" became an immediate Top 40 hit, if only just barely (peaking at No. 32 on the Hot 100), with the album itself reaching No. 23 on the Billboard 200. The American success of the album motivated A&M to reissue "Roxanne" in the UK in the spring of 1979, where it peaked at No. 12 this time; its other two singles would see further success, with "Can't Stand Losing You" and "So Lonely" respectively reaching No. 2 and No. 6. The album itself would also peak at No. 6 on the UK Albums chart off of this more successful second push, selling enough to be certified platinum by the BPI that November. Over time, the album would also go platinum in the US, Canada, France, and the Netherlands, as well as gold in Australia and Germany.
Outlandos d'Amour was supported by three singles: "Roxanne", "Can't Stand Losing You", and "So Lonely".
- "Next To You" (2:52)
- "So Lonely" (4:50)
- "Roxanne" (3:12)
- "Hole In My Life" (4:50)
- "Peanuts" (3:55)
- "Can't Stand Losing You" (2:59)
- "Truth Hits Everybody" (2:55)
- "Born In The '50s" (3:42)
- "Be My Girl — Sally" (3:24)
- "Masoko Tanga" (5:42)
- Stewart Copeland - drums, percussion, vocals
- Sting - lead vocals, bass, harmonica
- Andy Summers - guitar, vocals, piano
You don't have to trope your body to the night:
- As Long as It Sounds Foreign: The album title. The scat singing in "Masoko Tanga" too.
- Black Comedy: "Can't Stand Losing You", which sounds like a love song, but is more an Obsession Song that ends in ridiculousness.I guess this is our last goodbyeAnd you don't care so I won't cryBut you'll be sorry when I'm deadAnd all this guilt will be on your headI guess you'd call it suicideBut I'm too full to swallow my pride
- Break Up Song: "Can't Stand Losing You" parodies this genre. The protagonist feels so bad about being rejected that he starts bickering and whining about it.
- Broken Record: Quite some songs end in one line repeated ad infinitum.
- Careful with That Axe: "Be My Girl" ends in silly high pitched shrieks echoing through the room, implied to be the sound of Sally deflating, as a segue into "Masoko Tanga".
- Companion Cube: "Be My Girl" is about the sexual/romantic variant, i.e. inflatable girlfriends.
- Concept Album: Tying in with the mock-foreign "Outlaws of Love" title, the album centers mostly around themes of romantic strain.
- Cradle of Loneliness: "So Lonely", "Can't Stand Losing You", "Hole In My Life" all lament over feeling lonely.
- Establishing Character Moment: After the Early Installment Weirdness of "Fall Out"/"Nothing Achieving", the single release of "Roxanne" immediately established the reggae-driven style of the Police's new direction, one that would be further explored throughout this album and that would form the base of their studio discography's style (with further alterations emerging along the way). When listening to the album in order, an abridged version of this experience can be felt with the switch from the more Punk Rock-leaning opening track "Next to You" to the reggae-based "So Lonely". And sure enough, "Roxanne" is the track right after that.
- Face on the Cover: A group shot of the band.
- Fading into the Next Song: The shrieks at the end of "Be My Girl — Sally" act as a segue into the start of "Masoko Tanga".
- The '50s: "Born In The '50s" starts in this decade and continues through The '60s, acting as a look into the lives and cultural experiences of the maturing Baby Boomer generation.
- Foreign Language Title: Subverted. The title sounds like Spanish, but is actually more an example of As Long as It Sounds Foreign.
- Gainax Ending: Outlandos d'Amour ends with "Masoko Tanga", which is... a combination of an intricate funky bass-line, Andy reggae-skanking away on rhythm guitar, Stewart pounding away at a complicated groove and Sting singing Africanesque nonsense lyrics on top, with an ending that spontaneously combusts.
- Gratuitous French: "Outlandos d' Amour" makes use of the French word "amour" (love).
- Gratuitous Spanish: Subverted. "Outlandos" sounds Spanish, but it isn't. It's actually a portmanteau of "outlaws" and "commandos".
- Hooker with a Heart of Gold: "Roxanne", where the protagonist loves a prostitute and wants to help her escape her life and live with him.
- Instrumentals: "Masoko Tanga"
- Large Ham: Sting's repeated line "I Feel So Lo-lo-lo-lo-lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely" in "So Lonely" borders to narm dimensions.
- Last Chorus Slow-Down: "Hole In My Life" slows down to its conclusion near the end, while other songs fade out.
- Loudness War: Semi-averted with the 2003 remaster, which is noticeably less dynamic than the other four remastered albums (as well as, inevitably, the original 1978 LP), but still offers noticeably more headroom than most other remasters at around that time, averaging at DR9.
- Lyrical Dissonance: Half of the songs on this album appear to be love songs, but most of them are more a tongue in cheek Obsession Song.
- Obsession Song and Sanity Slippage Song: "Can't Stand Losing You" depicts someone who goes insane from the thought of being lonely and starts whining about it.
- One-Woman Song: "Roxanne".
- One-Word Title: "Peanuts".
- Real Life Writes the Plot: "Roxanne" was inspired by Sting visiting a red-light district in Paris.
- Reportedly, Sting got the title for "Roxanne" from a poster of Cyrano de Bergerac he saw in a hotel in Paris.
- "Roxanne" would receive a loose parody by Flight of the Conchords in the form of "You Don't Have to Be a Prostitute", which would be featured an episode of the band's eponymous HBO show.
- "Born In The '50s" references the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the arrival of The Beatles, not to mention the youth years of the band members.
- "Roxanne" got a tango arrangement in Moulin Rouge!.
- Singing Simlish: "Masoko Tanga".
- Spoken Word in Music: "Be My Girl" has a strange spoken monologue halfway the song.
- Spurned into Suicide: "Can't Stand Losing You" has the protagonist at least contemplating/threatening it.
- Suicide as Comedy: "Can't Stand Losing You" ends with the protagonist contemplating suicide, but it's done in a tongue in cheek way, exemplified by the cover photo of the musical single on which Stewart Copeland stands on a block of ice with a noose around his neck, waiting for the ice to melt.
- Title-Only Chorus: "So Lonely", "Roxanne", and "Can't Stand Losing You".
- Variant Cover: Most later releases of the album across formats remove the tunnel backdrop, leaving a solid black background, change the band logo from blue to red, and replace the cursive album title with a typewritten variant.
- Word Salad Lyrics: "Masoko Tanga". The album title Outlandos d'Amour, for that matter, borders on this due to its mish-mash of English portmanteaus (outlaws + commandos) and incorrect French.
- Yandere: "Can't Stand Losing You" is a suicidal version. Hilariously enough, the BBC sidestepped the lyrics and instead banned the song because of the cover art (Copeland with a noose around his neck standing on a block of ice).