|Studio album by|
|Released||3 October 1980|
|Recorded||7 July-7 August 1980|
|Studio||Wisseloord Studios, Hilversum, Netherlands|
|The Police chronology|
|Singles from Zenyatta Mondatta|
Zenyatta Mondatta (stylised as Zenyattà Mondatta on the album cover artwork) is the third studio album by English rock band the Police, released in 1980. It was co-produced with Nigel Gray. It features the two hit singles: "Don't Stand So Close to Me" and "De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da". It reached number one on the UK Albums Chart.
The album won the Police two Grammy Awards including Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal for "Don't Stand So Close to Me" and the Police's second consecutive win for Best Rock Instrumental Performance for "Behind My Camel".
The album was written during the band's second tour and recorded in four weeks (minus several days for concerts in the UK - Milton Keynes festival - and Ireland). The band members have often expressed disappointment over it, going so far as to re-record two songs during a brief, unsuccessful reunion in 1986. Drummer Stewart Copeland said about the time pressures: "We had bitten off more than we could chew. ... we finished the album at 4 a.m. on the day we were starting our next world tour. We went to bed for a few hours and then traveled down to Belgium for the first gig. It was cutting it very fine."
The band had wanted to record the album at Surrey Sound, the recording site of their first two albums, but could not record at any British studio for tax reasons. They were, however, able to retain Nigel Gray as their co-producer, bringing him with them to Wisseloord Studios in the Netherlands. Feeling that he'd played a significant part in the Police's first two albums, Gray negotiated for a £25,000 fee, which brought the album's total budget to £35,000 (more than twice the combined budgets of their first two albums, but still exceptionally cheap for a band who were established stars).
As mentioned by Copeland, the Police embarked on a tour of the world the day of the album's completion, beginning in Belgium and finishing in Australia.
The album is the last of the Police's early era, influenced by reggae and punk and featuring few musical elements on top of the core guitar, bass, and drums. The record has two instrumentals, "The Other Way of Stopping" (named from a line in Bob Newhart's "The Driving Instructor" routine) and the Grammy-winning "Behind My Camel". "Behind My Camel" was guitarist Andy Summers' first entirely self-penned composition. As Sting refused to play on it, Summers recorded the bass line himself, overdubbing the guitar parts. According to Sting, "I hated that song so much that, one day when I was in the studio, I found the tape lying on the table. So I took it around the back of the studio and actually buried it in the garden." Nigel Gray believed that the title was an in-joke by Summers: "He didn't tell me this himself but I'm 98% sure the reason is this: what would you find behind a camel? A monumental pile of shit." The song went on to win the 1982 Grammy for Best Rock Instrumental Performance. "Bombs Away" was recorded on a tape that Nigel Gray had just used with Siouxsie and the Banshees. Copeland said: "when he first set up his home studio he got hold of a load of second hand tape which included some stuff by Siouxsie and the Banshees. 'Bombs Away' was written on a Siouxsie and the Banshees backing track. I changed the speed and did things to the EQ to change the drum pattern. So with the desk I can get my song playing, then press a switch and there's Siouxsie singing away."
Zenyatta Mondatta also saw the band's lyrics turning towards political events, with Sting's "Driven to Tears" commenting on poverty and Copeland's "Bombs Away" referring to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. These themes became more prevalent in the Police's next album, Ghost in the Machine.
Six years later the band re-recorded "Don't Stand So Close to Me" and "De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da". The former was released on Every Breath You Take: The Singles, while the latter was released on the DTS version of Every Breath You Take: The Classics.
A&M Records first remastered the album for release in the United States in 1990, as CD #CD-3720. Frank DeLuna and Marv Bornstein mastered the original 1980 vinyl LP, but it's unclear if they also remastered the compact disc.
Copeland said that the group arrived at the album's title after deciding it should roll off the tongue. Zenyatta Mondatta are invented portmanteau words, hinting at Zen, at Jomo Kenyatta, at the French word for the world ("le monde") and at Reggatta, from the previous album's name, Reggatta de Blanc. As Stewart Copeland explained:
"It means everything. It's the same explanation that applies to the last two. It doesn't have a specific meaning like 'Police Brutality' or 'Police Arrest', or anything predictable like that. Being vague it says a lot more. You can interpret it in a lot of different ways. It's not an attempt to be mysterious, just syllables that sound good together, like the sound of a melody that has no words at all has a meaning. Miles (Stewart Copeland's brother and group manager) came up with "Trimondo Blondomina". Very subtle. Geddit? Like three blondes and the world. Then somebody thought of "Caprido Von Renislam". That rolls off the tongue. It was the address of the studio."
In the English localization for the anime JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders, two characters appear as brothers, known as Zenyatta and Mondatta. This is in contrast to the original release, where the brothers were named Oingo and Boingo, after the band of the same name.
|Christgau's Record Guide||B|
|The Rolling Stone Album Guide|||
|The Daily Vault||A-|
In a contemporary review of the album, David Fricke of Rolling Stone favorably described its offering of "near-perfect pop by a band that bends all the rules and sometimes makes musical mountains out of molehill-size ideas" and complimented the band's "elastic" interplay. It would later receive glowing reviews from re-assessments in Rolling Stone and Q, among others. Despite being the only Police album not to obtain a spot on Rolling Stones list of the 500 greatest albums of all time, it is also the only one of their albums to be rated five out of five stars by AllMusic.
|1981||"Behind My Camel"||Best Rock Instrumental Performance|
|1981||"Don't Stand So Close to Me"||Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal|
All tracks written by Sting, except where noted.
|1.||"Don't Stand So Close to Me"||4:04|
|2.||"Driven to Tears"||3:20|
|3.||"When the World Is Running Down, You Make the Best of What's Still Around"||3:38|
|4.||"Canary in a Coalmine"||2:26|
|5.||"Voices Inside My Head"||3:53|
|6.||"Bombs Away" (writer: Stewart Copeland)||3:06|
|7.||"De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da"||4:09|
|8.||"Behind My Camel" (writer: Andy Summers)||2:54|
|9.||"Man in a Suitcase"||2:19|
|10.||"Shadows in the Rain"||5:04|
|11.||"The Other Way of Stopping" (writer: Copeland)||3:22|
|1980||"Don't Stand So Close to Me"||UK Singles Chart||1|
|"De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da"||UK Singles Chart||5|
|Billboard Pop Singles||10 |
|1981||"Don't Stand So Close to Me"||Billboard Mainstream Rock tracks||11|
|Billboard Pop Singles||10 |
|"Driven to Tears"||Billboard Mainstream Rock tracks||35 |
|"Voices Inside My Head"/
"When the World Is Running Down, You Make the Best of What's Still Around"
|Billboard Club Play Singles||3 |
|Canada (Music Canada)||Platinum||100,000^|
|New Zealand (RMNZ)||Platinum||15,000^|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Platinum||300,000^|
|United States (RIAA)||2× Platinum||2,000,000^|
^shipments figures based on certification alone