That puts me somewhere between four and nine…
Here's the memory:
Some neighbors from across the street were having a yard sale. We went over to peruse the junk and found great treasure: two reel-to-reel tape recorders. One was larger than the other. The smaller of the two was "portable" because it had a black plastic strap by which it could be lugged around. My parents bought both of them, one for me and one for my brother.
At the time of our tape recorder acquisition, my older brother Jon had borrowed Outlandos D'Amour from a friend's cool, much older brothers. It was already on heavy rotation in the Kapica household.
Keeping everything ultra hi-fi, I decided to record Outlandos onto my new tape recorder—right from our record player's one crackling speaker.
With my tape recorder, I would close myself in my bedroom closet and listen to The Police. My favorite song? "Be My Girl (Sally)." I would listen to this song over and over again, repeating as best I could the spoken word part-- British accent and all.
There I was, a small boy in a closet, singing a song about a man who finds love with a blow-up doll.
Regardless of the memories, Outlandos D'Amour is a great album. Every time I listen to it, I feel like a kid again. Whenever I teach William Carlos Williams's poem, "The Danse Russe," I mention Outlandos. The poem is essentially about those moments of joy (and horror) that we experience when there's no one else around. Williams writes of enjoying some "alone time" in the wee hours of the morning ("Who shall say I am not / the happy genius of my household?").
Whenever I listen to Outlandos-- alone at home, really loud-- I dance like a bloody fool.
And it feels good, and right.
The album is full of great, fast and furious tracks. A majority of the songs deal with typical rock themes of unrequited and spurned love, but Sting, a school teacher turned rocker, was always more literate (and pompous) than the usual bounty of rocker-wanna-be-poets (take that lizard king!). I am particularly fond of "Born in the 50s." True, it speaks of a different generation, but I have always been encouraged by Sting's assertion "We were the class they couldn't teach / Because we knew better."
I'm getting too old to dogmatically remember every song lyric of every album I purchase, but there was a time when this was simply the norm. I can sing-a-long to every single lyric on Outlandos -- while waving my shirt 'round my head nonetheless!
I'll end with this:
Outlandos D'Amour is one of those rare musical finds that will always reduce me to a singin' and dancin' fool.