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Sting Nothing Like The Sun

Sting Album Reviews

Conventional wisdom is that Gordon Sumner surrendered his credibility when he left The Police, letting his pretentiousness overcome him as he dabbled in jazz and saved the rain-forests. As a singles’ artist he couldn’t match the brilliant individual songs like ‘Message In A Bottle’ he wrote for The Police. But while The Police’s albums often felt padded out with filler, the longer gaps between Sting’s solo albums gave him the chance to write more satisfying records.

Even though I like him, there’s a limit to my Sting tolerance; I get off the bus before 1999’s Brand New Day, of which the most redeeming feature is Stevie Wonder’s harmonica on the title track. Additionally, while he’s a thoughtful, conscientious songwriter, he’s also supreme at awkward couplets like “In Europe and America/There’s a growing feeling of hysteria” or “We’d only stopped for a few burritos/But they told us of the trouble with los banditos.”

Sting was born Gordon Sumner, and gained his nickname from a striped jersey he wore as a school teacher. Conflict with drummer Stewart Copeland was one of the reasons for the breakup of The Police after 1983’s Synchronicity, and in 1985 he recorded The Dream of the Blue Turtles. While jazz had always been a part of the lexicon of The Police, it was more pronounced in his solo career, while he explored world music on 1987’s Nothing Like The Sun.  1993’s Ten Summoner’s Tales hit the mainstream with ‘Fields of Gold’, ‘It’s Probably Me’, and ‘If I Ever Lose My Faith In You’.

I imagine that Sting’s career in the 21st century confirms all the accusations of pretentiousness that his detractors throw at him, although I’m too scared to listen to albums like Symphonicities and Sacred Love to find out. But despite some inherent ridiculousness, it’s difficult to deny that Sting is one of the most talented pop musicians of his era. He can sing, play, and write songs, but perhaps his unique persona, an intellectual with no self-filter, just doesn’t make for a convincing pop star.

Ten Favourite Sting Songs

They Dance Alone
Fortress Around Your Heart
If I Ever Lose My Faith In You
Why Should I Cry For You
The Wild, Wild Sea
Jeremiah Blues, pt. 2
Englishman in New York
I Hung My Head
When We Dance
Fields of Gold

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Sting the Dream of the Blue Turtles

The Dream of the Blue Turtles – Sting

1985, 7/10. Sting was still a member of The Police when he recorded his first solo album, playing guitar and aiming for crossover hits.

Sting Nothing Like The Sun

…Nothing Like The Sun – Sting

1987, 8.5/10. …Nothing Like The Sun is the kind of high minded fare you’d expect from a man who’s happy to quote Shakespeare to a drunk.

Sting The Soul Cages

The Soul Cages – Sting

1991, 9/10. The Soul Cages was written in response to the death of Sting’s father; it’s flavoured with folk instrumentation.

Sting Ten Summoners Tales

Ten Summoner’s Tales – Sting

1993, 7/10. After two ultra serious albums, Sting adopted a breezy commercial template for Ten Summoner’s Tales.

Sting Fields of Gold

Fields of Gold: The Best of Sting 1984–1994 – Sting

1994. Sting’s individual albums are a better buy; this compilation emphasises his awkward attempts at hit singles like ‘We’ll Be Together’.

Sting Mercury Falling

Mercury Falling – Sting

1996, 6.5/10. Mercury Falling is Sting’s last gasp of respectability. He’s casting around for different styles, but there are strong songs that are worth hearing.

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