Ten Summoner’s Tales
After two ultra serious albums, Sting adopted a breezy commercial template for Ten Summoner’s Tales; the Chaucer-like title is derived from his birth surname of Sumner. Musically, the album’s based around light dance beats, and many of the songs sound interchangeable. But the singles sound more effortless than anywhere else in his solo career, and it’s not surprising that it’s his best selling solo album, even if it’s less compelling as an entire piece than its predecessors.
The vague lyrics of the acoustic ‘Fields of Gold’ fits perfectly into the evocative melody – it’s probably the song that Sting’s solo career will be remembered for. ‘If I Ever Lose My Faith In You’ is effortlessly upbeat and appealing, with its gospel pop feel. I prefer the light jazz version of ‘It’s Probably Me’ here to the acoustic version from the Lethal Weapon soundtrack, while ‘Shape Of My Heart’ is a pretty acoustic song. ‘Love Is Stronger Than Justice’ is notable for its lyrics, which are awkward even by Sting’s standards; “The outcome was predictable/Our banditos were despicable/Of blood we lost a dozen litres/A small price to pay for los senoritas.” But elsewhere there’s a bunch of interchangeable upbeat pop songs with dance-able beats; they’re melodic, but it feels like a formula.
On Ten Summoner’s Tales Sting finds a commercially befitting sound and rides it into the ground; it features some great singles though.