Note: this release was originally purchased as an LP, later replaced by a CD.
In which Sting attempts to merge pop and jazz in his own self-aggrandizing style of music. What he ended up with was simply pop music played by jazz musicians. Still, there was nothing else like it out there at the time, plus it was Sting's solo debut album, so I ate it up like a big bowl of ice cream. It was a perfect fit for a 19 year-old fan of pop music who was dutifully studying to be a "serious musician" (me). The band of emerging jazz musicians is top-notch and do what they can with the material. I'm sure it was fairly easy for an established rock star to attract cash-strapped jazz musicians with big promises of fame and fortune. The album gets weighed down every now and then by Sting's pomposity and seriousness, but there are some fun tunes here. Sting was always a better writer of melodies than lyrics (critic Jon Pareles wrote in his Rolling Stone review: "If Sting really believes that we can be happy with less, he can send me $500,000, care of this magazine"). I don't like the album as much now as I did in 1985.
The recording of this album was painfully documented in the movie Bring On The Night. If you love Sting as much as he loves himself, you should check it out, otherwise, don't bother. On the other hand, the 1986 Sting album of the same name is recommend and I prefer it over this album.
Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: #2
Peak on Billboard's R&B albums chart: #35
Peak on Cash Box album chart: #2
Tracks: My favorite tune on the album has always been the final track, Fortress Around Your Heart, which is a simple pop love song with no jazz pretensions. Also good are the pseudo-reggae of Love Is The Seventh Wave and the waltzing Children's Crusade, which is saved by a good chorus and fantastic sax work by Branford Marsalis. I liked the first single, If You Love Somebody Set Them Free, when it was released as a single (it peaked at #3), but now I'm indifferent to it. I usually skip We Work The Black Seam and Consider Me Gone.
Personal Memory Associated with this CD: Released in June of 1985, this album was in heavy rotation in my home and car throughout that summer and I returned to college that fall knowing it inside and out. In October of '85, I saw Sting touring in support of this album (sponsored by Honda scooters), a story I've already recapped here.
Previously revisited for the blog:
Sacred Love (2003)
Brand New Day (1999)
Roxanne 97 (Puff Daddy Remix) (1997)
Mercury Falling (1996)
Ten Summoner's Tales (1993)
The Soul Cages (1991)
...Nothing Like The Sun (1987)
Bring On The Night (1986)