They really could have put more effort into that cover photo, don't ya think? At least put Sting on the left under his name? Make no mistake, while Sting gets top billing, this is really a Shaggy CD with a few contributions from Sting. And that's fine with me because Sting hasn't put out anything consistently good since 1993. But it's exactly what you'd expect if you heard Sting and Shaggy were putting together a few tunes. I was hoping that Sting would revert to late '70s Sting "reggatta de blanc" but it isn't to be (the closest we get is the verse of track 8, Dreaming In The U.S.A.). The album isn't quite as awkward as the cover photo, but it comes close at times.
Metacritic has this rated at 49 which is close enough. But Sting doesn't play any lute and it sounds like he and Shaggy are having a good time, so I'll just accept this album for what it is: a fun, back porch, bucket of beers, summer listen. I'll probably listen to it quite a bit over the next three months, add a few tunes to a reggae playlist, then shelve it.
FWIW, I picked up an edition with 4 bonus tracks because it was there.
Tracks: I'll categorize and rank them for your convenience.
- Don't Make Me Wait & the Dave Audé Rhythmic Radio Remix⁺
- Morning Is Coming (with Brandford Marsalis)
- Dreaming In The U.S.A.
- To Love and Be Loved
- Just One Lifetime
- 22nd Street
- If You Can't Find Love⁺
- Sad Trombone*
- Gotta Get Back My Baby
- Night Shift
- Waiting For The Break Of Day
- 16 Fathoms⁺
- Crooked Tree
- Love Changes Everything⁺ (from the 1989 Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, Aspects of Love. Yes, it is truly a reggae attempt at a show tune.)
*(yes, that’s really the title, and no, it doesn’t get the reference)
⁺ indicates bonus track
Previously revisited for the blog:
57th & 9th (2016)
Sacred Love (2003)
Brand New Day (1999)
Roxanne 97 (Puff Daddy Remix) (1997)
Mercury Falling (1996)
The Best of Sting 1984-1994 (1994)
Ten Summoner's Tales (1993)
The Soul Cages (1991)
...Nothing Like The Sun (1987)
Bring On The Night (1986)
The Dream of the Blue Turtles (1985)