Sting Gets Given The Cheese

 sting-in-posa-c2abyogac2bb-1994-c

In the final analysis, the correct ranking of Sting’s solo albums is:

  1. The Soul Cages (1991)
  2. Ten Summoner’s Tales (1993)
  3. The Dream Of The Blue Turtles (1985)
  4. Nothing Like The Sun (1987)
  5. Sacred Love (2003)
  6. Mercury Falling (1996)
  7. Brand New Day (1999)

1 is a great album. I’ll always love that album.

2-4 are really good albums.

5-7 are shameful shitfests that I wouldn’t recommend to a snail.

The Police (along with Dire Straits and Icehouse) were among the first bands I got into when I was first introduced to pop/rock music when I was 8 years old.   It’s great that I still listen to those bands now and enjoy them.

I always listened to The Police but never heard any of Sting’s solo stuff for a long time. That changed when my cousin spent a term at my high school as a student teacher in 1994. We became quite close during this time and she would come over to my house after school every Tuesday night and watch this new show called ‘Seinfeld’ that, literally, nobody else I knew had even seen but we thought was hilarious. How weird to think that little show we used to watch ended up being ‘Seinfeld.’ We’d also talk about the JFK assassination. A lot.

Anyway, I went to see Sting in concert with her and her future-husband during that time and she leant me her ‘Dream Of The Blue Turtles’ CD and her ‘Bring On The Night’ VHS. Over the next little while I purchased the other three albums and really liked all of them.

I remember she told me not to bother with ‘The Soul Cages’ because it was really boring. I only ended up buying it because I found it and ‘Nothing Like The Sun’ in a 2-for-$10 pack. And it turned out to be my favourite Sting album.

Sting never made any actual rock music post-The Police. And that’s a shame. But I still like Sting’s solo music. It was never cool and I always knew it was never cool, even when I was at an age where things being cool or not being cool actually mattered. I just always liked it.

magigbullet_vector_eps

Cheese 1

Rounding Sting The Hell Out

Alright, we’ve got the round this Sting shit out before giving him The Cheese.

What The Fuck Has Sting Been Doing Since 2003?

Sting hasn’t released an actual, proper solo album since 2003.  So what the fuck has he been doing during that time?  Well, he’s released:

MUDD2082

‘Songs From The Labyrinth’ (2006), an unlistenable classical album of traditional songs that Sting played on a lute.  And no, I’m no joking.  I hope Sting enjoyed making this because I sure as shit didn’t enjoy listening to it.

if-on-a-winters-night-4f67c08a244f9

‘If On A Winters Night’ (2009), an album of previously released material mixed with new recordings of traditional songs dedicated to Sting’s apparent favourite season – Winter.  It’s a pointless album.  Check out his performance on David Letterman of ‘Soul Cake’ for a good laugh.

Symphonicities

‘Symphonicities’ (2010), an album of Police and solo material re-recorded with a symphony orchestra.  Some of this was pretty decent, if unnecessary.

StingTheLastShipPhotoWithText

‘The Last Ship’ (2013), the soundtrack to his play that is about basically what ‘The Soul Cages’ was about…it’s just not nearly as good.  The album is okay but, yeah, just listen to ‘The Soul Cages.’

The Police did a worldwide reunion tour in 2007-2008.  I saw them twice on the tour.  It was great, I loved it.

I’m seeing Sting live again, this time with Paul Simon, in early 2015.  I’m looking forward to it.  But if Sting plays ‘Graceland’ and not Paul Simon, I’m going to have to tear that place apart.  Because that would suck.

Sting – Non Album Tracks

These non-album tracks from Sting would rank high if they were included on an album

‘Need Your Love So Bad’ from some stupid soundtrack released in 1982 to some movie called ‘Party Party’; a film that as far as I can tell, doesn’t actually exist.  But anyway…the song is great.

‘It’s Probably Me’ from the Lethal Weapon 3 soundtrack in 1993.  This is the version he recorded with with Eric Clapton.

‘When We Dance’ from the ‘Fields Of Gold’ greatest hits compilation in 1994.  It’s a great, great song.

‘Angel Eyes, ‘My One And Only Love’ and ‘It’s A Lonesome Old Town’ from the Leaving Las Vegas soundtrack in 1995.

‘Until’ from the soundtrack to Kate And Leopold in 2001 is nice too.

Sting – Sacred Love (2003)

Sacred_love

GREAT SONGS:
Inside

VERY GOOD SONGS:
Send Your Love

GOOD SONGS:
Whenever I Say Your Name
Never Coming Home
Dead Man’s Rope
The Book Of My Life

NOT MY THING:
Stolen Car (Take Me Dancing)

TRASH:
Forget About The Future
This War
Sacred Love

THE CHEESE:  This certainly was a better album than the utterly shitfull ‘Brand New Day’ but that doesn’t make it good.  It’s still a crap album filled mostly with songs that nobody needed or wanted or remembers.   

Terrible album title too.  Just terrible.

I remember getting a phone call very late one night in 2003 from my best buddy who told me to quickly change channels because the video for the new Sting song had just started.  That song was ‘Send Your Love.’  We watched most of the video in silence.  The video was this surreal, kaleidoscope thing involving Sting trapped in some kind of time-warp on a city street which was intercut with footage of him dancing in the desert with clouds moving back and forth.  All this was happening while Sting sang about ‘holding infinities in the palm of your hand’ and experiencing ‘eternities in the space of a single hour.’ 

My buddy broke the silence about three-quarters through the song by simply saying ‘I think Sting has been drinking that hallucinogenic tea again.’  Which was an excellent comment.

Sting  – Brand New Day (1999)

400-1

GREAT SONGS:
A Thousand Years

VERY GOOD SONGS:
Desert Rose

GOOD SONGS:
Ghost Story

NOT MY THING:
Big Lie Small World
End Of The Game
Tomorrow We’ll See

TRASH:
After The Rain Has Fallen
Perfect Love…Gone Wrong
Fill Her Up
Brand New Day

THE CHEESE: This album just totally sucks complete ass. It’s embarrassingly bad.  7 out of 10 songs are total turds…as in, they’re actually tiny little shits.

This album is terrible.

‘Brand New Day’ is probably the worst song Sting ever wrote, yet I would hear it every 3rd or 4th visit to the supermarket.  Why?

Sting – Mercury Falling (1996)

sting-mercury-falling

GREAT SONGS:
The Hounds Of Winter

VERY GOOD SONGS:
I Hung My Head

GOOD SONGS:
Let Your Soul Be Your Pilot
I Was Bought To My Senses
Valparaiso
Lithium Sunset

NOT MY THING:
You Still Touch Me
I’m So Happy, I Can’t Stop Crying
All Four Seasons
Le Belle Dame Sans Regrets

TRASH:
Twenty Five To Midnight

THE CHEESE: This is when it all started to get ugly for Sting.  Really ugly.  This is the first of a bunch of total turd fests that were completely redundant releases.  There is nothing going on here of note. 

Over Sting’s first four solo albums, he incorporated different kinds of music into his own pop/adult-contemporary music.  He would synthesis these traditional forms of music into his own music and makes something, for better or worse, which was fairly unique.  Here, he plays it all very straight and it’s painfully boring as a result.  ‘I’m So Happy, I Can’t Stop Crying’ is a straightforward country song that sucks.  ‘You Still Touch Me’ is a straightforward R&B track that sucks.  No one wants this stuff.

There are some real crap lyrics all over this album too.  Really crap lyrics.

Sting – Ten Summoner’s Tales (1993)

ten-summoners-tales-4f67c08a529c8 

GREAT SONGS:
If I Ever Lose My Faith In You
Fields Of Gold
Seven Days
It’s Probably Me
Shape Of My Heart

VERY GOOD SONGS:
Everybody Laughed But You
Something The Boy Said

GOOD SONGS:
Love Is Stronger Than Justice
Heavy Cloud No Rain
She’s Too Good For Me

NOT MY THING:
Saint Augustine In Hell
Nothing ‘Bout Me

TRASH:
None

THE CHEESE:  Sting finally chilled the fuck out and wrote some fun songs after 8 years and 3 intense, serious, brooding albums. I really like this album.  It’s probably the closest Sting as a solo artist ever sounded like he was back in a band again.   It doesn’t sound like a Police album but it sounds more like a collective.  Like a band.

If I had top pick an all-time favourite Sting/Police song, it would probably be ‘Shape Of My Heart.’

I like the jazzy version of ‘It’s Probably Me’ on the album, though I much prefer the version Sting recorded with Eric Clapton for the Lethal Weapon 3 soundtrack.  That’s a great song.

The original Canada/US released did not include ‘Everybody Laughed But You.’  The LP version I have, which is new, doesn’t include this song either.  It’s hard to know why because such a good song.  A version of this song with completely different and inferior lyrics was released as ‘January Stars’, a b-side to ‘If I Ever Lose My Faith In You.’  It’s worth listening to if you’re me but probably not important for most people to listen to, I guess.

Sting Five Live 

This was the first of Sting’s solo albums I bought after seeing him live in 1994 in support of this album.  The version I ended up buying was a limited tour edition that came packaged with a bonus album called ‘Five Live.’  There was nothing on it worth listening to.  It’s oddly comforting seeing the album cover again though.

1233621104_folderas5

Sting released a soundtrack to the IMAX film ‘The Living Sea’ in 1995.  It had a couple of new instrumental tracks and some re-worked older tracks, mainly from ‘The Soul Cages’ album.  I remember I bought it for $5.  It’s weird to think I ever owned this album.  But it’s the best soundtrack to an IMAX film I’ve heard.  That’s for sure.

Sting  – The Soul Cages (1991)

Soul Cages

GREAT SONGS:
Island Of Souls
All This Time
Mad About You
Why Should I Cry For You
The Wild Wild Sea
When The Angels Fall

VERY GOOD SONGS:
Jeremiah Blues (Part 1)
Saint Agnes & The Burning Train
The Soul Cages

GOOD SONGS:
None

NOT MY THING:
None

TRASH:
None

THE CHEESE: This is the best thing Sting has ever done.  It’s better than anything he did with The Police and it is certainly better than anything he’s ever done as a solo artist.

This is easily Sting’s most serious work…all about his childhood and the death of his father.  It’s relentlessly dark and downbeat.  It’s beautifully written with lyrics written more as poetry than words for a song.  It’s painfully serious.  It’s everything people make fun of Sting for.  But I love this album.  I think it’s remarkable.

Sting’s voice never sounded better, his music never more original and his lyrics were never better.  This is a great album. 

Sting-AcousticLiveInNewcastle

 It’s also worth talking about ‘Acoustic Live In Newcastle’, a mini live album released in late 1991.  It was a limited edition album released only in the UK, Germany and Japan.  Generally speaking nobody gave a shit about it.  It’s worth tracking down though for the beautiful live versions of  ‘Island Of Souls’ and ‘The Wild Wild Sea’ – the two ‘sea epics’ from The Soul Cages.

The real special track though is the live version of the song ‘The Soul Cages.’  Here it is slowed right down and done in the same style as ‘Island Of Souls’ and ‘The Wild Wild Sea.’  The live version of the title track is vastly superior to the version to the one found on the album. 

 The studio version of title track is dressed up as a sort of rock song, which sounds okay.  But the slow, live version gives me the impression it was originally written to sound like ‘Island Of Souls’ and ‘The Wild Wild Sea’ but was changed up for diversity purposes.  Which was probably a good decision.  But the version on ‘Acoustic Live In Newcastle’ is great.