fri 14/06/2024

CD: Sting - 57th and 9th | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Sting - 57th and 9th

CD: Sting - 57th and 9th

Rock veteran swaps lotus position for a trip down memory lane

A younger, cheekier Sting

Even now, Sting's reputation as one of rock's most earnest men looms large. His last two projects consisted of a Broadway musical about Newcastle's ship industry and a "symphonic" retrospective of his greatest hits. Before that it was saving bees and Elizabethan madrigals with a Bosnian lutenist. Now, however, the singer promises something lighter. 57th and 9th has been heralded as the return of "Sting the rock star".

Could it really be the tantric one is returning to the sound he created in the early Eighties? 

The first signs of familiarity come from the guitar and drums. Here Dominic Miller and Vinnie Colaiuta faithfully recreate the textures and rhythms of Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland from The Police. Throw in Mr Sumner's unmistakable ear for melody and many of the results could pass for Police outtakes and B-sides. "Petrol Head" has echoes of "Synchronicity II"; "I Can't Stop Thinking About You" and "50,000" evoke the band's earlier work.

Sting's lyrics, though, are heavier. "Inshallah" is a pleasantly thoughtful meditation of the plight of Syrian refugees; "One Fine Day", about climate change, is decidedly clunky. Still, no matter how weighty the lyrics, any po-facedness is largely offset by the nostalgic charm of hearing that iconic tenor back in its rightful setting. What might once have felt irritating now seems strangely cosy and reassuring.

57th and 9ths finest three minutes are "Pretty Young Soldier" a rather lovely interpretation of the folk story about a girl who dresses as a boy soldier to get her man. The worst track is "Down Down Down", so bland it virtually doesn't exist. Yet, while the presence of such fillers make 57th and 9th short of classic, the contents do mainly live up to the cover image - the artist looking significantly younger and cheekier than the grizzled yoga veteran we've become used to. A pleasant enough reminder, then, of the old days.

Any po-facedness is largely offset by the nostalgic charm of hearing that iconic tenor back in its rightful setting


Editor Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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