Tuesday, April 20, 2004


Sting – Soul Cages (A&M, 1991)

There are infinite amounts of ways to make fun of Sting. It’s almost too easy. The ex-Police man says he can have sex for nine hours straight. With each release, his albums progressively become sillier and sillier and their desperate attempt to win over the Oprah-crowd is demeaning to the human ear. He’s always babbling about the rain forests and their impending demise. Dude, how about you take up a worthy cause like my insane rent?

But that being said, there was a time when Sting’s schmaltz was 100% potent. After having just lost his dad, the man who was born as Gordon Sumner went into the studio and recorded nine tracks of philosophical pontifications and emotional outpourings. "Mad About You" may have been nicked its title from the day’s most popular TV show but moreover, it captured the essence of a relationship (specifically that of David and Batsheba) better than Paul Reiser and Helen Hunt’s dysfunctional pairing ever could. "All This Time" confronted Sting’s dilemma with religion in the time of mourning ("father, if Jesus exists/then how come he never lives here?) and the heart wrenching "Why Should I Cry For You?" touches that inner-bank of tears you’ve been suppressing all along.

In this day and age, Sting may have become a parody of himself—a middle aged car salesman flipping through the World Music section of his local record store—but back in 1991, he was killing them softly.


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