There’s something about his latest album’s title that brings to mind images of an infant Sting, wearing nappies, throwing a tantrum.

“My songs!” he bawls, tossing his lute from his pram. “My songs!” No one’s really arguing with him, of course, but perhaps he’s hoping to buy his beloved Newcastle United from Mike Ashley with the additional proceeds generated by encouraging fans to fork out again for tunes they already love.

If so, he’s playing it safe: plenty of these renderings remain unexpectedly faithful to their former incarnations.

Take Desert Rose’s eastern flavours, which are nearly indistinguishable from the original, or So Lonely, which almost entirely retains its impressive swagger. Even Can’t Stand Losing You merely lacks the original’s claustrophobia.

Elsewhere, though, he wheezes worryingly on Brand New Day, which now sounds like The Christians with Stevie Wonder on harmonica, and Set Them Free gets a pedestrian re-rub, complete with sax solo. If I Ever Lose My Faith, furthermore, is converted into an early 2000s down-tempo chillout, while Demolition Man emerges battered by its indulgence of smug ‘ultimate rawk’ fantasies, and jazzy guitar licks don’t help Message In A Bottle.

Still, who are we to argue: these are Sting’s songs.



Wyndham Wallace


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