Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Sting - Nothing Like The Sun (1987)


  


Released October 1997

Recorded in Montserrat

This, for me, is one of Sting’s finest albums. It is another in the jazzy style of his debut solo album, "The Dream Of The Blue Turtles". The musicianship and sound quality on it is absolutely outstanding. I will not have anyone laying into Sting when he produces music like this. The album is a joy from beginnng to end.

“The Lazarus Heart” kicks off with world-music influenced percussion, sumptuous jazzy saxophone, great bass and one of those delightful rhythmic vibes to it that Sting was now specialising in. A lot of Paul Simon influences abound on many of Sting’s albums. They are certainly here, muscially and lyrically. “Be Still My Beating Heart” is another gloriously atmospheric song, with a captivating vocal and bass line. The whole vibe on this album is excellent. “Englishman In New York” is the best-known track on the album. It is a good one, full of atmosphere and impossibly catchy, as most people know.

“History Will Teach Us Nothing” has both a magnificent, brooding, bassy reggae-tinged backing and one hell of a message. That feeling continues into the next track. “They Dance Alone” with its distinctive Andean pipe backing and sumptuous saxophone is a marvellously captivating, emotive song concerning human rights abuses in Chile. The refrain is beautiful. This is one of Sting’s most meaningful songs, in my opinion. Criticise him if you must, not the motivation or message behind songs like this. Just check out the plaintive, emotional beauty of “Fragile” for further justification.

“We’ll Be Together” is one of the album’s more upbeat, catchy songs, with a vibrant brass backing, punchy sound and some almost sampling bits. It is almost a Sting “dance number”. “Straight To My Heart” is a slightly Latin-influenced, syncopated rhythmic number that has echoes of Paul Simon’s “Rhythm Of The Saints” album in its backing. Like that album, this track is similarly appealing. Simon's album, however, was recorded two years later, so maybe this one influenced that. "Rock Steady" is a fun, lively, loose jazzy number that sees Sting sounding vaguely like Rod Stewart in his throaty delivery.

“Sister Moon” is an absolutely delicious slice of late-night jazzy fare. Sting’s voice is smoky, but sliky smooth and strangely comforting. The jazz brass backing and solid, resonant stand-up jazz bass adds to the song’s intoxicating atmosphere. The line “My mistress’s eyes are nothing like the sun” comes from a Shakespeare sonnet, I believe. Sting says it was bizarrely and surprisingly quoted to him one night by a drunk, an incident which inspired the writing of the song. This is another number that can be offered up as an answer to those who dismiss Sting. This is quality material. No question.

"Little Wing" has Sting sounding like Rod Stewart again, strangely. "The Secret Marriage" is a piano and vocal, comparatively low-key (but pleasant enough) end to a seriously good album.

B+

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