Review: Sting My Songs

Sting / My Songs new album

Sting tinkering with his old classics is a pointless exercise, says SDE editor Paul Sinclair

Of all the things Sting could do these days, putting out a solo album filled with new compositions doesn’t appear to be high in his list of priorities. Whilst he’s been quite busy in recent years, he has sought creative and personal satisfaction from his The Last Ship project, which was by nature rather collaborative, he’s made a record with Shaggy (which was actually a lot of fun) and even on tour Sting has teamed up with others to keep him company (Paul Simon and now Shaggy). 2016’s 57th & 9th is his only solo album in the last 15 years and after its somewhat tepid reception, Sting may well have thought ‘what’s the point?’

But hey, even if you easily sell out tours largely on the strength of your greatest hits, chances are your marketing ‘team’ will advise that you still need something new-sounding to hang it on, and if you haven’t got fresh songs or perhaps a reissue to promote, what other options are available to you? Step forward the idea of ‘revisiting’ old songs!

Sting’s My Songs is exactly such a project. He has re-recorded some of his old numbers, and it seems ‘deep cuts’ isn’t in his vocabulary – at least for this initiative. It includes massive Police hits like ‘Every Breath You Take’, ‘Message In A Bottle’ and solo favourites such as ‘Englishman In New York’ and ‘If You Love Somebody Set Them Free’. Some songs are complete re-recordings, while others are a Brundlefly fusion of new and old. Describing the approach, Sting picks his words carefully, although not carefully enough to avoid sounding like a double-glazing salesman: “Some of them reconstructed, some of them refitted, some of them reframed, and all of them with a contemporary focus.” Remember that last phrase.

So what are these new versions like? It varies, but if there’s one thing these recordings have in common it’s that none of them improve on the originals. That need not render the My Songs initiative a pointless exercise, because there’s much pleasure to be had from creative explorations or getting to a finished song via an alternative route, but Sting really isn’t interested in that at this juncture. He’s eschewing any twisty musical B-roads and opting for the sitting-in-the-middle-lane of a straight and direct motorway. He’s has typed ‘contemporary focus’ into his sat nav and isn’t going to risk not reaching that destination.

This goal, that destination, is about maximising the appeal of his back catalogue to a much younger, streaming-dominated generation. He’s really shoving a needle into the temples of some great pop songs and injecting a bit of botox; filling out what he perceives as some cragginess and making them (in his eyes) fit for purpose for young listeners.

To be fair, Sting’s arguments are thoughtfully presented. He told Billboard earlier this year that “sometimes songs are identified by the technology they were recorded with – recording techniques, the sound of synthesizers or the drum sound. They all date a song, so we just want to re-contemporise the stuff.” In other words, he feels that some of the production is dated and getting in the way of people hearing or enjoying his old Police and solo hits. Millennials scared off by the punky rawness of the late 1970s or the reverb and bombast of the 1980s.

The problem is, while I accept that no one is denying us access to the originals, Sting is effectively creating a marketplace with two versions of these songs, the songs as released and these ‘reframed/refitted/reconstructed’ versions. That could be confusing. Also, has anyone ever actually said “I really like ‘Every Breath You Take’ but I wish it didn’t sound so old-fashioned”?

Let’s talk about some specifics. As far as I’m concerned “If You Love Somebody Set Them Free” is one of Sting’s most enduring solo songs and should be left well alone. Alas, Mr Sumner is doing the opposite of leaving it alone. He must really hate how the original sounds, because he’s constantly fiddling with this track. It was was subjected to at least eight awful dance remixes back in 1994, was remixed for the 25 Years compilation/box set back in 2011 and he’s tinkered with it again for My Songs. This new version is effectively a mild dance mix that surgically removes most of the song’s personality. Something like a ‘Tin Tin Out’ remix from the late 1990s. The vocal sounds like the original to these ears, but the drums are now programmed. Who’d want to replace Omar Hakim with a drum machine? Kate Bush chose to do the opposite with Director’s Cut, replacing soulless programmed rhythms with Steve Gadd. You listen back to the original version of ‘If You Love Somebody Set Them Free’ and absorb the wonderful organic arrangement with that hammond, and the loose drums and the world class list of musicians (including Kenny Kirkland, Branford Marsalis) and can only shake your head in exasperation when you hear the new one.

The beautiful “Shape of My Heart” (surprisingly, not a hit back in 1993) has a percussive ‘click’ not in the original and in this instance does have a new vocal. It is sung perfectly well, but I’m sorry, it’s simply not as good as the original. While fashions in production and musical styles may change for the better over time (or maybe not) what rarely improves is the human singing voice. Artists like Sting have a habit of trying to convince us that their voices are ‘more interesting’ in their later years (George Michael once said he found his singing voice in the 80s ‘boring’) but they’re surely kidding themselves – the unbridled range and power of the ‘early years’ is always going to be preferable. There’s no shame in losing some of your range when you get to your 50s or 60s but let’s get real… it’s not normally ‘better’. Apart from the inferior vocal, Shape Of My Heart doesn’t sound a whole lot different, which begs the question, why?

‘Every Breath You Take’ is fundamentally the same, although it now has a drum sound like someone hitting a cardboard box. Also, to the point above, the original had a very relaxed vocal during the verses, 35 years later Sting has to try harder and you can hear the effort. It’s not as relaxing a listen. Rather like watching your kid perform in the school play. You’re worried it’s all going to go wrong. This song exhibits the worst attributes of My Songs. It’s a new recording – and therefore ‘different’ – but is so similar as to be utterly pointless. There is literally NO reason to listen to this version above the original.

‘I Can’t Stand Losing You’ is similar to ‘Every Breath You Take’. The youthful exuberance is sucked from the song as a bloke in his mid-sixties tries to recreate his youth. Meanwhile ‘Fields of Gold’ at least boasts a slightly different intro (and outro), although like ‘Shape of My Heart’ Sting is convinced the key to streaming success is to change the snare sound. Not a click this time but more of a ‘pfft’ sound. Other than that, it all sounds fairly similar.

And the album continues in the same vein. Sting rather over enunciates the lyrics to a facsimile ‘Englishman In New York’ and throws in some car horns beeping over that booming drum break (for no apparent reason), while ‘If I Ever Lose My Faith In You’ has lost all its balls; the synth pads and fat rhythm section are the skilled veterans made redundant and replaced with work experience team of light skipping percussion and ambient styling. ‘Faith’ is actually quite bad, to be honest.

It’s sad that, as with Paul McCartney – who recently worked with Ryan Tedder for a few tracks on the Egypt Station sessions – Sting apparently wants to sound MORE GENERIC to ‘fit in’ with modern musical landscapes. Neither man, it seems, can switch off the desire to be a pop star and therefore they are driven to stay ‘popular’ and will do whatever is required, even if it means messing with rock/pop classics (in Sting’s case) or releasing new material that’s close to embarrassing (McCartney).

There’s another element to all this. Re-recording your old material is often financially an astute move, if your label retains rights to the original recordings. It’s not clear if this is Sting’s motivation, but potentially, if a Sting-penned track is up for being used for a movie or TV, Sting’s representatives will be sure proffer the ‘My Songs’ version and potentially earn more for ’sync’ rights than if they used the original. Blondie re-recorded their old hits for similar reasons back in 2014, with their Greatest Hits Redux, but at least they had the decency to bundle it as a freebie with their new album at the time (Ghosts of Download). With Sting ‘My Songs’ IS the new album!

Good for Sting, he’s a canny operator, but it starts to dawn on you that this project is rather inward looking. It is all about Sting, what suits him, what works for his tour what gets him a (perceived) leg-up in the world of streaming and the yoof of today. Sting is the angler who buys his wife a fishing rod for Christmas, and expects her to be thrilled. We don’t really get what we want (new songs, or at least interesting rearrangements of old songs) but rather we have to force a smile as he hands over what he actually wants. Thank you for my present Sting, I really hope you enjoy it.

My Songs is released on CD on 24 May 2019. The vinyl follows two weeks later.

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My Songs - 2LP vinyl


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My Songs - deluxe CD


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My Songs - CD


Standard CD/vinyl editions

  1. Brand New Day
  2. Desert Rose
  3. If You Love Somebody Set Them Free
  4. Every Breath You Take
  5. Demolition Man
  6. Can’t Stand Losing You
  7. Fields of Gold
  8. So Lonely
  9. Shape of My Heart
  10. Message in a Bottle
  11. Fragile
  12. Walking on the Moon
  13. Englishman in New York
  14. If I Ever Lose My Faith in You
  15. Roxanne (Live)

Deluxe CD bonus tracks:

  1. Synchronicity II (Live)
  2. Next To You (Live)
  3. Spirits In The Material World (Live)
  4. Fragile (Live)

Japanese Deluxe CD adds:

I Can’t Stop Thinking About You (Live) (Japan Exclusive)

French Exclusive Deluxe CD adds:

Desert Rose (Extended Version) (France Exclusive)

131 responses to Review: Sting My Songs

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  3. Peter Grainger says:

    I was hoping for more refinement or rearrangement in the songs, so I came away thinking– they are still good songs– even a few great ones– but nothing new that really improves them or reinterprets them in any outstanding way. Perhaps it was another contractual stop-gap, while Sting considers his next truly creative move, writes some new material, ETC. Like Rick Gassko, “Soul Cages” is still my fave Sting solo release; I also really enjoyed “The Last Ship”. I am hoping Mr. Sumner can create something as strong as those soulful sets of songs.

  4. Jules(Rules) says:

    For the most part, I agree with Paul’s review. There is one rather important point I don’t concur with at all though, and that’s the comment about voices. Paul does sound very much like somebody stuck in the past and unable to appreciate an artist’s development, in that paragraph. If that’s your opinion, fine, but stating it as if it were an universal truth (“they’re surely kidding themselves – the unbridled range and power of the ‘early years’ is always going to be preferable”) is a huge no-no. If all you’re hearing is a loss of range, then you’re not listening carefully enough (Sting himself called it “texture”, which is a good description). Many singers accumulate experience and wisdom through their lives. This is interesting and makes the singing more interesting. The paragraph reads ageist, as if only a young voice is of any worth. Many artists have proven that this is not the case, Johnny Cash springs to mind. Joni Mitchell said that on her original version of “Both Sides Now”, she was not the right singer for the song at all, whereas she prefers the versions she recorded much later. Technically, she clearly lost a lot of her range by then, but she had gone through so much to actually fill those words with life.

    Obviously, this isn’t really the case with “My Songs”. Sting doesn’t seem interested in getting more emotion out of the songs. And I can’t really blame him either. These are mostly songs he’s been singing for years, and obviously they are going to sound tired and worn out because they are overplayed (plus he’s already done “Symphonicities”). There was a similar problem with Status Quo’s two Aquostic albums: While many of the songs that Quo had never performed live sounded fresh and interesting, the concert staples were mostly thin rip-offs of the worn out live versions. Had Sting chosen less hits and more deep cuts, this would not have been such a big issue. He also betrays this concept by singing the songs mostly in the same key as the originals (which mainly shows what he’s lost and not what he’s gained – although his range is still remarkable considering his age) and by using original vocals on some tracks, which just invites comparison!

    Still, I take offence at that statement that the young voice is “always going to be preferable”. It’s just not true. Especially with people who become successful at a young age and are really still half-grown boys. I mean, listen to Francis Rossi on the early Quo albums, he doesn’t sound so convincing when singing songs about being cheated by many women!

    Maybe it’s because I’m also coming from a blues/jazz perspective – where in pop/rock I often hear people moaning and wishing a band/artist would stop, it’s not even an option for many musicians of those genres. You work with what you got and while obviously you lose something, more often that not you also gain something. And some manage to stay in remarkable form; look at Tony Bennett! I also happen to agree with George Michael. When I read that sentence in your review I finally realized why, beyond “The Edge of Heaven”, I’ve never managed to find much to like about Wham! – GM’s voice is still very ‘boyish’ and, to be frank, has virtually no character. Quite remarkable how the same guy, a few years later, could absolutely get under your skin with songs such as “Jesus to a Child” or “Older”, which are so much more expressive than the (sorry) plastic pop of Wham!

    One thing that really stands out the most negatively to me is with the songs that originally had some swing to them (Brand New Day, Englishman in New York)… they don’t swing anymore. At all. All the groove – completely lost. The approach to rhythm, to adding programming that doesn’t correlate with the melody (Brand New Day) or the basslines (Englishman), to me is completely bewildering. And that white noise ‘whooshing’ in “If I Ever Lose My Faith in You” is absolutely disgusting and horrifying. How can an experienced musician like him, who did not grow up with EDM and the like, not only produce such versions, but actually deem them worth releasing? And when he does something “new”, it seems random (like cutting out part of the sax solo on “Englishman” and ruining a brilliant fade-out), but when it comes to putting some of the live embellishments like the extra parts in “Fragile” into a new studio version… it doesn’t happen. Why? That would have made it more interesting.

    The really bad result of this is radio djs all across the board lauding these new versions and suddenly talking about Sting nonstop (which didn’t happen with any of his other recent projects), as if they’ve all collectively lost their ears… claiming a song sounds “fuller”. Well, what’s better, something that sounds “full” but quickly tires your ears or something that actually has space and definition?!

  5. William Kates says:

    Thank you Paul for the honesty of your review. I’m sure that many fans share this opinion but would think twice before putting it in print. This album is a testament to the quality of the song writing, something that we haven’t seen from Sting for a long time.

  6. Thomas B Clark says:

    It’s all about cash. Which, if I had Sting’s talent, catalog, and marketing team, I’d do the same. No royalties to former band mates. Plus touring is where the real money continues to be. He wants the ticket-buying crowd to buy those tickets with the expectation of hearing how he sounds today. Training our ears. “Come and hear me play “These Versions of My Songs.” And while he’s a savvy-enough marketer to have actually said “reconstructed/refitted/reframed,” that sounds like a copywriter’s work to me.

  7. MüllerMüller says:

    Hallo Paul – Did you know how long „Dessert Rose“ Extended runs?

  8. Robert Laversuch says:

    Wow just got my copy. Actually quite like it and might be the only one on here who does. I feel that the songs a different enough to merit their inclusion. But maybe it is just that Sting will always be one of my gods and cannot do anything wrong.

  9. davide says:

    3 songs remixed, some same as the originals and mostly live songs from The Police Certifiable, live in Buenos Aires 2008.
    A complete mess
    I have everything from The Pólice&Sting…this time I will not buy it

    • MusicFan says:

      The speculation about ‘live’ tracks hasn’t been backed up with any evidence.

      The ‘studio’ versions of the Police tracks are credited as being recorded at Sear Sound and Avatar New York, The Village and Cherry Tree Los Angeles and ocean Way Nashville.

      The tracks that are clearly listed as ‘Live’ are credited as being from the Olympia concert in Paris.

      Even by merely comparing the versions from My Songs with those on The Police Certifiable, it’s sooooo obvious there are ZERO similarities between those recordings!

    • Will says:

      I guess You’ve listened to the same version as I did ;-). But now I have the cd and I can tell You there aren’t Certifiable songs on it.

  10. Greg says:

    Looking at the tracklist, is it possible that Sting has given up hoping that Russians do in fact love their children? Perhaps that lyric could have been better phrased.

  11. Jules(Rules) says:

    The best thing, for me, about this release is that I finally get to hear Sting sing “Demolition Man”. But I still prefer the absolutely ferocious version by Manfred Mann’s Earth Band :)

    (And yes, I could check out the original at some point… ;-))

  12. Penny P. says:

    Sting made the same error that U2 did by waiting too long to record a follow-up to How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb. It took five years for No Line on the Horizon to emerge. That album for me had 3 awesome songs, a couple of okay ones, and the rest was junk. The same thing happened when Sting waited four years to release Sacred Love after the phenomenal success of Brand New Day. Sacred Love ended up just like Horizon. 3 great songs, a couple of okay ones, and the rest junk. Writing music is like a muscle. You need to do it all the time or you lose your edge. I also don’t buy into writer’s block. Like Norman Mailer used to say, you sit at that table very day whether you feel inspired or not. After Sacred Love, Sting waited 13 freaking years to put out a new solo album or real original material. And it showed. The guy is my favorite singer, but 57th & 9th is the worst album he has written, with the Police or on his own. I listened to it 3 times, set it aside, listened to it six months later, and haven’t listened to it since. Don’t like a single song off of it. Directionless and unfocused.

  13. Larry Davis says:

    I just got the US deluxe edition, kept in mind Paul’s comments, but gave it an objective listen…and ya know what?? Zero problems with it! And I prefer cardboard mini-LP gatefold packaging to Jewelcases…have to say radio killed many of these songs that I had little to no desire to hear them again…not anymore…these new versions add a fresh shot in the arm to these songs that I want to get the catalogue back…I like what he did with them, from dance mixes to punky energy to even noise on Demolition Man…I love the new version of Englishman in NY…as for it being pointless, perhaps, but I really think Sting was having fun in the studio tinkering with them, and hey, I am sure his studio bill was much less than if he was making a new record…this is simply a fun exercise to inject new life into some perhaps tired songs…and the 5 live tracks are welcome too, espesh the punky Next To You and the always great Synchronicity II…you can say any record is pointless, espesh compilations, but nothing wrong with a fun tinkering…Paul Simon’s recent album was the same approach and no one complained…

    • JI'm S says:

      I totally agree, Sting has the right to be Sting. He’s not mixing this for everyone, it’s fun.
      Leave it at that.
      I just spent last night at the Met in Philly and enjoyed all of it!

  14. Drew says:

    While several of the tracks do nothing to improve on the original (i.e. nearly all of the Police material), or actually are a step backward (‘Fields of Gold’, ‘If I Ever Lose My Faith’), most of them I find unnecessary at worst and “inoffensive” at best. I do rather like a handful of these new takes though.

    The more hard-driving version of ‘Demolition Man’ is pretty cool, and I shed no tears for the loss of Sting’s obnoxiously amateur saxophone work. I think I also prefer the new ‘If You Love Somebody’ to the original, which I always found rather boring and tended to skip over when listening to ‘Dream of the Blue Turtles.’ I find it ironic that his attempt to “freshen the arrangement” turned it into disco.

    Sting’s one of those artists who is always tinkering with his work, and I appreciate that he’s not too precious about the particulars. I’m sure he plays the songs a bit different these days than he used to, so it makes sense that he’d want to go back and do some updated work. That said, I’d rather that he’d gone into more of the deep cuts rather than just rehashing his hits, but he’s never shied away from commercialization so it’s more of a disappointment than a surprise.

  15. Marc says:

    Absolutely the worst album by Sting. It’s a perfect demonstration about how to destroy beatiful songs. It doesn’t worth one cent.

  16. MusicFan says:

    I have thoroughly enjoyed listening to these tracks over the weekend – afterall, Sting is an incredible song writer.

    However, the packaging for the standard and deluxe edition is CHEAP and NASTY!

    If Sting was so very proud of his music history why oh why allow this project to be packaged so cheap!

    The standard CD should be a jewel case and the deluxe should be a nice hardback digi-book with expanded liner notes.

    Surely record companies and artists have been releasing product for a long time now and I would expect them to know how to do things right!

    Absolutely abhorrent!!!!

  17. Kauwgompie says:

    Thank you for the review, I couldn’t agree more. The biggest problem to me, which Paul describes perfectly well, is his voice. I immediately recognized that his voice lost the ability for higher notes. Totally normal but what’s not, is re-recording your 70 and 80’s songs with an inferior voice from 2019 and thinking ppl will like it. I also don’t like some of the arrangements, while others are the same (like Every Breath…). This album is a firm no for me. One star for effort and giving us a CD Deluxe version
    I also noticed that Sting seems to get grumpier as he gets older. This doesn’t make me like his music more.

  18. AJ says:

    Just a quick heads-up about the FNAC deluxe edition: it’s a 2CD fold-out digipak. CD1 is the same 15 tracks as the UK standard CD. CD2 has the additional 4 live tracks as per the UK deluxe edition with the fifth track being Desert Rose (Extended Version) – exclusive to this release (as Paul stated). However, as well as the CD containing the booklet in English there is an additional insert covering the same recollections from Sting about each of the songs in French!

  19. Thilo says:

    Sting/Shaggy’s Album Superdeluxe Edition is just 14.99€ at JPC, probably we can get the “My Songs” deluxe edition (in its very boring package! ) much cheaper by the end of summer….

  20. Daniel ( from Berlin ) says:

    hello paul, thanks for the intensive review to “my songs”. you invest so much time to give your thoughts and feelings the right words. i thought first this album will be an acoustic album who becomes boring after the 5th song. but “my songs” was a surprise to me. obviously i am the only one who is happy with this release. the last album “57th & 9th” was for me a disaster. not one song i think was melodic. “my songs” comes to me like a good pop album with re-created songs. especially i like “fragile” – it is still melancholic in this new version.

  21. Peter says:

    What he did to If You Love Somebody is an abomination.

  22. Jon says:

    Having listened to the US version I have to say this was wildly unneeded. Brand New Day/Desert Rose doesn’t sound very far from the original versions, If You Love Somebody Set Me Free sounds ok but nowhere near as good as the original. Every Breath You Take sounds a bit too karaoke to me. The haunting (and longing) feeling in the original music is all but gone here. Demolition Man is supposed to be a classic (I never liked the song) but at least this is better then the new version released in 1993. “Can’t Stand Losing You”, “Message in a Bottle” and “So Lonely” adds nothing new to the original. The electronic drum beats ruin “Fields of Gold”. “Shape of My Heart”, originally a beautiful song has been turned into a bore here. “Fragile” has been done to death and this version is just a trifle. “Walking On the Moon” sounds like an alternate version of the original. “Englishman” is ruined by electronic drum beats and oh my gawd what he has done to “If I Ever Lose My Faith” should be criminal. The live version of Roxanne sounds like most of his live versions of this track, it’s nothing special and maybe it’s just me, but seems edited (it’s only three minutes long). None of these new versions sound “contemporary” to me. This feels and sounds like a quick artist cash in to escape a record contract. What I did like is his backstories for the songs in the liner notes. I with he would get over his obsession against reissues.

    • Chris Squires says:

      If you love somebody seems to me to be trying it’s hardest to become “Fastlove” by George Michael.

  23. Craig Walker says:

    I’ve been a massive Sting fan but the guy is hard to like these days. Ten Summoner’s Tales is one of my favourite albums and shows Sting at the pinnacle of his career. The studio albums have got progressively worse since. Mercury Falling was great. Brand New Day less good but had its moments. Sacred Love was okay. The last album was nowhere near as good. I liked The Last Ship show but the guy is just living off his back catalogue now. I prefer to listen to Mark Knopfler and Donald Fagen now. Artists who don’t need to collaborate with rappers and the like and acknowledge their age. I find it sad that it has come to this. I want to listen to Larry Adler, Vinnie Coluita, Omar Hakim. Kenny Kirkland etc. I don’t need to hear programmed drum beats and vocal effects.

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  25. Michael Caspar says:

    I’ve been a Police / Sting fan since 1979. I have now listened to My Songs (“of course” the French version with Desert Rose (extended)). Sting’s voice has gotten older. More mature would be the wrong word, because Sting sounded very mature at least since the 90s. He has to work harder to get the vocal performance. Of course, this is noticeable when he re-records old songs. With slow thoughtful songs, I find that even more positive, because that gives the songs a brittle note. Sting produced many alternative versions of his songs in the 80s and 90s. Remix / movie / live versions of all kinds were there. I always enjoyed it when there was something new to discover. With this attitude, I also approached My Songs. Sting could also have just remastered the old versions, which must be rather boring and unrelenting for an artist. Better new versions. For me there is light and shadow: some loops annoying. Real musicians would have been more exciting. The sound should be fatter and therefore more contemporary. For me, an unnecessary pandering. He will not reach the youth either way. For me as a long-term fan, it’s nice to have a late view on these classics. “Staying” are the originals. So it could be a bad album. But it’s fun to deal with it. And it makes you compare the old ones with the new ones. It makes sense here and now for me. It can not be a classic …
    Actually, I do not need the live bonus versions, as they are already on the BluRay “live at the Olympia Paris” (and I extracted them from there as a music file). Nevertheless, they are great live versions! Desert Rose (extended) is not really worth it, especially since the French version was a few euros more expensive for just a song more. The version is too close to the (ingenious) original from 1999. As a fan bearable …

  26. Olov says:

    Ironically, these new recordings sounds more dated than most of the originals.

  27. Holger says:

    I’d like to say I really like the new rock version of “Demolition Man”. And “Synchronicity II” Live at the Oympia in Paris. I would have preferred the complete Paris Concert on 2CD.

  28. Tim in Miami says:

    If you saw the 57 and 9 tour (which was amazingly good), then you have heard most of the the arrangements on here. Cool on stage but nothing to preserve forever. The Dance remixes are an abortion.

    • Kevin says:

      Sincere apologies if this has been mentioned before but the current edition of Mojo magazine contains a pretty scathing review. The review ends with the acidic putdown “My Songs is a 2019 version of a Top of the Pops album”.


    • Jules(Rules) says:

      Abortion, or abomination? :-O

  29. Michael says:

    I agree with Paul’s wonderfully worded critique about “My Songs.” For me, the concept of an artist releasing an album of re-interpreted older material only works if…

    1) a fast tempo rock song is redone as a slow tempo ballad-like number,
    2) a slow tempo song is redone as a fast tempo rock number,
    3) the instrumentation is changed (i.e. lead piano is replaced with lead acoustic guitar),
    4) a heavily produced song is stripped down to a minimal arrangement or done solo,
    5) a stripped down song is augmented by added or full orchestration; or
    6) either the lead vocals or backing vocals are done by a different singer, or sung as a duet.

  30. JMelrose says:

    I wish he would have shaken whatever cold he had when we re-performed “Englishman In New York.”

  31. Thilo says:

    The freshest songs are “Brand New Day” and “Desert Rose”, both from the Brand New Day Album, which was released in 1999. Actually Sting did record nothing important in the last 20 years.

  32. MusicFan says:

    I’ve been listening to this (digitally) today and it has to be said this collection of songs is undeniably exceptional!

    I appreciate most fans will prefer an album of new songs, but taking this project at face value, the versions contained here are great! I really like the new vocals on the tracks as it blends together perfectly the songs from different eras.

    I’ve not received my CD yet to be check the booklet, but one reviewer mentioned a lot of the songs are live. If that is the case I presume they are ‘live’ in the syudio without any overdubs. If this is the case then this is a great way to test how great a song can be when it stands up on it’s own like this.

    The only noticable tracks performed in from of an audience are the last five.

    So at least I am one happy fan today!

  33. TheProgster says:

    Ok everyone including Paul let’s clear this up and actually confirm that Sting has only re-done in the studio on the deluxe edition and France Exclusive Edition altogether it’s just 11 songs, There are 9 live songs altogether across all the 3 CD releases from around the world, some of the old Police songs like Can’t Stand Losing You are not credited in the track listing as a Live version until you actually play the song and find that out, the same goes for So Lonely, Message In A Bottle, Walking On The Moon…This IS REALLY Bad and misleading so here I present to you the correct running order for this album as it should be and is also the way I have set it up flow properly on my MP3 player new tracks first then live stuff at the end it’s not hard to work out you guys at the record company…studio tracks first live next sounds all out of place with a loud live track right in the middle of some new studio versions…was this Stings idea? I doubt very much so.

    1. Brand New Day
    2. Desert Rose
    3. If You Love Somebody Set Them Free
    4. Every Breath You Take
    5. Demolition Man
    6. Fields Of Gold
    7. Shape Of My Heart
    8. Fragile
    9. Englishman In New York
    10. If I Ever Lose My Faith In You
    11. Spirits In The Material World (With Pato Banton)
    12. Desert Rose (Extended Version) (France Exclusive)
    13. Can’t Stand Losing You (Live)
    14. So Lonely (Live)
    15. Message In A Bottle (Live)
    16. Walking On The Moon (Live)
    17. Roxanne (Live)
    18. Synchronicty II (Live)
    19. Next To You (Live)
    20. Fragile (Live)
    21. I Can’t Stop Thing About You (Live) (Japan Exclusive)

    • Sven says:

      You are so right. The original track listing does not make sense at all. Who’s been sleeping? Even with the alternate listing the whole effort is pointless and sounds like a mix tape put together by someone who is not that much into you.

  34. Pádraig Collins says:

    Brilliant review, Paul. The best you’ve ever written, I think.

  35. Tim Joseph says:

    Your review makes me think of Paul Simon’s In The Blue Light. Who in their right minds would have hoped he’d do this? It’s not like me knocked the originals out in an afternoon! Obviously being Paul Simon, the results weren’t embarrassing- and he seems to have done the opposite to Sting in making them LESS “contemporary”! All very polite, though curiously dispassionate, but not one track was improved. Hope he hasn’t cancelled Alternate Tunings!

  36. Phil Cohen says:

    By the time of The Police’s reunion tour, Sting’s voice was already past its’ prime. Half the songs were de-tuned to lower keys, and the songs that weren’t de-tuned had Sting struggling with (and often failing to reach) the higher notes. His last good album was “Mercury Falling”. By the time of “Brand New Day”, he was collaborating with French language rap artists. Yuck!

  37. Marc says:

    I understand the economic benefit of rerecording songs for monetary gain and have no qualm. However, it will be a hard sell to gain sync rights if the version you are selling is not what the client is looking for. Richard Marx has rerecorded nearly all of his material for just such purpose and many of these are improvements over the original productions hard to fathom, I know).

    Regarding the Sting/Shaggy tour, they came through here (Phoenix) a while back and essentially played in a club, not even one of the smaller concert venues. The show sold out but I guess they chose to only play the small house here.

  38. AndyG says:

    I hear the next album will be called “Sting and Macca” in which they alternate singing each others compositions.
    Can’t wait to hear Mull of Kint-ayo !! or Evry Bref Yoo Take!!
    It will be released on Vinyl, CD, Cassette, Deluxe, Super Deluxe and Uber Deluxe editions, twelve limited edition coloured vinyls, 7″ box sets, picture discs and a massive “Sting and Macca” Super Uber Uber Deluxe numbered edition (of 50 only) containing everything just mentioned and more, 150 page hard cover book of the recording sessions with pics galore, posters, photos, stickers, scarves, marbles plus commemorative lockets of their pubic hair before it turned grey ! CANT WAIT !!
    Tayyy OHH!

  39. Richard says:

    On a positive note the collaboration with Shaggy is great – caught them at the Roundhouse last week and it was honestly one of the best concerts I’ve seen. Both of them were clearly enjoying themselves and didn’t want to leave the stage.

  40. Daryl says:

    Love the review Paul! :’D

    I must say – I don’t mind when artists completely re-work old songs into a new style – sometimes they really work, and sometimes they completely backfire. Bryan Adam’s Unplugged is a good example of both – I’m Ready was restyled beautifully and became a big hit for him, whereas 18 Til I Die (violin solo anyone?) is best forgotten. But to re-record them ‘almost’ exactly the same seems utterly pointless. At least the violin 18 Til I Die was interesting (even funny).

  41. DaveM says:

    Brilliantly written review. Managed to cancel my order just in time. Will carry on caning the excellent new National album that I got last week, thanks to the SDE shop.

  42. Peter says:

    Every re-recorded compilation has the same effect on me: it seems the artist/band decide to enter the studio for one day and record a song after the other in one take, all good, no problems if there are some imperfections, expecially on the vocals.
    60 minutes and the new album is done.

    Actually, all bland and all boring.

  43. andrew R says:

    Paul very good very honest review of an artist whose ego
    achieved take off years ago. I offer this, he has a large property portfolio
    plus his estate in Tuscany which must cost a fortune to run , these recordings
    offset and promote the only way to create income for an artist of his age.

  44. Peter Muscutt says:

    Heard Sting recently on Radio 2, and have to say that, like McCartney, Bryan Adams and Bonnie Tyler, age has got the better of their singing voices. Time to call it a day in my book, go gracefully rather than subject us to mush like this that sullies a great career. I’m not a Sting fan but obviously know his songs, and this just sounds awfully Ill-advised and pointless.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      Sting isn’t too bad. Saw him live last Sunday (with Shaggy) and he was fine. Of course his voice isn’t as good as it was, but it’s nothing like as bad as McCartney’s (although Sting is about 10 years younger).

  45. Michael says:

    Wouldn’t you know that going in though Paul? That the songs aren’t gonna be as good as the originals? I’m not a fan of Sting or The Police. The only one I still hear is English Man In New York.

    We are similar age & it’s a case of diminishing returns being a fan of artists from 80’s etc. After a certain point it just gets disappointing. Which is why I like iTunes etc you pick & choose. Even with my favourite artists George Michael there’s a couple of albums I don’t care to listen to. Or Prince where I just listen to his first 10 albums.

    I read an interview with Susan Rodgers Prince’s engineer. She studied music after working for him & the impulses from idea to execution are not as fast with age.

  46. Newmusicmark says:

    I remember when he did Don’t Stand So Close To Me 86. Now that’s the way you do it!

  47. Wayne Klein says:

    The old stuff isn’t selling because of streaming and because everyone that has bought it has it. E sell your old songs to old fans. Familiar but not.i won’t buy it but I’m sure someone will.

  48. Alan Blevin says:

    I was/am a massive fan of The Police and Sting’s solo career up to and including Mercury Falling.After that the muse just left him.In the 23 years since that album he has written one great song -Desert Rose- and the rest is lame greeting card music.
    At this point it is best to pretend that anything he puts out just doesn’t exist.I am as likely to make the next great Sting album as Sting is.Great review Paul.

  49. Jason says:

    Just buy the new Howard Jones and get on with things. At least that’s a worthwhile project.

  50. AndyHaines says:

    Oh dear. You’ve got two ends of the spectrum with these ageing “pop stars”. You’ve got the likes of Sting, who attempt to revisit their past hits and re hash them, or revisit other people’s music and rehash that or Madonna who, for whatever reason, think that to win the popular vote of the day you have to reinvent yourself to the point of stupidity, making a complete tool of yourself in the process! For God’s sake just grow old gracefully and accept you ain’t the star you once were!

  51. Steven Roberts says:

    This project could perhaps have worked if Sting had included something to draw in his original fans, as well as going after the ‘yoof ‘- maybe a second disc featuring the same songs done in a concert setting (hey! a free live album, grandad!)

    Or maybe a second disc of the songs as originally recorded, so that you can compare and contrast the old with the new….

    Actually scrap that – it’s a terrible idea.

    Like this release.

  52. Otto says:

    Songs don’t get old, only the listener. They are part of time and are perfect in that time. Often I like to travel to that time but sometimes I’m met with a tarted up Star Wars trilogy. Then, when I get back into the now I get a tarted up record from Sting. Guess what, I don’t like tarted up things. I like them original and true to their original form when they where created from pure thoughts and love for the art, not a construct to squeeze money out of a target group that doesn’t exists.


    Perhaps tho, a 12-year-old hearing one of the “new” version of a song for the first time would, further down the road when they hear the “original” prefer the “new” one… Perhaps the kids now prefer a more homogenized sound. Just as the clubkids of the late 90s/early 00s wanted TinTinOut remixes in preference to the original.
    And, as an aside… the idiot in the news yesterday complaining about every artist nowadays always being sued for plagerism and that was ruining “new” music!!!
    Absolutely – you rewrite/steal my song – I want my credit… and the credit in the bank thankyouverymuch. How else am I going to fund my dotage????

  54. DLG says:

    Thoroughly enjoyed this honest review – it’s a rarity in this day and age.

    Not excusing Sting, but I imagine it’s tough being a music biz dinosaur – which I’ll define as pretty much anyone over the age of 35. Projects like this is how dinosaurs continue to earn coin, I guess.

    But I always wonder – don’t these pop/rock stars already have enough money put away that they don’t need to dip in and go down the shallow path?

  55. Dean says:

    Sounds like it’s up there with Kate Bush’s Directors Cut – except some people praised that horrible mess.

    • James says:

      DC is a masterpiece of reinterpretation and and a soulful re-awkening for Kate. Without it we wouldn’t have had ’50 Words…’ and the tour.

      • Dean says:

        You’re entitled to your opinion, for sure. Personally it’s a case of Kate being a darling to the public, and being cut more slack than others get. For me it’s unlistenable.

  56. Eric Generic says:

    “Sting is the angler who buys his wife a fishing rod for Christmas, and expects her to be thrilled.”

    Hilarious, brilliant, and sadly spot on.

    I love Sting’s catalogue, and continue to listen to it on a regular basis, but I’m not interested in this and completely agree with your observations.

    Eric Generic (but not MORE GENERIC)

  57. Simon says:

    While I would love those SDE’s imagine this……

    It is Sting’s life. Yes rock stars are real people. They have lives. They get out of bed every day.

    If you were Sting what would you rather do? Direct some record label boffin to spend hours sorting through old tapes etc \ (and then have to listen to the stuff…recorded with two others who you no longer get on with ) t0 put toghther a SDE….or do you spend a few hopefully enjoyable weeks in a studio revisiting songs you still enjoy and play around with them (they are your songs after all) in a way which you at least think is fun to do.

    Then tour it.

    If I was Sting I think I know what I’d rather do……

    • -SG- says:

      Absolutely. Self indulgent is the word. Back in the day these would have never seen the light of day or would have been b-sides. What I have heard sounds like the demos for a greatest hits tour. Most bands record updated versions before going out on tour to get the right arrangement and just never put them out. Atleast he is doing what he loves. It is not horrible, these are great song even if these versions are not better than before. Like most live albums this is the equivalent to audio junk food, it replaces nothing,

  58. Craig Hedges says:

    Listened to some of the tracks on You Tube, they reminded me of the sound-a-like covers that used to play in supermarkets in the 1980’s.
    Several artists have done this Blondie, Squeeze, ELO and thankfully these rerecording haven’t replaced the original recordings on the radio or in the general media. The 1979 version of Heart of glass still gets played and in the future the 1983 recording of Every breath you take will be played.
    I don’t think the Police will reform, they just about managed to survive the tour in 2007, they had ‘band therapy’ and they are all friends now but they know they can’t work together and remain that way.

  59. Brian Scott says:

    I was an obsessive collector of Sting material back in the ‘old days’ and absolutely loved everything he did both with the Police and as a Solo artist. Nothing like the Sun remains one of my top 5 albums ever and so for me to see this happen to one of my favourite artists is really sad. As Paul has already said, test his recent album with Shaggy was quite a lot of fun but a reworking of his material to bring it ‘up to date’ makes no sense to me. Ironically I’ve just catalogued all my Sting stuff on Discogs recently and really enjoyed rediscovering the remixes and alternate versions that accompanied all those dozens of different versions of CD singles I found in record fairs and collected all those years ago. For me as a long time fan the best result would have been to put his energy instead into a reissue/remaster of his back catalogue with bonus discs of b-sides, remixes and alternate versions produced at the time, much like PSB have done with their Further listening series, complete with comprehensive sleeve notes. Sorry Sting but even as a long term fan I’m passing on this one … I will stay happy and contented with the original versions which were truly something special to me and always will be

  60. -SG- says:

    Mission accomplished. It sounds so modern and souless. Definitely worthy of being streamed next to Arianna et al. It does have a Botox vibe to it, or even background music for a commercial for erectile disfunction or Herpes medicine, if this were played in the supermarket you may not notice the difference but up close, yikes! The original is timeless, but this suffers from pre-fossilization.

  61. Andreas says:

    Most of the time when an artist attempts a contemporary take on their songs they ends up using a current music style that dates awfully fast and ends up sounding more dated than the original! (if indeed the original ever did sound dated). Dance versions are a classic example, especially if they’re using the latest big thing, that disappears as fast as it appeared (drum n bass, speed garage!).
    Oh well – he won’t gain a new audience. He’ll simply put himself in danger of loosing an old one.

  62. Paul Taylor says:

    Interesting you drew a comparison with a couple of tracks on Egypt Station
    Sting was on Zoe Ball’s show on Radio 2 last Friday and he seems to have turned into Paul McCartney, right down to the ‘superiority complex’ that emanates from his voice when he speaks (a sort of “I know you love me, why wouldn’t you?”); in fact my wife asked if that’s who we were listening to.
    I’m afraid he’s a quantum leap away from the man who’s music I bought religiously from 1978 onwards and probably thinks his fans will buy any old pish he churns out
    Very sad and for me he has now retired

    • Steven Roberts says:

      @PaulTaylor I switched on that Zoe Ball interview half way through – I actually thought it WAS Paul McCartney for the first few minutes….

      Heard him perform an acoustic Message in the Bottle on the same show. Lordy, his voice has dropped. It wasn’t on a Madonna-sings-live-at-Eurovision level of terrible – but it wasn’t great either. Sting barely sounds like Sting anymore.

      Doesn’t bode well for this new album :(

      • Paul Taylor says:

        @Steven Roberts
        Yep, that’s what we thought when he started talking. It took a minute to realise it was actually Sting
        It was a very lazy performance of MIAB, and you could sense him sitting there laughing inwardly as the rest of the entourage in the studio fawned over him. It really annoyed me in a way, and as I said in my earlier comment as far as I’m concerned he has retired from making serious music

  63. AudioDile says:

    I cannot fathom why any savvy artist with a sizable catalog of 80s hits and remixes would not understand the obviousness of putting out a deluxe edition of their most popular album(s) featuring tracks and remixes that are either hard to find on CD or completely unavailable.

    Perhaps I’m deluding myself and finding old master tapes is more complicated than it sounds, but show me any major artist that has done this and regretted it?

    Even when we get “special editions”, somehow they usually manage to screw it up by leaving off some of the most in demand material (looking at you, Peter Gabriel, Eurythmics, Pet Shop Boys, Phil Collins, the list goes on and on and on).

    You’d think people forgot that there was a whole slew of people in the 80s who religiously bought every 12 inch single that came out for their favorite bands.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      It’s hard to understand why Sting is happy to let B-sides, obscurities, remixes and the like languish on out-of-print singles.

      • Charlie Waffles says:

        I agree!

      • TheProgster says:

        Well he’s done so many songs over the years that odd tracks here and there on soundtrack albums, b-sides, bonus songs on old CD singles are really of no interest to him now…But to us they are some of our favorites and the best thing to do is do is make up a compilation CD of all the songs that are not on his standard albums or if adding MP3 files on to your iPod/MP3 player etc is tag them on at the end of those albums as if they were bonus songs recorded around the same time…simples !!!

  64. Paul Kent says:

    Utterly pointless. At each end of the spectrum are 2 albums: Jeff Lynne’s Mr. Blue Sky and Marillion’s Less Is More. The former is a remarkable experiment by Lynne to try and recreate the jewels in his hit crown all by himself. It is a fascinating listen, which highlights just how gifted he is as an arranger, producer and musician – these near perfect facsimiles are a feat of engineering.

    The latter album is comparable to La Bush’s Director’s Cut in that it attempts to jettison all the bells and whistles and present truly fresh interpretations of a selection of Marillion’s deep cuts (…hey, it’s Marillion, they’re all deep cuts, right?). They pull it off, too. All the redos successfully clothe the songs in new styles and colours. It was a joy to hear on the first few listens, but…

    Both albums languish in the deepest recesses of my collection now because, basically, why would I want to absolute carbon copies, or new takes that render the songs unrecognisable, when I can listen to the originals? This is why these albums never work because, no matter how good or shit the new versions may or may not be, they can never improve on the originals. Never. Ever.

  65. Steve W says:


  66. Dear Mr Sting,

    Aall we want from you is to reform The Police.


    Your Entire Fan base.

  67. Henrik says:

    Great review paul
    Heard the singles and they are terrible
    Such great artist
    Great albums
    But new songs or sdes are what we want
    Not buying this
    0 stars
    Sorry like the man

  68. Timm Davison says:

    Nobody forces anyone to buy a new album these days. Certainly, a grizzled old veteran like Sting only survives because old fans will purchase anything with his name on it, even if they know going into it that the material itself may well suck. Fandom keeps artists on this track of releasing sub-par garbage, instead of perhaps spending their entertainment dollars seeking out fresh new artists doing fresh new things. You don’t have to like it, but if you know going into it that it’s likely to be sub-par, why buy it at all? Nobody earns points for buying everything from an artist they like.

  69. Aaron says:

    One album where the artist re-recorded tracks to sound exactly like the originals but updated ever so slightly was Electric Light Orchestras Mr Blue Sky and that was quite frankly amazing in my opinion. But then Joni Mitchell and Peter Gabriel’s efforts were kinda meh. Paul Simon’s In The Blue Light was great too. It’s a difficult one when an artist does this and I’m not against it but then I also love Give My Regards To Broad Street so maybe I’m not the right person to ask. (The petition for Broad Street to get the deluxe box set treatment next starts here!)

  70. Magoo says:

    I’ve not heard this yet but it sounds like I need too.

    Great review, it’s sounds sad to say, but when WILL they learn.

    When’s Sting on the sofa then ??

  71. Cristian Elena says:

    Very good review, Paul!
    It confirms all the fears I had after listening to the first 3 songs put available for streaming.
    Regarding the issue of going for a “generic” production approach to sound more -er- contemporary and probably-appeal-the-taste of younger listeners, I would add U2 to the aforementioned Sting and Macca, which is kind of sad.
    I wish Sting’s next “new album” is a live one containing recordings his last original idea: the “Broken Music Tour” (two-guitars-bass-drums).

  72. Darren Briscoe says:

    I wish Sting would concentrate on deluxe editions of his back catalogue instead of this fiddling about with much loved songs.

    • Neil says:

      I couldn’t agree more.The first four solo albums of Sting are absolutely incredible and definitely require the ‘super deluxe’ treatment. I,for one,would also be willing to part with good money for a blu ray release of his Oslo show during the Ten Summoner’s Tales tour ; just brilliant.Sting must have a wealth of material sitting in the vaults that his true fanbase would love to hear and yet he subjects us to this insipid project.I can’t help feeling that he is being very badly advised by his current managerial team.

  73. Ken! says:

    The Blue Turtles remixes on the 25 Years box set were the best of the bunch, as they were more of an ‘un-mixing’, where they removed the gloss of the production, and presented a more dry mix. I think there may have been a couple of added sax riffs here or there, but overall, these sounded fantastic. I wish they had done the entire Blue Turtles (or any other) album like this.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      I quite liked them too and the whole album would have been interesting. There is still nothing inherently ‘wrong’ with the original though.

      • Ken! says:

        Oh, I agree. My comment was more hoping they would revisit more tracks in the same manner. It’d be a nice add-on for a deluxe edition (someday…).

  74. Christopher Wood says:

    I don’t get the hate here. In the 1970s artists often played new arrangements of their songs in concerts. Bob Dylan often radically remixes his biggest songs. Sometimes he misses and other times he succeeds. It makes his concerts more interesting than simply playing the song note for note like the CD. Frank Sinatra’s best music was rearranging the American songbook Nelson Riddle in the 1950s and 1960s. How many times has Eric Clapton changed Crossroads and other classic blues songs? In the 1990s MTV made the wildly popular Unplugged series of concerts.

  75. CJ says:

    The one upside of this album being unleashed on us is Paul’s review of it, which is one of the most engaging pieces of music journalism I’ve read in a long time. Sadly, still can’t bring myself to thank Sting for that. From the sounds of things, this album is a bit like of Franklin Roosevelt were still alive and he said, “Let’s do the New Deal over again, but this time with Trickle Down economics.”

  76. MusicFan says:

    I really love some of these new versions however for some of them I can’t even tell any difference without playing them ‘side by side’ – but even then the difference is slight!

    I totally agree with the comment he made to Billboard magazine. That is very true indeed and makes a big different. Interestingly some artists will seek out old tech to achieve a sound from yesteryear.

    In 1986 when the Police went into a studio to re-record their hits they produced the monumental Don’t Stand So Close To Me ’86 which is outstanding. Sadly they started punching each other so they only recorded one track. I was hoping it would be to this degree that Sting would approach My Songs.

    Ultimately I find it hard to criticise an artist at the age of 67 who is still touring the world doing his own thing!!!

    On the subject of The Last Ship theatre production, mentioned in the article, I found this to be absolutely phenomenal – I loved it so very very much!

  77. Nick Love says:

    In 2016 I saw the joint Peter Gabriel/Sting concert tour in Columbus and with these two being two of my musical heroes I had high expectations. Both artists are in a similar point in their careers, where new material has slowed to a trickle and both are more interested in collaborating or reframing old material than releasing new ones. While both were pedaling out the predictable hits for the most part, you could definitely feel a difference in energy between the two. While Sting was definitely on cruise control, Peter was engaging the audience and in perfect sync with his band, giving a performance powerful enough to convert my Sting-fan wife to a Peter Gabriel fan.
    It was very cool to hear Sting sing the acapella intro to Selling England by the Pound accompanied by violin though, I was disappointed not to hear the whole song.

  78. Rob says:

    Revisiting old songs is almost always a bad idea. It happened a lot in the sixties and seventies where artists would re-record songs for those awful “made for TV” albums or to replace their old mono albums with a new stereo mix. The first artist I remember consciously redoing his old material was McCartney on “Give My Regards To Broad Street” which was so so bad (when the three new songs he included were quite good).
    Paul mentioned Kate Bush and she quite radically re-visioned her work (one song had a total wholesale replacement of lyrics.) Sting here sounds un-enthused. I just listened to “Every Breath You Take and every word is carefully enunciated. It totally kills the slow burning anger of the song.
    This should have never happened, or shown up as bonus tracks on the album itself. It’s been a few years since I bought a Sting album, in fact I think since i got upset over the ridiculous 100.00 price tag for his remixed 25 years box. Looks like I will be passing him by again.

    • Nick Love says:

      I agree with your assessment of the new song on Give My Regards… No More Lonely Nights is one of my favorite Macca songs not least for the brilliant David Gilmour-at-his-peak solo at the end. It was a joy to hear them playing together on Run Devil Run and I wish they had found time for more collaborations.

    • Ben says:

      “It totally kills the slow burning anger of the song.” –> the young punk has turned a well-off conservative English gentleman (with a lot of £££££… and eager for more?)

      • Bart says:

        When i listen to The Police im thinking ” where is THIS Sting…”. I guess he wont come back and that’s sad as hell

  79. StephendC says:

    A famous man once said “You can’t reheat a souffle”.

    How right he was.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      That man did re-record Eleanor Rigby, For No One and Yesterday… but yes, he’s right :)

  80. Marc K. says:

    Paul, your review makes me so sad, so very sad……Sting used to be my hero and I know your words to be true, so very true. The Police were my heroes. I own 24 different copies of ‘I can’t stand losing you’, I was flabbergasted the first time I heard ‘Every breath you take’. I went to see Sting solo in 1985, which was great with the wonderful musicians and energy he surrounded himself with. The Police reunion in 2007 was okay, but after that……..I have no words for it, it only makes me sad, so very sad. This record is almost as if he is saying (to me): “you sorry fool, for liking the songs in the first place”. There is only one solution: re-unite The Police and make the best album ever!

    • Marc K. says:

      having heard the whole album I only have one advise: don’t buy this album (or burn it, if you did). This is an insult to any Police fan and a very big insult to Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland. I wish I never heard this…….

  81. Mister Stick says:

    While The Cops and the early Gordo solo records were important to me, I had no interest in this thing at all, and rolled my eyes at the idea.

    But now, I’m almost glad this waste of digits and cardboard is being released, if only because it gave St. Paul a chance to sharpen his blade.

    Nice piece of wordsmithing, Paul, and thanks for the morning read. That Botox bit… Nice.

  82. fenwick says:

    Paul – you know what’s great about you? Amongst many things, you tell it straight.

    You have a big following here and I’m sure many artists/companies know about this site. And for you tell it like it is, (from your perch), regardless of any consequences is really refreshing. Kudos.

    Paul Simon re-recorded some of his songs last year. (I wonder if that’s where Sting got the idea). Unlike this effort, Paul’s album was comprised of all deep cuts. In addition, all of the songs were completely transformed into new arrangements. Many people didn’t like it. Most seemed to think it was too mellow and soulless. I absolutely loved it save two tracks that were meandering jazzy remakes that literally tripped all over themselves IMO.

    When I first heard about this Sting album, it made zero sense to me. I love Sting and respect the hell out of his catalog. But the fact that most of these are the hits, was instantly a massive turn off. I was 95% certain I would not be buying this album. And after reading your review, it’s now 100%.


  83. Ben Williams says:

    Nice review Paul. I think some of these tracks will be interesting to listen but overall the project does seem like a waste of time, IMO.
    I just wish he would make a good jazz album of some of his deep cuts, new tracks and covers (Sister Moon 1996 is an amazing track and an entire Sting album with that sound would be amazing!)

  84. RobI says:

    Sounds like you enjoyed your review copy Paul

    Fair play, I do like to read HONEST reviews.

    I’ve never got the whole ‘sting’ thing myself, although I do love every breath as a track

  85. Chris Squires says:

    Further to the last point I would suggest what we want for Christmas isn’t necessarily new material or “interesting rearrangements of old songs” but super deluxe versions of his albums. At least two maybe three of his albums would benefit from a 4 / 5 CD + DVD / book and we would lap it up. Well I would anyway.
    Rather that that another 57th & 9th or My Songs.
    Can we have an SDE* please….

    * as a rider… even if I got what I wanted I feel he would fuck it up in some unlikely way like Phil Collins has. An SDE of Blue Turtles with all newly recorded material and Shaggy on duet duty?

  86. Dave Butterfield says:

    Utterly pointless. No other words…why anyone listens to this over the originals..which are still played today for 1 reason…they are timeless. Leaves one motivation £££££ or €€€€€€€ or ¥¥¥¥¥¥¥ or $$$$$ or probably all of them

  87. Michael Fortin says:

    I don’t know Paul, Steven Wilson has remixed countless classic albums and no one has complained. In fact, he has been praised for it. When Sting, *the actual artist* does it, then he’s a bum. I’m not saying these new versions are necessarily better than the originals, but they should make for an interesting listen instead of the same old versions we have heard a million times.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      Steven Wilson makes a point of remixing albums to sound as close to the original as possible. It’s an entirely different thing. He’s not replacing Jethro Tull drums with a drum machine, or adding new synths to them.

      • Erik says:

        In fact, to further what Paul said, when Steven did the remixing for Passion Play and the abandoned recordings before it, Ian asked him to mix out most if not all of his saxophone playing and Steven refused as he wanted it to sound as close to what was originally recorded as possible. Comparing the Audition/Scenario/No Rehearsal tracks between the 90’s influenced version on Nightcap and what Steven did really shows this effort very clearly and how much better Steven’s mix sounds.

        Speaking of which, I feel Tull did this whole re-recording thing better with their 25th Anniversary set (the one that looks like a cigar box) where among the 4 discs they included the Beacon’s Bottom Tapes which were re-recordings of old songs by the current line-up. It was an interesting listen once or twice but, frankly, is the disc I least often re-visit from that package (mostly as my favorite line-up was 70’s era Tull and feel they just did it all best…Giddings is no John Evans) but it was just part of a set and not the whole effort and was probably fun for them to do, especially as the songs tend to evolve live and depending on who is playing them just sound different. I was also left with three other discs I greatly enjoyed listening to, so I did not feel my money was wasted.

  88. stephen king says:

    Presumably Stingo doesn’t have to share any performance royalties with Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland for re-recorded Police songs, just pay the session fee for the inferior players? Kerching (ish).
    Every Karaoke You Take?
    Hopefully we can pass over this and move onto genuinely new/old stuff with reissues of the Police back catalogue that’s been promised.

    • Jeff Seitz says:

      You’re correct that he doesn’t have to share master recording royalties of the “My Songs’ renditions with Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland.

  89. Stuart Ansell says:

    So, come on Paul – fence sitting aside… Tell us what you REALLY think lol!!!

  90. What? Sting? Worry? says:

    What utter bolkocks from Sting. How can a drum kit and two guitars be dated on Police records. Replacing them with “modern” sounds is utterly pointless. It’s like putting a nose ring on the Mona Lisa to make it hip to the new generation. Sorry I can’t swallow the “shitcake” baked by Sting.

  91. Rick Gassko says:

    My favorite Sting album is ‘The Soul Cages’, so I’m actually relieved that none of those songs were tampered with on this collection. I’ve heard quite a few artists re-record their hits over the past several years (a lot of New Wave groups), and the newer versions are just pale imitations of the originals (and the vocals usually sound worse). Replacing Omar Hakim with a drum machine..well that’s just criminal! :)

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