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Sting: The Last Ship (Deluxe Edition)

stingSting
The Last Ship (Deluxe Edition)
(A&M Records)

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An Irish shanty story song title track opens Sting’s The Last Ship, a collection of tunes that will be debuted in 2014 as a Broadway musical inspired by the ex-Police frontman’s time growing up. I like the jaunty, jazzy feel and Sting’s fantastic vocals on “And Yet”; it gets all heavy with crashy drums and wild organ flight. “August Wind” is a pretty angelic, acoustic ballad, while “Show Some Respect” is all cutting, loud Sting singing through a big exposition Broadway number.

In many instances here, Sting sings “in character,” which is not in and of itself a bad thing, but as standalone songs, I’m not sure we’re getting Sting’s best on his 11th solo album. (My main complaint with Cyndi Lauper’s songs for Kinky Boots or Bono and The Edge’s writing for Spiderman, is that the songs these rock icons write for these musicals…just aren’t good songs.)

“What Have We Got?,” besides having the unique pipes of Jimmy Nail dueting with Sting, is a big, loud Irish stopmer that opens into a musical production, more than a tune. However, “I Love Her But She Loves Someone Else” is a deep, dark ballad with Sting singing probably his best ever.

The Deluxe Edition has five additional tracks, including a jaunty “Shipyard” with Jimmy Nail, Jo Lawry and AC/DC’s Brian Johnson. This one works well through the “character” singing because of the multiple voices. “It’s Not The Same Moon” sees Sting’s sexy breathy vocal over acoustic and cello – a very pretty song to be sure. “Sky Hooks and Tartan Paint,” again with Brian Johnson aboard, is a great rockin’ tune, the first really of all of these to feature an electric guitar.

As a big Broadway-bound show a-comin’, this could be good, bad or mediocre. As a collection of new songs, Sting’s The Last Ship is OK at best.

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