1985, Music

The Dream of the Blue Turtles (1985) by Sting

Sting’s songwriting grew leaps and bounds while The Police were together. But what grew more was his musical palette, as the police moved from a band that played one style of music (essentially poppy art punk-reggae) to a variety of styles. The Police basically never really got along with each other but, at some point, Sting decided that he had outgrown the other two musically. And so he went solo and gave the world…this.

Sure, Sting’s songwriting is the most sophisticated yet of his career. He’s writing using new chords and harmonies and incorporating all sorts of additional instruments into his arrangements.

And the lyrics are, as always, thoughtful. Sting always had a way with words from the earliest Police songs, but he broadened his interests.

If there’s one thing I can say for Sting’s debut album, it sounds sophisticated.

But the energy from The Police is utterly gone. Vanished. And it’s been replaced by some kind of hilarious facsimile of cool jazz. I wanted to say that it sounds like a foreigner’s idea of jazz (an Englishman’s) but much English jazz is great, as is much foreign jazz. And the results are closer to the “smooth jazz” radio format than any actual jazz I enjoy listening to. Sting has literally gone from being in a band that some people confused with a punk band to being the poster-boy for what would come to be known as “adult contemporary”. Like, what the actual fuck?

This album is well made. It is indeed “sophisticated” in the sophisti-pop sense, and I cannot say that it is “bad”. But it is incredibly disappointing and it must have been for Police fans at the time. It’s as if, in the two years since Synchronicity, Sting turned into a middle aged man.

You dumped your (incredibly talented) bandmates to make this?


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