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article imageSting releases orchestral CD 'Symphonicities' Special

By Michael Bearak     Jul 21, 2010 in Entertainment
Sting, formerly of The Police, has released a new album which he is now touring with called 'Symphonicities'. This album features tracks played with an orchestra.
If the rise and fall of the band "The Police" tells us anything, it is that Sting is not a simple person, and his 2009 album "If on a Winter's Night..." left his fans wondering what his direction really was now a days.
2010 has proven to be a new year for Sting and his latest album, "Symphonicities" tends to dive deeper into new roots for Sting's where he used numerous orchestras to play the background music giving it deep sound mostly on songs that have already been released. It was that deep orchestra sound though that Sting allows to drive the music forward.
The title of the album seemed to immediately spark comparisons to 1983 album "Synchronicity," but outside of the closeness of the names the comparisons end right there. Gone are the deep sounds of Sting's bass, and his powerful, song controlling vocals. "Symphonicities" is more subdued allowing the Orchestras to play the strong notes and no longer his voice.
For his latest album of 12 songs and a "bonus track" Sting steals two songs off of the 1986 album, "Every Breath You Take." He did not take the well known title song, instead he took, "Roxanne," and "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic."
If you had never heard "Roxanne" from the 1980's albums you would not even think of it as a rock song. Here Sting allows the violins to open up the song, subtly whispering the famed words, "Roxanne, you don't have to put on the red light..." Now, it comes across truly as a plea, a man begging for her not to go, not to turn tricks. The high pitched well known voice of Sting screaming "Roxanne" followed by bass and guitar is gone, as he emphasizes each word in the song with the London Players driving the song for him. A flute plays a vital role in the song with the bass is totally gone. The song has been completely reworked, the only thing that remains are the actual words from the 1980's hit and the meaning.
"Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" that had the catchy melody and rhythm to it was done much to the same story telling method that "Roxanne" was done in. Again he used the London Players with horns. Still, when he has to Sting holds the notes he has to hold with seemingly little or no effort. In the album he also re-does a number of other songs including; "Englishman In New York," "When We Dance," and "We Work the Black Seam." It is the last song in that list that is the only song that is not accompanied by an orchestra.
Depending when a listen became a fan of Sting, whether it was The Police era of the 1980's or the early part of his solo career with "The Dream of Blue Turtles" to "Soul Cages" in the 1990's this is truly a departure from what you had there. He allows the orchestras to tell more of the story than his own voice at times, and if you didn't know better you might now think it was even Sting, even though his voice is still identifiable. Just the same you could take his voice out completely and allow let it be an instrumental that would tell the same story that Sting's words do.
All of that is completely different from his 1980's work and his 1990's work where his voice carried the songs. It has been later in his career that he has started moving away from being the dominant figure in the song and almost playing a supporting role. Many could attribute that to an aging voice and aging individual. The movement towards using a large orchestra has been something that Sting has been working towards. He appeared at the opening ceremonies of the 2002 Winter Olympics and performed with Yo-Yo Ma as well as the Mormon Tabernacle Choir during the opening ceremonies. He also has sung with Luciano Pavarotti as part of his "Pavarotti and Friends" album in 2003. In that respect this has been an evolution of sorts for Sting.
The newest album is very similar to great signers like Kathleen Battle or Pavarotti singing with great orchestras. If someone had never heard Sting before but loved classical music this album may strike a cord with them. For the pop listener, they will definitely find this a deviation from what they have come to expect from Sting. Truly this album may have trouble finding a home as it isn't really adult contemporary, but that is where most record stores will try and promote it, this album is more of a classical/vocal album.
The list of songs include:
Next To You--(New York Chamber Consort)
Englishman in New York--(New York Chamber Consort)
Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic--(London Players)
I Hung My Head--(Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra)
You Will Be My Ain True Love--(Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra)
Roxanne--(London Players)
When We Dance--(Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra)
The End of the Game--(Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra)
I Burn For You---(New York Chamber Consort)
We Work the Black Seam--(no group)
She's Too Good For Me--(New York Chamber Consort)
The Pirate's Bride--(New York Chamber Consort)
Straight To My Heart [Bonus Track]--(Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra)
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