180 Gram Vinyl Record
Sting returns with The Bridge
Features the singles "If It's Love" and "Rushing Water"
Music and memories spans continents and genres
"You can add his fifteenth LP, The Bridge, to the list of refreshingly genre-defying works that don't require knowledge of 17th-century Renaissance music or appreciation of mid-'90s and early-'00s dancehall-pop stars. Sting is still in a ruminative mood — personal loss, the pandemic and politics all figure into The Bridge's songs — but he gets there via routes that are familiar to followers of the Police and his early solo work." — Ultimate Classic Rock
The Bridge is the 15th studio album (and first rock album in five years since 57th & 9th in 2016) by British singer-songwriter Sting, The former Police man shows where Ed Sheeran and Adele might be in a few decades' time — if they're lucky.
It is a brave or foolish pop star who puts out their new album the same week as the return of Adele. The British chanteuse is set to sweep all before her, as her much-heralded new release 30 arrives today to challenge Coldplay, Ed Sheeran and Abba for the all-important Christmas sales top spot. So spare a thought for former Police-man Sting, in danger of becoming the forgotten superstar as he unveils a 15th studio album of impeccable songcraft, sublime musicianship and soulfully sensual vocals to precious little fanfare.
Sting recorded the album throughout the last year with a coterie of trusted musicians beaming into his studio remotely. That easy sense of musical camaraderie, connection and kinship is on full display in the lead single "If It's Love," an unabashed pop song lent wings by a whistled refrain, joyful handclaps, and uplifting brass and strings.
"There's a whole lot of water flowing through this album," Sting says about the brand new songs that form the body of work he's christened The Bridge. "All of the songs on the album are bridged by people being between worlds."
The Bridge is business as usual for the well-preserved 70-year-old singer-songwriter, even if his old bass-playing fingers are no longer on the mainstream pop pulse. There are no hi-tech sonic twists, guest rappers or desperate attempts to co-opt contemporary trends. Recorded in a home studio during lockdown with long-distance contributions from backing musicians, it is still all about virtuoso playing of elegantly constructed songs whose literate lyrics reach for emotion and profundity. The sound is plush and luxurious, with Sting's softly sandpapered vocals to the fore. It's a fair bet that half of these tracks would have been inescapable had they been released in his commercial prime.
Here, then, is another bridge: as well as pushing elegantly forward, this is an album that intriguingly stretches backwards, showcasing the many different stages and genres through which Sting has journeyed in an unparalleled career. The Bridge feels like a greatest hits, but one where all the songs are brand new. A record that is at once modern and upbeat but rooted in Sting's lifelong musical and lyrical passions.
As he puts it: "These songs are between one place and another, between one state of mind and another, between life and death, between relationships. Between pandemics, and between eras - politically, socially and psychologically, all of us are in the middle of something. We need a bridge."
Rounding out this kaleidoscope of future-facing ideas, influences and images is a contribution from legendary saxophonist Branford Marsalis, another frequent Sting collaborator and another call back, on his 15th solo studio album, to his first.
|1. Rushing Water|
|2. If It’s Love|
|3. The Book Of Numbers|
|4. Loving You|
|5. Harmony Road|
|6. For Her Love|
|7. The Hills On The Border|
|8. Captain Bateman|
|9. The Bells Of St. Thomas|
|10. The Bridge|