I’ve been listening a lot to the latest Sting CD, “Sacred Love.” I’ve had the experience with it that I had with his last couple CDs: I buy it, think at first that except for one or two songs it really isn’t that great, then find after a while that it has a depth I didn’t see at first.
The first song liked was “Stolen Car,” about a young car thief who gets a glimpse of the life of the man whose car he’s just stolen. Not only is it a cool song, I’ve assumed it was written as an apology for doing that Jaguar commercial, in which he rides in an XJ-12 (or whatever) to the tune of “Desert Rose.”
But the songs right after it– “Forget About the Future” (one that I’m predisposed to enjoying), “This War,” and “The Book of My Life,” while less catchy at first, hold up very well to repeated listening.
One critic described Sting as edgy but safe, the musical equivalent of a batik print skirt or Khalil Gibran’s “The Prophet”– different, but not so alien (or unpopular) as to be alienating. I think that undersells him: he manages to be popular, but still quite deep– a balance that any serious musician or public intellectual realizes is very hard.