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The Dream of the Blue Turtles

Sting

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iTunes Review

On Dream of the Blue Turtles, Sting’s debut solo release, he sounds determined to distance himself from the legacy of The Police, both by moving beyond the rock trio format and by writing less edgy, more carefully crafted pop tunes. To help articulate his new musical vision, Sting enlisted some of the young jazz lions of the time — Branford Marsalis (soprano and tenor sax), the late Kenny Kirkland (keyboards), and Omar Hakim (drums) — and their jazz sensibilities color everything on the album. Even when just vamping over basic chord progressions, leaving ample room for long lyrical sax lines and thick keyboard fills (as on the smoky “Consider Me Gone”), the approach lends the music a sophistication that highlights some of Sting’s lyrics, particularly those dealing with big themes like nuclear holocaust, drug addicted teens, and the plight of British coal miners. But whatever the subject matter, the music is consistently enjoyable, and the album earned Sting four Top 40 hits, including the smashes “If You Love Somebody Set Them Free” and the Caribbean-inflected “Love is the Seventh Wave,” proving that it’s still a pop album at heart.

Customer Reviews

I disagree.

I must disagree with the iTunes album review. This group of musicians (incredible musicians, at that) bridged the barrier between rock and jazz quite effectively. This album was the first of many displaying Sting's genius both as a player and songwriter, and he picked one hell of a group of musicians to back him up on this one. Nothing on this album sounds like he is trying to "force" himself or that he was "trying too hard". For those of you who haven't seen it, I strongly recommend that you rent or purchase "Bring on the Night," starring Sting, Omar Hakim, Branford Marsalis, Kenny Kirkland, Darryl Jones, and Dolette McDonald & Janice Pendarvis -- the same band as heard on this album. It's a documentary about their first tour promoting these songs (no one had even heard the songs up until they played their first concert!), and how the band rehearsed/developed up until their first concert in London. All of the interviews with Sting and company as well as rehearsal/concert footage provide a great insight into the thinking behind this album. The album reviewer should watch it, as it would provide him with a new respect for this music and to retract that narrow-minded statement.

One of the finest solo debuts of all time

This is really one of the most well executed solo debuts of all time--especially impressive considering this album had to follow Sting's magnum opus, 'Synchronicity.' The melodies are all immediatly catchy yet incredibly complex. "Fortress Around Your Heart" is the best example of Sting's writing at its most potent, accompanied by a tight arrangement and incredible sax work. "Children's Crusade" is darkly beautiful, bouyed along by winds and piano, while "If You Love Somebody..." is alive with optimistic energy. 'Dream of the Blue Turtles' remains one of Sting's most artistically diverse and entertaining albums.

Before the schmaltz and drivel

This, along with "Nothing Like the Sun" were terrific solo CD's released before Sting relied solely on his voice and settled into the adult contemporary schmaltz he's done for the last 15 years. On "Dream of the Blue Turtles" he took advantage of the stellar musicians he assembled, some great songs AND that voice and put together something great that combines elements of pop, reggae, and jazz into a cohesive whole. In particular "Shadows in the Rain" just flies off the disk.

Biography

Born: October 2, 1951 in Wallsend, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

After disbanding the Police at the peak of their popularity in 1984, Sting quickly established himself as a viable solo artist, one obsessed with expanding the boundaries of pop music. Sting incorporated heavy elements of jazz, classical, and worldbeat into his music, writing lyrics that were literate and self-consciously meaningful, and he was never afraid to emphasize this fact in the press. For such unabashed ambition, he was equally loved and reviled, with supporters believing that he was at...
Full Bio

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