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The Last Ship (Deluxe Edition)

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Editors’ Notes

Sting’s first album of original material since 2003’s Sacred Love, The Last Ship, is also the basis for his late-2014 Broadway production. Sting grew up in the '50s during the dying days of shipbuilding in his town, which was dependent on it. The local industry finally collapsed in the ‘80s. Now Sting pays tribute with a song cycle heavy on Celtic sea chanteys, acoustic instrumentation, and somber, hard-won truths. A lilting song such as “August Winds” and the ballad “I Love Her but She Loves Someone Else” let Gordon Sumner, the vocalist, sing at his purest. “Language of Birds” adds electric guitars and hand drums. Guests such as Jimmy Nail (on the album highlight “What Have We Got?”) and Becky Unthank (“So to Speak”) appear on the standard version, while AC/DC’s Brian Johnson appears on two tracks (“Shipyard,” “Sky Hooks and Tartan Paint”) on the deluxe edition, moving past his heavy metal shriek for the hardness of a dockworker from an earlier time.

Customer Reviews

Great music

For those who can't get past the fact that Sting isn't going to make the music you want him to make, which is Police music. This is not for you. Just because you don't like it doesn't mean it's horrible, something happened to him, or that he should retire. My goodness. Grow up and get with the ship. This is Sting at his creative best and he's always been far beyond pop/rock/punk music. Any Sting fan would know that since, 1985 and beyond, he's had no interest in being in "rock". Please go away if you don't understand that.

And James Owl, shows how much you know. Sting wrote all of the hit police songs....

This article from STING.COM explains what this project is about:

Message Unbottled: Sting Conquers Writer's Block With His First New Songs in a Decade...(NOTE from Poster-this album is not pop, rock, nor jazz, but simply an inspired group of songs for a musical inspired from the ship yard in his hometown. Dont be an IDIOT and be rude by trying to judge this piece of work as something of a failure becuase its not what you want to hear. Its not even what I wanted to hear from Sting but I can appreciate it for what it is. Go to his website and enlighten yourself to what this project represents for perhaps the most intelligent gifted songwriter of our time. No one but a genious could write quaility music from oposite sides of the spectrum.

A few years ago, Sting found himself in a position that was unique to his experience, though perhaps familiar to certain others: He had grown sick and tired of Sting. For three decades, Sting had been not just one of the world's most famous musicians but one of its preeminent musical confessors: a singer-songwriter who, through all of his incarnations - spiky white reggae man, stadium rock star, sleek fixture of adult­-contemporary radio - had kept the music coming by, he says, "scraping the barrel of my soul." The result was a prolific output: five LPs with the Police and a string of hit solo albums, a run that concluded in 2003 with his eighth solo release, Sacred Love. Then, abruptly, the songs stopped. Sting has released three albums in the years since, all on the classical label Deutsche Grammophon; none were pop records, per se, and none included new songs ­written by Sting. Eventually, he realized he was blocked.

"I thought: Maybe I've lost my mojo to write," Sting recalls. "There's a lot of self-obsession involved in being a singer-songwriter. I'd gotten sick of navel­gazing. I'd gotten sick of putting myself on the couch."

Sting wasn't on the couch when he sat for an interview one afternoon this past June. In fact, he was on the table: He'd helped himself to a seat on top of a big wooden coffee table, in a plushly appointed room on an upper floor of his record label's midtown headquarters. He was there to discuss the project that had pulled him out of the songwriting doldrums: a musical set in the eighties about the decline of the shipbuilding industry in his hometown of Newcastle, England. The show, The Last Ship, has songs by Sting and a book co-written by John Logan and Brian Yorkey; it's slated to reach Broadway in the autumn of 2014, in a production directed by Joe Mantello (Wicked). In the meantime, we have an album also titled The Last Ship, Sting's first original music in a decade, a selection of songs written not for Sting himself but for the play. "Once I came up with these characters, the songs began to pour out," Sting says. "It was such a relief not to write about myself. I had to get myself out of the way."

In person, the first thing you notice about Sting is how familiarly - almost laughably - Stingish he looks. His eyes are greenish-blue; when he shakes your hand, he fixes you with a gaze that can only be called steely. He wears tight-fitting jeans and a sweater and is as svelte and toned as a man a third his age - a walking advertisement for yoga and good eating and Tantric sex and whatever other benefits accrue from the lifestyle of a multimillionaire with homes in Manhattan, London, Malibu, the English countryside, and Tuscany. In "I Love Her But She Loves Someone Else," a dusky ballad on The Last Ship, Sting sings in the voice of a man contemplating the ravages of time in the bathroom mirror: "When a man of my age shaves his face in the morning / Who is it that stares back and greets him? / The ghost of his father long dead all these years? / Or the boy that he was, still wet in the ears?" At 61, Sting's face has gotten fleshier; his hairline has moved back a few inches, and he wears it buzzed close to the scalp. But you'd be hard-pressed to find a better-looking, balding sexagenarian. "I do like to keep fit," he says. "It's vanity."

Vanity, of course, is a charge that has often been leveled at Sting. It's a strange thing to criticize a pop star for, but Sting has long provoked strong animosity, especially among tastemakers and the self-­consciously hip. The Last Ship is unlikely to sway the Sting-haters. The show doesn't hide its Brecht-Weill aspirations. It's an allegory about deindustrialization: the story of workers who occupy their shipyard, which the government has ordered closed, and build one last ship for their own use. "It's a crazy idea for a story, really," Sting says. "A quixotic, even Homeric idea."

The music, meanwhile, veers far from rock and pop. The songs are steeped in the folk sounds of Northeastern England, with its rich weave of Celtic influences. Sting sings several numbers in a thick ­Northumbrian burr. The instrumentation is regional, too, with many songs anchored by tooting Northumbrian pipes and melodeon, a button accordion frequently found in folk music of the British Isles. There are waltzes, reels, sing-alongs that lurch and thump like sea shanties. But there's also urbanity in the music: dashes of bossa nova and lots of Broadway, the lush chromaticism of Gershwin and Rodgers and Sondheim.

"If you scratch me, I start singing show tunes," Sting says. "I'm singing the whole of Carousel, the whole of Oklahoma. I love My Fair Lady. I love South Pacific, West Side Story."

Sting's Last Ship show tunes include some music that stands with the best of his career. There's the gorgeous "August Winds," which swoons and sways over fingerpicked guitar. There's "Practical Arrangement," a heartbreaking marriage proposal from a man in love to a woman who doesn't return the feeling. The title track is a waltz that stirs biblical references and images of apocalypse into the tale of a ship's launching: "Oh, the roar of the chains and the cracking of timbers / The noise at the end of the world in your ears / As a mountain of steel makes its way to the sea."

Getting better and better

It is great to see Sting evolve and grow as he gets older, I know I am.
So to all that want the old Sting, buy the old albums, there are still great songs on those to discover.
Like Tom Bailey grew and still puts out great albums that you NEED to buy, so does Sting.
So shave off your mullet and your handlebar mustache and relax and're not in your 20's anymore and neither is he...


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...
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