Album Review

Sting, 'Symphonicities'

July 12, 2010

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An inveterate musical adventurer, Sting is no stranger to rearranging his catalog. Whether that’s meant acoustic reworkings, Spanish-language retrofits, or live improvisations, he fearlessly pushes his own songs around. So it was just a matter of time before the famously posh Brit would go the symphonic route. Certainly an orchestra is a big enough umbrella, but some of the songs — from both the Police and Sting’s solo career — definitely end up getting wet. Several tunes offer expected pleasures, including the crisp pluck lent to “Englishman in New York’’ by a phalanx of string players. Also expected is the way that some tracks feel weighed down by the “serious’’ addition of an orchestra, as with “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic,’’ which, although pretty, is sapped of a bit of its breeziness. The album’s biggest revelation is “Roxanne.’’ That such an exhaustively played song could exude new nuances — more yearning and melancholy than demanding anger thanks to a gorgeously mournful cello solo — is impressive. One consistent element, however, is Sting’s vocals, which are as warm, elastic, and expressive as ever. (Out tomorrow)


ESSENTIAL “We Work the Black Seam’’

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