You know, there’s something about this whole “I want to work with a symphony” kick rock stars get up their butts every now and then that just drives me a bit bonkers. The first I can recall was when Metallica worked with Michael Kamen to add a symphonic flair to their music. It was a novel effort then, but I don’t think I’ll ever listen to that album ever again. And the whole working with a symphony thing got kind of ridiculous when Styx decided to add a symphony accompaniment to their songs. But I was truly worried when I heard that Rush was contemplating doing the same.
Thankfully, Rush decided to remain true to their music and have produced a couple of new songs to take on the road with them.
Alas, Sting is not so fortunate. And truth be told, if Sting had produced new music to tour with, it probably would have been like the crap he’s been flinging at his audience for the last few years. Just think “pan flute” and you’ll know what I’m talking about. So what’s an aging rocker (who really never liked being a new wave rocker) to do? Yes, you mine your past and hope your audience appreciates how you masterfully reworked old favorites into new and interesting renditions. And so it goes with Symphonicities, Sting’s latest effort that combines classic songs he recorded with the Police and some of his solo work with a symphonic flourish.
The result? Not great, but not altogether bad, either. “Next to You” sounds kind of odd without the scorching guitar work of Andy Summers, but other songs like “I Burn For You” (A song that was recorded by the Police, but ended up on the Brimstone and Treacle soundtrack) is still haunting, but with the lush orchestration of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, it gives the song a surprising new dimension. “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic” is uneven, but it’s still a strong enough song that nothing much is taken away with the symphony backing up Sting.
So, after touring with his old band mates for a couple of years, it seems Sting has made a kind of peace with that era of his life and, perhaps, is trying to draw inspiration from the great pop songs he wrote all those years ago. Let’s hope his rediscovery of what made him a great pop songwriter will translate into new music that ditches the pan flute in favor of guitar, drum and bass.
“Every Little Thing She Does is Magic,” Sting (Download)
“I Burn for You,” Sting (Download)