I’m finishing off the day with a plate of Chicken Kiev and vegetable rice and another record from this past weekend’s Record Fair, ‘Dream of the Blue Turtles‘ by Sting.
When I showed Kelly what I was putting on the turntable she says:
“Oh finally! We’re going to listen to decent music.”
Okay, I see how it is.
Anyway, this was an album that Kelly has requested that I hunt out and fortunately it didn’t take too long. And although I doubt she remembers, this was an album (on cassette) that she herself loaned me back in high school. I had absolutely zero interest in Sting but I was interested in her and so this was supposed to be my “In” for sharing an interest with her and, therefore, establishing some kind of connection.
My ploy worked, of course, although it would take another 30-some odd years before it came to fruition.
I’m still not a huge Sting fan truth be told but, you know, I enjoyed listening to this tonight…like, really enjoyed it. And after perusing the back cover, I can see why too as it prominently features Branford Marsalis on saxophone (in fact, the album employs all of Wynton Marsalis’ band) and Eddie Grant on congas. Not that I knew who these guys were back in high school mind you, but I sure know who they are now.
As far as the album itself goes, The Police never really broke up, they just stopped working together – largely because they just couldn’t stand playing together anymore and partially because Sting was itching to establish himself as a serious musician/songwriter on his own terms.
This is Sting’s debut album from 1985, his critical shorthand of an official jazz record. And bare in mind that all this jazz noise is centered around songs that delve into straightforward love songs like the lovely measured ‘Consider Me Gone‘ and the mournful closer, ‘Fortress Around Your Heart‘, before leaping into the abstract (‘If You Love Somebody Set Them Free‘), a childish, faux-reggae singalong ‘Love Is the Seventh Wave‘, ballads about children in war and in coal mines, a relived Police tune about heroin that ponders whether “Russians love their children too,” before ultimately wandering the streets of New Orleans as the vampire Lestat (‘Moon Over Bourbon Street‘).
Needless to say that this is a serious-minded album, undercut by its very approach – the glossy fusion that coats the entire album, the occasional grabs at worldbeat, and studious lyrics seem less pretentious largely because they’re overshadowed by such bewilderingly showy moves as adapting Prokofiev for ‘Russians‘ and calling upon Anne Rice for inspiration. I didn’t stand a chance at really appreciating what this album was back in 1985 and, likely, neither was Kelly even though she still know all the words.
Ask her about it now though and she’ll just tell you about listening to this album on repeat while seated in the Dome car while traveling across Canada by train.