STING – “THE LAST SHIP”

Sting

“The Last Ship”

(A&M)

 

It has been a decade since Sting released an album of new material before he ended his drought with his recently released album “The Last Ship.”

In the liner notes he freely admits that he worried that he had lost the spark to compose. While there are no songs here that will become universal anthems such as “Roxanne” and “Every Breath You Take” from his days as the lead singer of the Police, nor “If You Love Someone, Set Them Free” and “Fields Of Gold” from his solo career, “The Last Ship” is a solid work.

Gordon Sumner, Sting’s birth name, grew up in Tynesdale, an English shipbuilding town that would be comparable to our Norfolk, Virginia. A couple of years ago, to celebrate his 60th birthday, Sting returned to his hometown to look up old friends and reminisce. As the album title indicates, Tynesdale underwent a rough transition as the shipbuilding business slowed down. “Dead Man’s Boots,” the fun pub drinking tune, “What Have We Got?” and of course the title cut which opens the album, pay tribute to a dying manufacturing business where men received good wages for an honest day’s work.

Sting has always viewed romance in a somewhat jaded manner and he continues to do so now that he is 62. “Practical Arrangement” is his answer to Tina Turner’s “What’s Love Got To Do With It” as he coolly discusses how an older man tries to woo a single mom by saying that he will be happy to provide for her and her child if she agrees to marry him realizing that he will never be able to sweep her off her feet.

It isn’t all downer material however. “And Yet” is a beautiful upbeat samba while “The Night The Pugilist Learned How To Dance” recalls a girl that he had a crush on in high school.

Hopefully we won’t have to wait another ten years until we hear from Sting again.