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Sting like a bee on ’57th and 9th’

Album artwork courtesy Interscope records.

Album artwork courtesy Interscope records.

By Michael Gorman

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With his first rock album in 13 years, Sting jumped right back in the crossroads of rock n’ roll with “57th and 9th.” The title is a reference to the intersection in New York City that Sting crossed every day to get to the studio where much of the album was recorded.

The whole album is clean rock and roll, as Sting effortlessly flows through each track with flourish and finesse, especially on “I Can’t Stop Thinking About You.” It’s a song that reminds The Police fans of the band’s prime. Masked as a love song, in an interview with AOL, Sting revealed the true meaning behind the song is the obsession a writer can face in trying to create his art.

The first half of the album carries a rejuvenating feel; unfortunately, many of those same songs also have live versions added at the end of the album that take away from the fresh, energetic feeling created in their studio counterparts.

“50,000” is the best song on the album, and was written the week Prince died. It’s dedicated to all of the artists who have died recently. Sting questions mortality as such icons are taken away. “Rock Stars don’t ever die, they only fade away,” Sting sings in a brooding, philosophical tone. Sting does well to create a somber mood on this song, and it’s a powerful tribute to the fallen artists.

“The Empty Chair” doesn’t quite fit in with the rest of the album. The meaning is sound, as it was a song originally created for a documentary about James Foley, the American photojournalist who was gruesomely executed in Syria. Sting switches to the acoustic guitar and employs a dark whisper for the song. Both changes don’t work out.

While the album is one of Sting’s stronger efforts in over a decade, due to the quality of each track and his return to his roots, it was nothing groundbreaking.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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Sting like a bee on ’57th and 9th’