arrives over four years on from Brand New Day
and demonstrates that Sting--an artist often criticised for serving up slick yet soulless coffee-table precision--is now positively galvanised by soul. Symptomatic of an uncharacteristically intimate co-production job (courtesy of the man himself and Kipper), there's a degree of inclusive warmth here that's occasionally been lacking in his post-Police
work. From the busy, insistent verbosity of spiralling opener "Inside", through "Whenever I Say Your Name"--a gospel-tinged, call-and-response collaboration with class-drenched Mary J Blige
--and on to the sweeping Iberian soundscapes of "Send Your Love", Sacred Love
compounds Sting's reputation as an authoritative singer-songwriter of incredibly broad stylistic scope.
Elsewhere, "This War" kicks along in a reasonable approximation of rock, "The Book of My Life" strokes its spiritual chin as Anoushka Shankar noodles dexterously upon an atmospheric sitar, and "Stolen Car" stretches credence to beyond reasonable limits as superannuated Sting tries on a little joy-riding for size. So there it is: a Sting album with everything, including moments of unexpectedly spectacular 5.1 Surround Sound, a clumsily unfortunate dance mix and a little bit of soul. --Ian Fortnam
CD AAndM,986 053-5 , 2003 13 Track