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47
4.4 out of 5 stars
Brand New Day
Format: Audio CDChange
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Sting's sixth studio CD is a big improvement on "Mercury Falling". The arrival of Kipper on the production side means this is certainly one of the best-produced albums in terms of its mix.

"After the Rain Has Fallen" has a standard rock chorus; but "Perfect Love Gone Wrong" has a female rap that interferes with the gentle jazz flow. "Fill Her Up" is a country & western/gospel hybrid that leaves me cold.

Far better is the philosophical love declared in the assured and well-written opening track, "A Thousand Years": "I may have lived a thousand lives, a thousand times | An endless turning stairway climbs | To a tower of souls". The electronic opening immediately declares this album to be different from all other previous ones. And in "Big Lie Small World" strings add depth to the imaginative lyrics, although these can be naively contorted in places. The track has a cool jazz feel, a trumpet floating free above the electronic beat. "Tomorrow We'll See" also has strings - and a clarinet - in the mix. Its persistent bass presages danger and add to the force of the nocturnal lyrics: "They have the money I have the time | Being pretty's my only crime". Good lyrics also appear together with a classical guitar in "Ghost Story", a ballad where a man comes to terms with his emotional past: "And now I'm thinking | That this indifference | Was my invention | When everything I did | Sought your attention". Shame about the lack of a proper climax.

The highlights of this album, which is full of songs about stresses in relationships - should we read anything into this? - are "Desert Rose" and the final title-track. Like "Mad About You" on the "Soul Cages" album, "Desert Rose" has through its percussion, Arabic voice, and string arrangement a middle-eastern feel. Well-arranged and produced, layers are added to a building crescendo that ends, alas, all too early. Stevie Wonder on his harmonica accompanies the ending rocker "Brand New Day". The lyrics again stand out as well-constructed (although the likes of "You're the tunnel, I'm the train" can only produce groans). Like a Bruckner symphony, the whole song and CD ends with a riff from the opening track, "A Thousand Years".

And so we hit the `repeat' button to go round willingly again.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 2 August 2006
On the sleeve of 'Brand New Day',Sting stands poised to spring from a lift and whisk a bewteeful laydee away to paradise (out of shot he's probably sat on a white horse).Digitally piped through hi-fi speakers perhaps he's listening to his own back catalogue? It's easy to laugh at Sting for being an ego on a stick. He is an ex-English teacher after all, and one suspects a 'recovering catholic'(?),so it should be easy to forgive the pseudo-literary,Carl Jungy ,Tantric sex thing. The following is also true; even if he didn't have one of the most compelling voices in contemporary music (which he does)and hadn't written a handful of songs that stand comparison with the very best (which he has)he would still be amongst a handful of truly world class bass players. His lines are always coolly elegant, and precisely what the song requires, eschewing obvious technical display. 'Brand New Day' isn't Stings best album, there are songs here that could be dispensed with, without the record losing anything substantial, as I think, this is probably true of all his solo output, which puts them outside the remit for truly great records (The Police managed this with monotonous regularity - imagine taking anything off 'Outlandos d'Amour' without leaving it seriously diminished?)Alot of 'Brand New Day' is just bland, and one gets the feeling that his forays into unfamiliar musical genres, overstretch even his prodigious talents. Play 'Fill Her Up' next to something by Steve Earle at his 'trailer trash' best and it just sounds stupid. Rythming weasel with diesel- an ex-English teacher! An earlier reviewer called Sting an 'informed' rather than an 'inspired' musician. He's informed alright, but to say he's never inspired is just plain wrong. Try this;take your car onto a deserted motorway. It's 3.00am and pouring with rain. Drive the car fast, (that's 70mph -probably)and play 'Desert Rose' very, very, very loud (Cheb Mami has the voice of an Angel).If you don't get a bang from that, and can't feel the word 'inspired' hanging somewhere in the ether,you're probably dead, and shouldn't be out on such a p*** poor night.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 10 February 2010
I have had this album for over a year, and never bothered to review it. It's fantastic, but when a product already has a lot of reviews, I tend not to bother.

But reading through them again, I am baffled that nobody has counted Ghost Story among one of the album's best songs. It is easily up there with the common "pick of the bunch" choice Desert Rose. Lyrically, Ghost Story is probably the best on the album. I suspect it is overlooked because it is so minimalist and simple in it's structure. But it was the biggest grower for me and has been my favourite Sting song for some time.

A Thousand Years is another of the album's highlights; a somewhat haunting track that doesn't "go anywhere" as such, but is all the better for it.

A few people talk about Desert Rose as being the perfect motorway song; I quite agree, although I sometimes feel its a song that Sting could've pushed to another level. In it's current form it's fantastic, but the chorus seems to come too early. Sometimes the best songs are the ones where you have to wait a while for the brilliant chorus to come. Maybe I'm just being pernickety.

Either way, Brand New Day is a superb album that encompasses a broad range of genres and styles. It's an album where all the songs seem to sound totally dissimilar, and for that reason it's quite uniquely brilliant.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 16 February 2000
This album is the first one of Sting I've ever bought. The more I play it the more I love it. The whole album was worth buying for the first two tracks alone. There are a couple on there that I skip, but on the whole, it is very good, and varied. It's never out of my CD player! I sent the words of 'A Thousand Years' to my boyfriend. He was knocked out by the words!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 13 April 2001
if you like to bomb down the motorway at wheeeee miles per hour listen to this album. I found it very uplifting, in fact I looked forward to going to work so I could listen to it one more time. The lyrics were excellent and tunes unusual mix of East and West...desert rain..my favourite. Listen and see! You can tell I'm no reviewer of music but I feel strongly for this music.
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on 19 January 2000
Sting's last album, Mercury Falling, was good inparts, and bad inparts, and certainly not up to the stupidly high standards of Ten Summoners Tales. The eponymous single of Brand New Day is great, infact its brilliant, and so I was really looking forward to getting this album and it did not disappoint. It is great and a definate return to form, with Brand New Day, Desert Rose, and A Thousand Years the standout tracks for me. Desert Rose especially is a beautiful song and the collaboration with that man was a great idea. Pretensious? Well perhaps a bit, but hell who cares! This album deserves to be selling a lot more copies than it has been and I hope that Sting's next offering is as good as this.
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on 28 February 2000
When i first heard "Desert Rose" i was knocked out by the haunting qualities of Cheb Mami's exquisite voice. The skill with which this is blended into sting's characteristic base lines is no surprise to a long time fan. i've known he was a genius since "Roxanne" but, as ever, he has excelled himself again. It came as some surprise to hear Sting singing of the life of a working woman, "Tomorrow we'll see", but the beautiful lyric - "...and no, its just not in my plan, for someone to care who i am", brought tears. I wonder how many others that holds true for. This is Sting at his unsurpassable best, and yet i'll bet he does, with whatever comes next.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 1 October 2000
When I first heard 'Thousand Years' a shiver ran down my spine and I was completely captured by it. Sting has excelled himself again in this album which I believe it to be one of his best albums yet.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 26 October 1999
This cd takes some getting used to as there are no stand out hits. But the musicianship overall is A+ as expected. He could often do with a little more vocal power and less filler music.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 3 May 2000
When my wife bought me this CD for Christmas I knew I was laying my hands on a piece of art, but never imagined I was in possession of a piece of musical history. From 'Thousand Years' to 'Brand New Day' the whole album takes you by your hand and leads you through a maze of unstoppable experimentation. Here you will hear of eternal love, 'Thousand Years', of magic dreams, 'Desert Rose', of comic self-deception, 'Big Lie, Small World', of self-determination, 'Tomorrow We'll See', of optimism, 'Brand New Day'. On the whole the CD is Sting at his finest, completely at ease (look at the cover and you'll know why) and in full control of what he wants to do. Here's a man who doesn't release singles or albums every year, and yet, he never gets old. Or does he? If ageing implies quality, like wine, definitely Sting must be pushing his 80s. There's even time for a bit of lighhearted, makes-you-feel-good folly like 'Fill Her Up'. It makes you wonder whether you should have done THAT for THAT person on THAT occasion. Sting is an artist who, fortunately, cannot be classified. Is it rock? Is it pop? Is it jazz? IT IS MUSIC. And I'm sure that we're all grateful to him for that.
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