Daily Song Study

Sting – Mad About You

In songs on June 29, 2011 at 7:32 pm

One of the oddest songwriters ever to emerge into stardom is one Gordon Sumner, aka Sting. Here is a man who started out playing jazz-rock, then got drafted into The Police, a band that played reggae-infused punk sung with a Jamaican accent (despite the fact that Sting was English), which then became one of the biggest mainstream pop groups of all time. He has followed that feat with two and a half decades of albums that swerve wildly from classical to celtic to jazz to country to synth-pop and all manner of other hybrids, even bringing far-out time signatures onto the radio, something that doesn’t often happen. That range tends to alienate people, who pick one style of his and decide the rest is crap. I’m one of the stalwarts, although I can’t say I like everything the man’s ever done.

However, I will say that for me, his one unmitigated success was a pseudo-concept album, The Soul Cages, released in 1991. The story comes & goes during the cycle, but the imagery of the lyrics throughout is consistently striking, seldom more so than in today’s track. Take this verse:

They say a city in the desert lies
The vanity of an ancient king
The city lies in broken pieces
Where the wind blows and the vultures sing
These are the works of man
This is the sum of our ambition
It would make a prison of my life
If you became another’s wife
With every prison blown to dust
My enemies walk free
I’m mad about you

 

Combine that with the exotic arrangement, and it brings the listener right into the world created by the author, the goal of every good writer.

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  1. My favorites are his first 2 solo albums. His jazz hyrbid thing. I discovered Bring On The Night, a foreign issued live concert album which led me to the actual albums. I LOVED them, but especially Bring On The Night. Used to listen to it walking home from high school and various high school activities i was doing at the time (music and theater. What a surprise)

    Soul Cages was the last of his albums i loved, although i did enjoy 10 Summoner’s Tales. I just didn’t… love it. After that i veer off and lose track.

  2. Mercury Falling was the last one I got much out of. Three or four really great songs on there, and then some not-bad ones. I’ve got an old VHS of Bring On The Night, it’s a good video. In the offstage bits, it kind of shows you both the endearing and dickish sides of the man.

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