Album: Sting

Sacred Love, A&M

Given that Sting has become something of a national irritant, it's no suprise that Sacred Love amounts to little more than dreary background noise. The album blandly skirts a variety of styles, from soul ("Whenever I Say Your Name") and jazz ("Let's Forget about the Future") to gospel ("Sacred Love") and soft rock ("This War") without any attempt to mould them into something more interesting. The album is, as the title suggests, largely about affairs of the heart though with wider implications. Songs such as "Inside" and "This War" find Sting drawing parallels between warring nations (the album was written just prior to the war in Iraq) and warring lovers. In "Let's Forget about the Future" he compares a couple's determination to reprise old battles with squabbling United Nations countries. The lyrics comprise the usual bombastic nonsense. In the final flourish of "Inside", he implores "annihilate me, infiltrate me, incinerate me, accelerate me, humiliate me, inundate me, violate me, implicate me, devastate me" - and so on. Who would have imagined that so many words could end with "ate"? The greatest surprise arrives with a bonus track "Send Your Love", a hands-in-the-air disco number complete with vocodered vocals. Well, why not? It worked for Cher.

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