Sting has always prided himself as an artist constantly looking forward. But on his next album he looks back — in order to bring his music forward.
My Songs, due out May 24, finds Sting revisiting 15 of his Police and solo favorites, revising and reimagining them to varying degrees – but in almost all cases updating sonics, dynamics and arrangements based on the way the songs have evolved for him over the years.
My Songs, recorded in various locations, makes use of both existing and newly recorded tracks, with members of Sting’s touring band (guitarist Dominic Miller and his son Rufus, drummer Josh Freese) and of the Last Bandoleros and Sting’s manager Martin Kierszenbaum – who also produced tracks with Dave Aude and Jerry Fuentes – joining Sting on the latter.
The Police’s “So Lonely,” for instance, has a slightly twangier guitar tone and an end vamp that draws from live performances of the song both with the band and on his own. The orchestrations on “Desert Rose” are a bit more up front, while “Message in a Bottle” features an extended outro that builds to a powerful vocal crescendo, and “Walking on the Moon” ends with a more pronounced call-and-response arrangement. His refreshed take of “Shape of My Heart,” meanwhile, is included as a nod to Juice WRLD’s sampling it for his hit “Lucid Dreams.” And of particular note is “If You Love Somebody Set Them Free,” a bold, banging 4×4 take that makes the jazz-pop original sound like a timid puppy trying to keep up with a wolf pack.
The My Songs project was inspired by an invitation to perform “Brand New Day” – which Sting wrote for the millennium – in Times Square this past New Year’s Eve. “It’s a hopeful song about turning over a new leaf and starting again,” Sting says, “so we did an updated version of that, again, taking off some filters and using a different bass drum sound, and it just sounded very contemporary and it ended up on Spotify, next to Ariana Grande. So I thought, ‘Yeah, that works. Let’s keep doing that.’ So we worked on ‘Desert Rose’ and sent it to the record company and said, ‘We think it’s a hit again.’ We’re just having fun, which is good. If it wasn’t fun, I couldn’t do it.”
The track list for My Songs includes:
1. Brand New Day
2. Desert Rose
3. If You Love Somebody Set Them Free
4. Every Breath You Take
5. Demolition Man
6. Can’t Stand Losing You
7. Fields of Gold
8. So Lonely
9. Shape of My Heart
10. Message in a Bottle
12. Walking on the Moon
13. Englishman in New York
14. If I Ever Lose My Faith in You=
15. Roxanne” (Live)
Deluxe Edition bonus tracks:
16. Synchronicity II (Live)
17. Next To You (Live)
18. Spirits In The Material World (Live)
19. Fragile (Live)