On his eighth studio solo album, Sting has chosen to explore
Sacred Love. Unfortunately, he has little to say. The new EP
is filled with gushy lyrics and overbearing arrangements that sound
flat and uninspired. The majority of the tracks play like filler,
and the few intelligent tracks are not enough to carry the
Sacred opens with “Inside,” a catchy acoustic,
guitar-driven contemplation on love. Sting sings, “Inside the doors
are sealed to love,” and what follows is a discourse on the need to
open these “doors.” “Inside” is actually quite successful with
Sting’s powerful vocal buildup and ominous harmonies, but this
proves the highlight of the album, as the following track (and
subsequently the album’s single) “Send Your Love” is a cheesy drum
machine synthesizer-induced dance failure. The Middle Eastern motif
and lyrics that include “There’s no religion but sex and music” do
nothing but add to the song’s annoyance. The song’s possible
savior, the flamenco guitar of Vicente Amigo, gets lost in
Making Sacred Love even worse, the B-list guests are
continuously misused throughout on tracks such as the lackluster
“The Book Of My Life,” featuring sitarist Anoushka Shankar, and the
dry “Let’s Forget About the Future,” with trumpeter Chris Botti and
bassist Christian McBride. Other disappointments include the
harmonically lacking “Dead Man’s Rope,” “This War” (which concludes
“Make it easy on yourself / And don’t do anything”) and the overly
climactic “Never Coming Home.”
The album’s shortcomings aside, there are two tracks besides
“Inside” that do reinforce Sting’s artistry: the powerful Mary J.
Blige duet “Whenever I Say Your Name,” and “Sacred Love” a funky
blues number that succeeds if we overlook the pretentious biblical
Regardless of the album’s quality, Sacred Love is still
above average. A world tour coupled with numerous charitable
actions will ensure we hear plenty of Sacred Love in years to come.
No worries, Sting is here to stay, for better or worse.
Rating: 2 stars.