57th & 9th
By: Dave Leary
Producer: Martin Kierszenbaum
Much has been made of this being Sting’s first “pop/rock” album in over a decade. After writing a musical and recording in the classical and folk genres, he has at least partially returned to a rock sound.
“Petrol Head” is a driving rocker which harkens back to early Police days and Sting gives an impassioned vocal performance. The leadoff track “I Can’t Stop Thinking About You” is fun and has a good hook. “50.000” is a tribute to some of the great musicians who passed away in 2016 and a meditation on mortality. The verses almost sound like Sting was writing them on the spot but it works with some very sharp lines leading to an anthemic chorus. “One Fine Day” is about the importance of preserving the planet (even more important given who our President-elect is) but isn’t preachy about it.
There are 2 acoustic tracks, “Heading South on the Great North Road” and “The Empty Chair”. Both have lovely melodies. Another standout is “Inshallah”, about refugees traveling to Europe.
This is a very strong album and Sting is still in top form as a singer, songwriter and musician. However, this is not at all a straight forward rock album. Sting combines the different sounds he has drawn from throughout his career and made a record that can stand with his best solo work.
01. I Can’t Stop Thinking About You
03. Down, Down, Down
04. One Fine Day
05. Pretty Young Soldier
06 Petrol Head
07. Heading South on the Great North Road
08. If You Can’t Love Me
10. The Empty Chair