STING -- Mercury Falling (A&M)

One of the most anticipated releases this year is the new CD from Sting, Mercury Falling. Unfortunately, it's also one of the most disappointing. The songs are dull and boring. Sting should have called this one "Falling Asleep", or maybe "My Ability to Write Good Songs is Falling", etc. He covers a wide spectrum of musical genres on the disc, from country to gospel to rhythm & blues to jazz. The problem is that the songs have nothing to hold the listener's interest. Unless, of course, you like songs with no melody, or you need a quick cure for insomnia.

Mercury Falling starts off with the first song written for the album (and the disc's only good track), "The Hounds of Winter". From there, it goes downhill fast. "I Hung My Head" sounds like Reverend Sting is just waiting for the gospel choir to arrive. By the next song, they arrive in full force to perform on the first single, "Let Your Soul Be Your Pilot". One of the other tracks getting airplay is "All Four Seasons". This song features just about every cliched lyric ever written. By the time you get to tracks like "La Belle Dame Sans Regrets" (which bears a strong resemblance to "Sister Moon") or "Valparaiso", you're fighting to stay awake.

The problem Sting seems to be having lately is a lack of cohesive melody in his compositions. This started as far back as his second solo effort, ...Nothing But the Sun. He also seems firmly planted in the middle of the road musically, as well. According to the bio sheet, Sting asks himself three questions before starting any project. One of which is "Will anyone find what I have to say remotely useful or interesting?". At this point in his career, it looks like the answer is no.

© 1996 Steve Marshall