STING: Brand New Day (A&M)

Sting seems to have a major case of musical schizophrenia these days. Over the course of his new CD, you'll hear bits of pop-jazz, world music, country-western, rap (in French), gospel, and his recent trademark, monotone tunes that never seem to go anywhere. While it's always good to hear artists dabbling in multiple styles, you have to wonder--does it work? In this case, the answer is no.

The ex-Police man's solo material has been hit and miss for quite some time now, and this disc is no exception. When I first heard the title track, I thought maybe he was back on track and had started writing good material again. "Brand New Day" is one of the best tunes he's written in years. It's got a catchy melody and clever lyrics to match. Stevie Wonder's harp on the song doesn't hurt things either. Unfortunately, it's also one of the few tracks here that you'll want to hear more than once. This disc isn't quite the cure for insomnia that his previous album was, but it's not a whole lot better.

© 1999 Steve Marshall

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