Most helpful positive review
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Though it isn't a warm fuzzy, it's still great
on September 8, 2000
Mercury Falling seems to receive a bad rap often times among critics, who can't seem to forgive Sting for venturing into the realm of (gasp!): melancholy themes. It's true. It's much more grey and dismal than his previous albums, and it's as if people can't stand the thought of introverted song material.
This album is easily compared to Both Sides, the 1993 release from Phil Collins. Though popular, this album did not receive the publicity and appeal that its predecessors did -- due to Collins' introverted and often sad music. However, if you talk to a die-hard Collins fan, he/she will tell you that it's his best, deepest work.
The same can be said for Mercury Falling. A common thread throughout the album is Sting's depression and problems with love. So what? So it's not all "happy happy prancing flowers." Sting's terrific songwriting talent is brought out wonderfully in these somber pieces, namely "Let Your Soul Be Your Pilot," "Valparaiso," (which features violins)and "You Still Touch Me." The lyrics alone to the beautiful sailor song "Valparaiso" are enough to give the album a thumb's up. Sting, as usual, displays genre-hopping, most namely with the gospel-esque "Let Your Soul..." and the country-tinted "I'm So Happy I Can't Stop Crying."
Sting's odd metering tastes are most noted in "I Was Brought To My Senses," which also showcases terrifically, practically unwritable rhythms. "I Hung My Head," is the album's "story song," and tells of a man sentenced to die for murder. Sting's strange, but catchy melody for the song -- one might call it simplistic and unfitting -- makes the song even more realistic due to the character's simple education and existence in what seems to be the old west. The song explores the non-existent motive of the murder, and, in general, a very dark side of human nature and its suppressed desires. Truly one of the album's standouts.
This album is simply incredible. The ending piece, "Lithium Sunset," is a fantastic plea for change and life, which features a great harmonica solo, in keeping with the odd instrumentalization of the album. Mercury Falling is simply great. It is a venture away from pop music and into ambient music from deep inside the human heart. I strongly recommend it. Or, I suppose you could go back to your comfortable, warm fuzzy pop music...but would you have explored anything if you did that?