Sting released five awesome albums of rock, reggae, and pop with his band The Police between 1978 and 1983. He went on to release six equally great solo discs, adding jazz to his repertoire starting with 1985’s The Dream of the Blue Turtles and culminating with 1999’s Brand New Day. The six albums since then suggested to me that his best music days were behind him. That’s not an insult. How many artists produce 11 albums of memorable songs? It just seemed his muse had left him and that he’d fade away into nostalgia like Billy Joel, Elton John, Fleetwood Mac, and countless other similar acts from the 70s and 80s that still tour but gave up creating new material or just churn out albums that pale in comparison to their heyday.
44/876 has changed my mind. Sting isn’t done. While I’d have never guessed Shaggy would become his new muse, the duo works. This collection of reggae-infused pop is fresh, radio-friendly, and a welcome return to the spotlight for the now-66-year-old singer/songwriter/musician. The first single “Don’t Make Me Wait” is one of those earworms that will prompt a head-bopping smile for years to come but the album boasts other standouts including “Morning is Coming”, “Crooked Tree”, and “Sad Trombone” as well.
If you like Sting’s older material such as “Roxanne”, “When the World is Running Down, You Make the Best of What’s Still Around”, and “Love is the Seventh Wave”, I think you’ll enjoy this album.