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Sacred Love Hybrid SACD - DSD

3.6 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Hybrid SACD - DSD, September 30, 2003
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

'Sacred Love' is the ninth album from Sting and his first in four years since the successful 1999 album 'Brand New Day'. The album is a mix of world music inspired adult pop rock and features a guest appearance from soul diva Mary J. Bligeon the track 'Whenever I Say Your Name'. The single 'Send My Love' is also included.

Sting explores his shiny, happy side on Sacred Love, adding playful touches of techno to his smooth, vaguely multi-cultural pop sound. Like 1999's Brand New Day, Love sounds effortless and content, with expert musicians backing up Sting's gauzy revelations about love and life. The former Police frontman shakes things up here and there; DJ/producers like BT and Victor Calderone breathe life into tracks like "Never Coming Home" and "Send Your Love," while Mary J. Blige puts her smoky vocals to work on "Whenever I Say Your Name." "This War" takes a not-so-subtle shot at George W. Bush, as Sting gives his left-leaning fan base a thrill with lyrics like "Your daddy was a businessman/ and it always made good sense/ You know the war can make you rich my friend/ In dollars, pounds, and cents." Of course, Sting long ago cashed in his rebel cachet for adult contemporary oblivion. But even though this music is designed for broad appeal, it does so with the natural, unforced ease of a seasoned showman. --Matthew Cooke

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. . Inside
  2. Send Your Love
  3. Whenever I Say Your Name (with Mary J. Blige)
  4. Dead Man's Rope
  5. Never Coming Home
  6. Like a Beautiful Smile
  7. Let's Forget About the Future
  8. This War
  9. The Book of My Life
  10. Sacred Love

Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 30, 2003)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Hybrid SACD - DSD
  • Label: A&M
  • ASIN: B0000AX8FK
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #22,336 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I do like the SACD mix which I find quite intelligent, expanding the already multi-layered sounds quite unusually at times. Try as I might to find another reasonable point of reference, Sting really only compares to himself - which is enormous praise for anyone these days. That said, expectations are high and you can't help noticing that there is a huge difference to the integrity, simplicity and sheer force that some of his most original work with The Police and the early solo stuff had in spades. Who cares about SACD mixes where these hoped-for essentials are lacking? I can only guess that this truly gifted musician must be listening to people telling him how wonderful he is and that at some point he must have started to believe them (well, that's kinda hard to resist). Why follow your own path if retracing your steps by producing more of what you've already done is so much easier? Originality will of course go by the wayside and the result may seem sophisticated on the surface, but will lack substance and feel a bit careless underneath. On this album, great musicians end up collaborating on nothing truly exciting or new - that is, if you take the time to compare it to some of Sting's earlier work, in relation to which I'd like to rate it 2 Stars. A bloody shame, really.
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Format: Audio CD
Astonishing, how this man reinvents himself again and again - as do we all as we move through our lives. And then he is gracious enough to share that reinvention with us. This CD is truly remarkable, and could not have been produced by anyone else, or at any other time.
What in Sting's younger years was lush, passionate, often painful self-examination has become, in adulthood, intense, austere and very direct: here I am; take me or not. For those who complain that they liked previous work better and want more of the same, I disagree. It would be as sad were Sting to 'get stuck' at any point in life's progress as it would be for any of us to do so. "Sacred Love" is not "Soul Cages" again - such a production at this time of life would be so inappropriate as to seem grotesque: the Mick Jagger syndrome. This marvelous, difficult, uncompromising CD is, rather, the definitive voice of a thoughtful, intelligent, introspective 52-year-old. We should all be growing up so gracefully.
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Format: Audio CD
First things first: I love the music and song that Sting crafts. I've been a huge fan since the late 70's when I heard The Police's "Don't Stand So Close To Me" on a flight from Mumbai to Rome on the way back to Nigeria (I was in 3rd or 4th grade).
I've followed Sting's solo career with equel vigour from the very first time I heard "If You Love Somone..." and "Love Is The Seventh Wave" on BBC shortwave in West Africa. I've seen Sting 10 times starting with Nothing Like The Sun (I came to America in 1987) through the live ..All This Time promotional tour. I met him on one occasion at Sandstone in Kansas City and was front-row center on his BND promo tour in Chicago. My favourite two albums are DotBT and Soul Cages. Hehe, that's a tough choice because there's I really love nearly everything Sting has done.
I wanted to love this CD. I really did. I even tried. But it doesn't come up as compelling as his previous material. At least not to my my humble ears. I almost hate admitting that I don't like this because it makes me feel like a disloyal Sting fan, but in the interest of being honest, there you go. I purchased the Japanese import of the SACD and have listened to it maybe two dozen times. That's not to say it's bad; there are a few tracks that I like (as opposed to all of them) and some very solid hooks in some of the songs ("Stolen Car"'s "take me dancing" chorus jumps to mind). I like "Dead Man's Rope" and "Inside" a lot. The sitar in "Book Of My Life" is damn good too, but lyrically the song itself doesn't do anything for me.
I can't put my finger on it, but the music doesn't *move* me like nearly all of his previous material has. One thought: This might be because the music heavily electronic and sounds sterile (?).
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Format: Audio CD
"Sacred Love" seems more than anything a time to try Sting fans' souls.
Sting has always been vulnerable to the charge of displaying more calculation than soul; a charge with occasional merit but usually less than suggested by the critics. Even when he seems to be showing off his (very ample) songwriting chops and production skills, there is nearly always an infectious melody and dexterous lyrics to redeem whatever excesses occasionally crop up. Intelligent pop is rare enough that other failings can be easily forgiven. And this is why Sting has such an avid fanbase, of which I count myself among the more devout. It's a shopworn phrase but many of us would buy the remix if Gordon Sumner just recorded his hairdryer.
Unfortunately "Sacred Love" seems to reinforce a trend on display over Sting's last decade or so of work. As his production values have increased and his experimentation with new genres continued apace, what often has been left behind is the arresting melodical construction that once made his reputation and his fortune. This was especially evident on "Mercury Falling" and it reemerges again on "Sacred Love" - both works with impeccable production, sophisticated and complex song structures (and of course time signatures), and thoughtful lyrics without delivering much that leaves a strong impression - while managing the curious feat of genre experimentation without real adventurousness. Ultimately it is difficult to argue with AMG's Stephen Thomas Erlewine's assessment that "Sacred Love" is "an album that puts sound over song or performance." My headline sums it up: it's got everything but great songs.
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