Song of the Day #4,365: ‘Shape of My Heart’ – Sting

My #4 album of 1993 is Sting’s fourth solo record, Ten Summoner’s Tales. While 1987’s …Nothing Like the Sun holds the title as my favorite Sting album, this one is right up there with it.

An Album of the Year Grammy nominee and triple Platinum seller, this album didn’t produce any runaway hits but it is Sting’s top-selling album. Singles ‘If I Ever Lose My Faith in You’ and ‘Fields of Gold’ reached #17 and #23, respectively, on Billboard’s Hot 100.

‘Fields of Gold’ and today’s SOTD are the songs I think of first when I consider this album. They both have a gentle beauty buoyed by gorgeous instrumentation — the best kind of easy listening.

The album has other surprises, though, such as the country funk of ‘Love is Stronger Than Justice,’ the playful strings of ‘Seven Days,’ or the devil’s narration in ‘St. Augustine in Hell.’ This is Sting at his most mischievous.

Ten Summoner’s Tales is the last Sting album I loved before jumping off the bandwagon. His next three releases tried to mine similar territory but with diminishing results. On this one, though, he pulled it all together beautifully.

[Verse 1]
He deals the cards as a meditation
And those he plays never suspect
He doesn’t play for the money he wins
He doesn’t play for respect
He deals the cards to find the answer
The sacred geometry of chance
The hidden law of a probable outcome
The numbers lead a dance

[Chorus]
I know that the spades are the swords of a soldier
I know that the clubs are weapons of war
I know that diamonds mean money for this art
But that’s not the shape of my heart

[Verse 2]
He may play the jack of diamonds
He may lay the queen of spades
He may conceal a king in his hand
While a memory of it fades

[Chorus]
I know that the spades are the swords of a soldier
I know that the clubs are weapons of war
I know that diamonds mean money for this art
But that’s not the shape of my heart

[Bridge]
That’s not the shape, the shape of my heart

[​​Harmonica Solo]​​

[Verse 3]
And if I told you that I loved you
You’d maybe think there’s something wrong
I’m not a man of too many faces
The mask I wear is one
But those who speak know nothing
And find out to their cost
Like those who curse their luck in too many places
And those who fear are lost

[Chorus]
I know that the spades are the swords of a soldier
I know that the clubs are weapons of war
I know that diamonds mean money for this art
But that’s not the shape of my heart

[Outro]
That’s not the shape of my heart
That’s not the shape, the shape of my heart

4 thoughts on “Song of the Day #4,365: ‘Shape of My Heart’ – Sting

  1. Amy says:

    We’ve been listening to “Fields of Gold” quite a few times on this trip through Kansas, and it never loses its effect on me. I’ve always loved the song more than the album, but you’ve reminded me of quite a few of the songs I really do enjoy.

  2. Doug Clifton says:

    Good.

    >

  3. Dana Gallup says:

    I agree with you. This is Sting’s last great album, though I haven’t really followed him much since.

  4. Peg says:

    Love this album. Need to listen to it again.

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