I have not kept up with Sting’s discography over the past 23 years. The last album of his I listened to was 1999’s Brand New Day, a triple Platinum hit in the U.S. that capped off a run of six excellent solo albums.
I never found time for the follow-up, 2003’s Sacred Love, which managed to go Platinum despite not producing a hit. After that came a grab bag of novelty releases, including two collections of alternate releases of his own material, a Christmas album, and an album heavily featuring a lute.
He did sneak in a traditional rock album somewhere, but I missed that. I would have missed The Bridge, too, if I hadn’t seen a giant ad for it on a big screen in Target.
I gave this one a quick spin and it struck a nostalgic nerve. At 70, Sting sounds as good as ever, and he’s tapping into the same sultry jazz rock vibe on these songs that made his early work so rich.
I don’t know if I’ll ever listen to The Bridge again, but I’m glad I stumbled into it.
To wash the dirt from my throat
I’ve been wandering my whole life out there
Help me out of my coat
This water’s as clear as crystal
We should thank the Lord for that
Sit you down and hear my story
Find somewhere for my hat
A barkeep takes a stranger’s hat
And finds a vacant hook
Turns back towards the traveller
His right hand on an old black book
The holy Book of Numbers
I take it’s something that you’ve read?
The long search in the wilderness
For a place to lay my head
So many parables in the scriptures
But this one I’m doomed to tell
For I stormed the gates of Heaven
To find myself in Hell
This is my lonely mission
To wake the world up to its fate
To dismantle my own invention
For the hour is getting late
This holy Book of Numbers
As we walk through the shadow of death
Tell me, are you listening, boy
Or am I just wasting my breath?
There are fools in the courts of power
While I’ve walked through this vale of bitter tears
At the mercy of recording angels
For three score and twenty-five years
The barkeep gets up from the table
To fill up another glass
He turns around to find an empty chair
All that’s left is the name in his hat