Mercury Falling (CD) Sting
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Mercury Falling (CD) Sting

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Many would say Sting's barb isn't as sharp as it was when he and his original band, the Police, first collared ts audience. Yet on his latest solo album, 'Mercury Falling', the man continues his life-long musical experiment of weaving world beat rhythms and instrumentation with the basics of rock, jazz and pop. This new 10-song disc is an extension of Sting's '93 turnaround album, 'Ten Summoner's Tales'. Unlike his very early solo work, which was as annoying as Amazon rain forest mosquitoes because of preachy politics, 'Summoner' and now 'Mercury Falling' wrestle with life one day, one joy, one problem at a time. Mercury Falling' has a lean, aggressive sound that shamelessly borrows from any style that stung Sting. There are elements of traditional Celtic arrangements, jazz, country and even R&B. It's just a guess, but since Sting is a gifted bassist, you'd assume he writes music from the rhythm tracks rather than usual chord patterns. That would explain how he gives power to many of the songs on 'Mercury' and how he is able to make the mood of the music so clear, so quickly. For instance, 'All Four Seasons', sets itself up with the syncopated heel-click strut. Even though Sting sings "the girl is all four seasons to me," the song is breezy and pure spring. In sharp contrast is "I Hung My Head", which has a weird tempo that makes the intense, almost country song about an accidental death edgier. Musically this album is pleasant and melody-oriented enough that it can be used as background for a gathering, but 'Mercury' is best when it can be listened to with focused attention. Then the literate lyrics, which are as simple and complex as a Robert Frost poem, are able to tell their story. As always, Sting's voice is terrific, the songs are sturdy and the musicianship superb. 'Mercury Falling; makes a convincing argument that 'Summoner' wasn't a fluke. As Sting gets older he's become more ambitious and more fluent in his attempt to make music a universal language.