Sting is a musical icon of mine. That being stated, it pains me to recognize that his solo work is a largely uneven affair ranging from the sublime to the outright dreadful. The first couple of albums were full of fire and conviction. Listen to those albums and Sting sounds like he's singing for his life.
Soul Cages (studio album number 3) brought gems like "All This Time" and "Why Should I Cry for You?" and others, but overall it was a mess. Something was amiss. Ten Summoner's Tales followed and with it redemption. The old Sting, the one who write such gorgeous, heart-felt songs, was back from his slumber.
What followed was, as they say on VH1, "Then it all went horribly wrong."
The muse seemed to have walked out the door with the next three albums. Mercury Falling fell,Brand New Day scraped the bottom and Sacred Love finally came to a complete rest. After this, Sting had a long bout with writer's block. Coincidence or was his muse trying to tell him something?
Sting, a very educated and often articulate man, often spouts nonsense a la Nigel Tufnel. When the reviews for Soul Cages came out, he said, "This latest album has got the best reviews I've ever had - and the worst. There's a polarity about them which is quite extraordinary and, I suppose, in a way, confirming."
Perhaps others were sensing that the music being served up was "less than" and the muse finally gave up on Sting.
Regarding the musical, only Sting could say something like this: “I was writing songs for other characters than me, other sensibilities than mine, a different viewpoint,” he continued. “And so all of that pent-up stuff, all of those crafts I’d developed as a songwriter, I was suddenly free to explore without much thinking, actually. It just kind of came out as a kind of Tourette’s, a kind of projectile vomiting. It just came out, very quickly.”
I just bet it's like that. We'll see.