You think of all the classic pop/rock artists that audiences clamor for a comeback, and you never see Sting on that shortlist. I mean, sure, Sting hasn’t really disappeared from the public eye. There was the lute album, that weird sort-of Christmas album, the better-than-you’d-imagine orchestral-greatest-hits record and the no-way-in-hell-am-I-paying-that-much-for-a career-spanning box set. Also, in case you forgot, from 2007 to 2008 he reunited The Police, one of the greatest rock bands in history, for a killer world tour.
But the last time Sting wrote an album’s worth of new material, it was 2003’s Sacred Love. Which was…okay, I guess. Between the satisfying adult contemporary/world music hybrid of 2000’s Brand New Day and everything that he’s done since, it’s easy to forget that Sacred Love even happened. The New York Times reports, however, that a new album is finally afoot: Sting’s eighth solo LP, The Last Ship, is on the schedule for a September 24 release from Cherrytree/Interscope/A&M.
The Last Ship is based on the musical of the same name that Sting’s spent much of his free time working on. It’s described by the Times as “a homecoming story set against the backdrop of the decline of the shipbuilding industry in Newcastle during the 1980s.” (Rather excitingly, it sounds like a spiritual sequel to The Soul Cages, Sting’s dark, underrated 1991 album released after the death of his father.) The show, angling for a 2014 run on Broadway, has quite the pedigree: co-writers John Logan and Brian Yorkey worked on the screenplay to Skyfall and the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical Next to Normal, respectively; the show’s director is Joe Mantello, who helped make Wicked one of the biggest smashes in Broadway history.
The report has the music of The Last Ship as typical diverse Sting fare, from folk-based waltzes to jazz-funk exercises. Let’s hope it’s at least half as interesting as The Soul Cages.