Happy Birthday Mr Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner!
1985 had me in a totally unfamiliar life circumstance. Same same for what was probably my favorite band at the time, who were unofficially disbanded. The Dream Of The Blue Turtles was Sting’s first solo outing. The lead single from the record, If You Love Somebody Set Them Free, wasn’t cool Police like at all… it was more finger wrapped ballad than I would have liked. But, I was confident enough in Sting’s abilities that I popped for the new record when it was initially released.
There are sprinklings of the Police across some songs, some lyrics are lifted straight out of the Police catalog, some things that could have easily replaced Murder By Numbers or Tea In The Sahara on the Synchronicity record… but the gem is the great pseudo-jazz fusion remake of Shadows In The Rain.
If sting occasionally pushed the Police toward some jazzy horizon, here his ideas were given the full Marsalis treatment.
What really struck me about this record then were the dark songs. The single Russians was a observation of Cold War politics, The Black Seam about the struggles of workers in a coal mine, but especially the song The Children’s Crusade which draws a comparison between World War I soldiers being marched off for cannon fodder and present day youth being sacrificed to heroin.
What I can hear today is a pop star, stretching out, getting jostled around by his new rhythm section (made up of Weather Report/Miles Davis and Marsalis Band alum) and seemingly having a blast!
I think this record holds up well 30 years on.