It's been over 40 years since I first heard The Police blasting from my AM radio. Their music was different from the top 40 hits at that time (REO Speedwagon, Pat Benetar). It was pop music but with an edge. It was the "New Wave". Sting was creating sounds and rhythms influenced by Bob Marley, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Cream, Miles Davis and Joni Mitchell, but with attitude. I've been a fan ever since.
During lockdown, while writing The Bridge, his 15th solo album , he found himself, like many of us, wondering about the future of our health, our society and our relationships. Born with a strong work ethic like the men and women of the shipbuilding yards of Newcastle, England, Sting considers what he does as his 'job'. He's a labourer of sorts. But he's always performing a labour of love. For this project he found himself isolated in his home recording studio and following his daily morning swim he would go into the studio every single day and not leave until later that night. He said recently, "I've been travelliing the world for years, so the idea of being in one place for a few months, in the same bed, was strange to me. So I had to get used to it and if I'm ever stuck in one place, I sit with my guitar and escape into my head". What rose to the surface from his subconscious were ten original songs about love ("If It's Love", "Loving You', 'For Her Love') haunted hills ("The Hills On The Border"), the atomic bomb ("The Book Of Numbers"), church bells ("The Bells Of St. Thomas") and a mystical bridge. "Rushing Water" opens up the album with something that could have been a demo from The Police mega hit album, Synchronicity. He's known for writing crafted pop hits like this one, which is tightly constructed within 3:17 and uses alternate rhyme in its lyrics
"This is the sound of rushing water, flooding through my brain,
This is the sound of God's own daughter, calling out your name"
His poetic lyrics reflect what we are all feeling. He explains that the bridge "is a useful metaphor at this time. We are all in state of transition, a state of anxiety, between worlds, between safety and non-safety. We are all looking to cross a bridge somewhere where we can feel happier and feel safer." This album makes me feel like I have been on a journey and have returned happy and safe. Well done, Gordon Sumner.