Sting: 25 Years

Even if Sting never went solo, his place in the rock 'n' roll Hall of Fame was secure thanks to the glorious way he mixed punk, reggae, and pop with the Police. When the trio was at its musical and in-fighting peak, he disbanded it and began an illustrious solo career that first explored his jazz roots and gradually morphed into a richly produced blend of power pop that saw him re-invented with each offering. This 25-year retrospective, curated by Sting himself, comes in two formats: the three-CD/one-DVD version that includes 45 remastered tracks and the previously unreleased Rough, Raw & Unreleased live concert at New York's Irving Plaza, and a single, 12-track CD (The Best of 25 Years) that includes a live version of "Message in a Bottle" and two other tracks from the DVD. The remastering further enhances the quality of what were already strong-sounding originals (the marching snare in "They Dance Alone," for example, is now even more chilling). My advice: get the big box (which spans from 1985's The Dream Of The Blue Turtles to 2010's Live in Berlin) and pay respects to a man who sings like no one else and who, despite his late VH1 persona, always knew how to write damn good songs.

★★★★ (out of 5 stars)


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