Saturday, November 5, 2016

The Soul Cages (1991), by Sting

CD Retro Fan Review

While reevaluating all of Sting’s original studio albums in the run-up to his new release, 57th and 9th (November 11), I was amazed to rediscover the brilliance of his third solo album from a quarter century ago, The Soul Cages.

His first and second records, The Dream of the Blue Turtles and Nothing Like the Sun, have always held special places in my heart, especially since they came out when I was in middle school and high school, respectively.

But I had forgotten what an amazing and incredible album The Soul Cages is, with its pensive, brooding, and dark elegance and eloquence.

The title is no happenstance coincidence, as the record is the most personal and soul-searching of Sting’s post-Police works. It is also his most rocking album (when it rocks), with outstanding musicianship from his band, including Dominic Miller at his best in his first outing as Sting’s go-to guitarist.

In terms of thematic concepts and sonic style, The Soul Cages, which represents what a sixth original Police studio album might very well have sounded like, is without a doubt Sting’s unparalleled solo masterpiece.

As an intriguing afterthought, the three solo Police albums that are the most similar in terms of sound and feel are The Equalizer & Other Cliffhangers (1988) by Stewart Copeland, The Golden Wire (1989) by Andy Summers, and The Soul Cages (1991) by Sting.

--Raj Manoharan

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