Sting – The Soul Cages

Like I said before I lost my password and went AWOL for a while, a curve ball.

Say what you’d like about the man himself, but in my mind Sting is brilliant, and I can honestly say without hesitation is my favorite song writer due to his diversity not only musically but thematically.
From medieval poetry put to music to a transvestite prostitute saying “don’t judge me, you could be me.” From Jazz to Country, and Dance music.

This particular review is about likely my favorite album from Sting, written about a boy named Billy from Newcastle, largely drawing parallels to himself and his own strained relationship with his father.
The Soul Cages like it’s predecessor …Nothing Like The Sun was written in a kind of self reflection following the death of a parent.
…Nothing Like the Sun was largely written about Sting’s relationships with the women in his life following the death of his mother, and was a largely moving and overall well written album.
The Soul Cages in my opinion was not only written during a period of reflection, but self realization and understanding as well as being a period of finding peace with his recently departed father whom he had struggled to communicate with throughout his life, and even into his fame with The Police, and his early solo albums.
After a somewhat alien bout with writers block, Sting wrote “Why Should I Cry For You” which is arguably one of my favorite songs.
It deals directly with the closed, distant and often hidden mutual affection, as well as a kind of resentment that was borne from that difficult relationship.
I also feel that he is more or less acknowledging the similarity between his father and himself, and perhaps reflecting on his own relationship with his children.
Following his triumph over the slump he wrote a series of songs ultimately to a theme of a young man from Newcastle, the son of a shipbuilder who had injured and died as a result of an accident on the job.
He outlines early on the kind of hopelessness he saw in the community and the dreams of both father and son that seemed and were likely ultimately doomed.
Billy eventually ends up on something of a supernatural odyssey to save and redeem his fathers soul, and in the process comes to understand himself, and gain a kind of peace with his father.

Musically while there is a large array of musical variance it is not quite as diverse as his following releases Ten Summoners Tales or Brand New Day, but is consistently good, and quite honestly does not have a weak track in the slightest.
It ranges from slow and somber storytelling, to soft but energetic rock, to somewhat jazzy but not quite to the same extent of some of his earlier work where he had a full ensemble of seasoned jazz musicians playing alongside of him.
Another thing to note is some of the hidden complexity of the music itself, particularly in the rhythm section which became a more reoccurring and more apparent feature in his music in the aforementioned following albums.
Lyrically if you can’t appreciate the quality of the storytelling or the cleaver wordage and presentation I’ve got to say I pity you a little.
There is plenty of humor, metaphorical play, and emotionality, but always presented tastefully, and almost awe-inspiring in terms of quality.

To anybody who appreciates a bit of diversity beyond metal and appreciates a bit of progressiveness without veering into virtuosity and likes a good bit of songwriting, check it out.
You might like it a lot more than you think.


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