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Sting - ...Nothing Like the Sun Print E-mail
Tuesday, 10 April 2001
ImageNothing Like The Sun is what a big-budget pop record should be. Highlighting the major star talent of Sting, Nothing Like The Sun also features an A-list producer and "studio" musicians who include Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler, Manu Katche’, Branford Marsalis, Andy Summers and more to create a pop record that musically will pass the test of time.

You'll need a 5.1 surround sound processor and 5.1 speakers in your system to fully enjoy the disc, but what good reader doesn’t have at least a happening 5.1 surround system at this point?

Nothing Like The Sun is a pleasant mix of upbeat pop hits along with thought-provoking political statements. Compared to Sting’s more recent work, much of which has been remastered to 5.1 DTS CDs (read reviews of Sting’s Brand New Day and Ten Summoner’s Tales, as well as The Police: Every Breath You Take - Greatest Hits in 5.1), Nothing Like The Sun is less personal and more political.

Starting out with "The Lazarus Heart," a tune written with inspiration coming from a vivid nightmare, it highlights a widespread surround mix of a record that I am very familiar with in its stereo version. Guitars, keyboards and subtle cymbals build in intensity all around you as the tune starts, with a singsong melody seemingly coming from a synth. I knew that I would need to listen to the stereo-remastered Mobile Fidelity version of the record a few more times during the course of writing this review, yet I knew it was soon to be up for sale on
I don’t remember if "Englishman in New York" was a certified hit at the time of its release, but it is one of tunes that over time has held up best for me. The song was written for a friend of Sting’s who had moved to New York from London and joked that he had hoped that he would soon receive his naturalization papers so that he could (actually) commit a crime and not be deported. "Something glamorous, non-violent, with a dash of style," Sting’s friend noted. "Crime is so rarely glamorous these days" sarcastically sums up the difference between London and New York culture. The open sound of the tune highlights a call and response relationship between Sting’s distinctly English vocals and Branford Marsalis’ smooth sax.

"We’ll Be Together" was the big radio hit from the record, which will likely sound familiar to you. The 5.1 mix is far more interesting than the stereo version or what you remember about the audio quality from the radio. With that said, it was my least favorite mix in 5.1. I think the more crowded nature of the tune and the compressed drum sound ended up making this cut far more cluttered than most of the other songs on the record. The bass on the 5.1 DTS version is far superior to that of the MFSL remastered CD.

At the time of Nothing Like The Sun, Sting was sometimes criticized for being overly political. Sting reports in the liner notes that tell the stories of most of the songs that, while on the 1986 Amnesty International tour, he had learned of the thousands of people who had at the time "disappeared" in Chile as victims of the police, murder squads and national army. Their survivors eloquently protested the injustice by performing the "Cueca Solo," in which the performers dance with photos affixed to their clothing, giving inspiration for the song "They Dance Along (Cueca Solo)." With a developing bossa nova groove and an optimistic vibe, the tune is a touching illustration of a previously little-known political situation that Sting, with his media clout, brought to public attention.

Sting ventures into treacherous musical waters by taking on a cover of the timeless Jimi Hendrix tune, "Little Wing." With longtime idol Gil Evans and his orchestra, Sting belts out the touching lines of one of rock’s greatest ballads. The guitar solo is jazzy and lengthy, not a Jimi rip-off, but also not groundbreaking. The overall sound of the tune has a more jazz-like, synthed-out feel than many of Sting’s original songs. Musically, the cover works to this day but the arrangement didn’t have the same power for me this time around.

Because a good part of the content of Nothing Like The Sun is inspired by time-specific political and social topics, the record can sound somewhat dated. If you can put that aside, Nothing Like The Sun sounds far better today than it did back in the day. I have listened to this record on each and every good music system that I have ever owned and it has never sounded even close to as good as it does on this DTS disc. Whether you are already set up with DVD-Audio or you just have a 5.1 system that can play a DTS movie or CD in 5.1, this record is a worthwhile investment.

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