Sting

My Songs

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They're his songs, so he can do whatever he wants with them. That seems to be the idea behind My Songs, a 2019 collection where Sting decides to revisit 15 of his most famous songs and tweak them for modern audiences. The inspiration behind the project was an updated version of "Brand New Day," which he reworked at the end of 2018 not only so it'd have a shiny new arrangement for a New Year's Eve gig, but so the track could slide between Ariana Grande hits on a playlist. Happy with the results, he turned his attention to Sting and Police songs you know by heart, re-recording a few chestnuts outright, but usually satisfying his muse by stripping away old studio effects, swapping out lead vocals, and adding instruments and vocal harmonies along with numerous other minute but discernable changes. Apart from perhaps "Demolition Man," which is now awash with Hendrixian waves of guitar, none of the songs are turned inside-out: not only does the overall feel remain the same, but so do the basic arrangements. That doesn't mean the alterations on My Songs are unnoticeable; far from it, in fact. Sting's heavy hand is evident throughout My Songs. When he revisits the Police, it's hard to ignore how the contributions of Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland are either absent or muted, just like how it's impossible not to notice that the new vocals sound scraggly and weathered, not spry. Whether it's the early "If You Love Somebody Set Them Free," "If I Ever Lose My Faith in You," or the relatively recent "Brand New Day," the solo hits are awash with funk guitars and electronic rhythms suitable for an upscale mall. Of the two approaches, the latter could conceivably be called modern, but it can't be called fresh, which highlights the mystery at the core of My Songs. Despite the sometimes-jarring changes, the versions on My Songs still sound like the old tunes, raising the question of why Sting even bothered with this project.

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