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Sacred Love (2003)

Artist: Sting
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Learn more about Sacred Love:

Format: CD
Sku: 60613402
UPC: 602498608005
UPC 14: 00602498608005
Release Date: 9/30/2003
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Song Listing

Disc 1
Song Title
1. Inside ~ Sting
2. Send Your Love - (featuring Vicente Amigo) ~ Sting
3. Whenever I Say Your Name - (featuring Mary J. Blige) ~ Sting
4. Dead Man's Rope ~ Sting
5. Never Coming Home ~ Sting
6. Stolen Car (Take Me Dancing) ~ Sting
7. Forget About The Future ~ Sting
8. This War ~ Sting
9. Book Of My Life, The - (featuring Anoushka Shankar) ~ Sting
10. Sacred Love ~ Sting
11. Send Your Love - (Dave Aude remix) ~ Sting
Listen to Sting's "Send Your Love" now!
Plus preview the making of his new DVD Inside the Songs of Sacred Love and watch the music video for "Send Your Love." Launch the Player!

Respected music journalist Anthony DeCurtis calls Sacred Love, "Sting's most moving album to date", and says, "Sacred Love simultaneously delivers Sting at his most thoughtful and most visceral. This is the man in full."

Sacred Love is also available as a Hybrid SACD which can be played on any CD player or SACD player - the same disc can reproduce top quality sound at home or CD quality sound in the car or on a computer.

"'s poetic, sophisticated, jazzy, and occasionally even funky.  Entertainment Weekly
" harder than anything Sting has offered in ages.

Album Notes and Credits

Notes & Personnel Info
Muze PNote Personnel: Sting (vocals, guitar, clarinet, keyboards, bass); Mary J. Blige, Babija Rhapl, Joy Rose (vocals); Dominic Miller, Vicente Amigo (guitar); Anoushka Shankar (sitar); Chris Botti (trumpet); Clark Gayton (trombone); Jason Rebello (piano, Fender Rhodes piano); Dave Hartley (piano); Jeff Young (Hammond B-3 organ); Kipper (keyboards, programming, background vocals); Christian McBride, Danny Dunlap (bass); Manu Katche, Vinne Colaiuta (drums); Aref Durvesh (tabla); Valerie Denys (castanets); Lance Ellington, Ada Dyer, Donna Gardier, Katreese Barnes (background vocals).
Muze PNote Producers: Kipper, Sting, Victor Calderone, Dave Aude.
Muze PNote "Whenever I Say Your Name" won the 2004 Grammy Award for Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals. "Send Your Love" was nominated for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance.
Muze PNote SACRED LOVE seems like the culmination of a process that began 10 years earlier with Sting's TEN SUMMONER'S TALES album. While his first three solo albums were dense, cerebral affairs, that one began a move towards simplification and broader commercial appeal. While SACRED LOVE's predecessor was perhaps Sting's slickest, most pop-oriented album, this one seems to strike an easy balance between his weighty lyrical concerns and a broad-based, accessible sound.
Muze PNote As on his 1999 hit "Desert Rose," Sting uses world rhythms to spice things up here, employing sitar and Middle Eastern percussion on "The Book of My Life." An undercurrent of the R&B feel of BRAND NEW DAY can still be felt here as well, lending ballast to even his airiest harmonic moments. He even reprises the single "Send Your Love" (initially given worldbeat feel) as a percolating electronic dance track at the album's end, and it's perhaps a tribute to his musical facility that it sounds equally effective.

Musical Guests
Muze Guest Artist Vicente Amigo
Muze Guest Artist Mary J. Blige
Muze Guest Artist Anoushka Shankar

Compilation Appearances

Muze Music Compilations Vol. 1-Very Special Christmas
Muze Music Compilations Two Rooms-Songs Of Elton John & Bernie Taupin
Muze Music Compilations Sabrina
Muze Music Compilations Dream Walkin'
Muze Music Compilations Vol. 1-Greatest Hits
Muze Music Compilations My Life
Muze Music Compilations Dolphins
Muze Music Compilations Love Affair-Music Of Ivan Lins
Muze Music Compilations Desert Roses & Arabian Rhythms
Muze Music Compilations Best Of Toby Keith-Millennium Collection
Muze Music Compilations When I Fall In Love
Muze Music Compilations Celtic Circle 2
Muze Music Compilations Bridget Jones: The Edge Of Reason
Muze Music Compilations Monkey Business
Muze Music Compilations Les Paul & Friends
Muze Music Compilations Essential Chieftains
Muze Music Compilations Wildflower
Muze Music Compilations Rhythms Del Mundo: Cuba
Muze Music Compilations Every Child Deserves A Lifetime:songs
Muze Music Compilations Chris Botti Live In Boston
Muze Music Compilations Chris Botti Live In Boston
Muze Music Compilations Chris Botti: Live in Boston (+ DVD)
Muze Music Compilations Chris Botti: Live in Boston (+ DVD)
Muze Music Compilations Now That's What I Call The 80S Volume
Muze Music Compilations 25Th Anniv Rock Roll Hall Of Fame C
Muze Music Compilations 25Th Anniv Rock Roll Hall Of Fame C
Muze Music Compilations 25Th Anniv Rock Roll Hall Of Fame C
Muze Music Compilations Conversations With Christian
Muze Music Compilations Chimes Of Freedom:songs Of Bob Dylan
Muze Music Compilations A m 50:Anniversary Collection
Muze Music Compilations 1 Greatest Hits
Muze Music Compilations 1 Greatest Hits
Muze Music Compilations Human Rights Concerts 1986-1998
Muze Music Compilations FORGET THE WORLD(Explicit Version)
Muze Music Compilations Breathing Under Water
Muze Music Compilations Rogue Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs, and Chanteys
Muze Music Compilations Thomas Crown Affair

Associated Artists and Works

Adams, Bryan
Banton, Pato
Belden, Bob
Brothers In Arms [Remaster] ~ Dire Straits
Brothers in Arms [Digipak] ~ Dire Straits
Evans, Gil
Jenkins, Leroy
London Symphony Orchestra
The London Symphony Orchestra Performs The Music O ~ London Symphony Orchestra
The Living Sea [Featuring the Music of Sting] ~ Original Soundtrack
Dolphins [Original Soundtrack] ~ Original Soundtrack
Pavarotti, Luciano
Quality Singers
Quality Singers (The)
Radio Actors
Stewart, Rod
Sting & The Police

Technical Info

Music Release Date Release Date : 09/30/2003
Music Original Release Date Original Release Date : 2003
Music CatalogId Catalog ID : 000114102
Music Label Name Label : A&M (USA)
Music Number of Discs Number of Discs : 1
Music Mono or Stereo Mono/Stereo : Stereo
Music SPAR code SPAR Code : n/a
Music UPC UPC : 00602498608005

Professional Reviews

Rolling Stone (12/13/01, p.150)
- 3.5 stars out of 5 - "...This is music filled with mood and memory, refined yet raw with emotion."

Rolling Stone (12/25/03, p.110)
- Included in Rolling Stone's "50 Best Albums of 2003"

Rolling Stone (10/16/03, p.85)
- 3.5 stars out of 5 - "...The radiant SACRED LOVE is a vivid and frequently gorgeous reminder that Gordon Sumner is first and foremost a talented singer-songwriter..."

Q (12/01, p.144)
- 3 stars out of 5 - "...The performances here bend towards restraint....serving as a reminder of the quality of songs such as 'Fields Of Gold' and 'Fragile'..."

Q (10/03, p.114)
- 3 stars out of 5 - "...He knows how to fashion a quality-sounding product for a start: tasteful sitars, flamenco guitars and jazzy pianos are but part of his armoury..."

Mojo (Publisher)
(10/03, p.110)
- 3 stars out of 5 - "...The grand design survives on Sting's sheer musical elegance and a sharp eye for surprise..."

E! Online 7 of 10
Sting has millions in the bank, an enormous estate in the Italian countryside and the ability to engage in supernatural sex for hours on end. Nice life if you can get it. Too bad his music continues to slip down the dumper. His latest album might possibly be his laziest. Rife with hyper-marketable flamenco guitars and jazz pianos, it's world music for people whose idea of adventure is a trip to Banana Republic. Add to that ambiguous lyrics about love and death with a bazillion dollars of high-end studio gloss on top and these songs are going to be in so many car ads that soon he's going to be able to buy his own country. Who knows what damage he'll be able to do then.

Rolling Stone 8 of 10
Sacred Love, the follow-up to 1999's Brand New Day, finds Sting in a soulful mood. "Send Your Love" pulsates like some twenty-first-century take on classic Stevie Wonder or Marvin Gaye, with a taste of "Desert Rose" for extra flavor. The gospel-tinged love song "Whenever I Say Your Name" finds Sting trading lines effectively with the Queen of Hip-hop Soul, Mary J. Blige. Sting and co-producer Kipper have smartly stripped back the polished wall of sound that has sometimes swamped Sting's solo work. The characteristically literate "This War" rocks as convincingly as anything Sting has done since back when Stewart Copeland was keeping his time. - David Wild



Two years ago, Sting found himself in the extremely difficult position of having to perform a show on the grounds of his home in Italy on a day that will live in infamy: September 11, 2001. “It was the last thing I wanted to do,” he says, “but people had come from all over the world to see this show in my backyard, and I felt they needed some kind of therapy, just to be together.” The gripping intimacy of that show was documented by the live album and DVD, …All This Time, which came out soon afterwards.

Since then, like all of us, Sting has had many occasions to ponder the meaning of that fateful day. “I had to consider my position as a songwriter,” he says. “What do I write about? I didn’t want to write specifically about that situation at all, but when I look back on the songs that I’ve written since then, there is this mood of import. There’s something happening in the human spirit, and we’re all connected to it, whether you’re American or British or from the Islamic world. We’re connected to some energy in the world, and we need to sort out what it is.”

For Sting, the name of that energy is embodied in the title of his new album: Sacred Love. “Every man, every woman/Every race, every nation/It all comes down to this/Sacred love,” he sings on the exuberant title track. Other songs on the album demonstrate how the failure to love can lead to self-deception and betrayal, to irrational fear and cataclysmic violence. But what finally comes through is the truth that all soul singers know: Love can save the day.

Still, writing songs about love hardly constitutes an artistic breakthrough – particularly for Sting, who has written some of the best, and some of the eeriest, love songs of our time. Love may be the answer, but if it is to regain its rightful power in our lives, it will need to be rescued from the clichés that have eroded its meaning. Sting sets out to do that from the very start on “Inside,” the album’s opening track. “Inside the doors are sealed to love,” the song begins, and that fortress will need to come down for love to do its work.

“I often think the words ‘I love you’ have been misused by people,” Sting explains one afternoon in Paris, where he recorded the album. “What does it mean? ‘Inside’ is a song about someone who’s been hurt in love and is under siege and hiding away from the world. I think our society encourages that. We live in gated communities, and we’re terrified of the world outside. But there’s a storm raging at the gates, and sooner or later you’re going to have to open the door and deal with it.”

The very language Sting uses to describe that character’s plight – “under siege,” “terrified of the world,” “a storm raging at the gates” – gets at one of Sacred Love’s most compelling aspects. Among its other ambitions, the album is a bold attempt to weave meaningful connections between the struggles within the souls of individual people and the larger events wracking our social and political worlds. That goal makes perfect sense, given the album’s genesis. Sacred Love was recorded during the agonizing build-up to the war on Iraq, and the urgency of that time suffuses the entire album -- most grippingly on “This War.” “There’s a war on our compassion,” he sings, “There’s a war on understanding/There’s a war on love and life itself/It’s war that they’re demanding.” A stirring cry of protest, the songs rests on a single pointed question: “Yes, you may win this coming battle/But could you tolerate the peace?”

Similarly, if far more playfully, “Forget About the Future” – with its unforgettably sardonic kicker line, “So forget about the future, honey/Let’s get on with the past” -- compares a couple determined to relive every painful battle of their relationship to the squabbling countries at the United Nations. In both cases, “They opened up all the wounds of the past/As they failed to see their way to the future.”

Along with the title track, “Send Your Love” provides a counterweight to the dark motives evident at the heart of “This War.” Against the fundamentalist thugs of any faith who attempt to strangle joy in its cradle, Sting evokes a sensual vision of human salvation. “There’s no religion but sex and music,” he sings over the song’s swirling, driving rhythms, “There’s no religion but sound and dancing… There’s no religion but sacred trance.”

“I just felt that, in light of September 11th and its aftermath, religion had a lot to answer for,” Sting says. “It’s been used in a very narrow political sense to close down who we are. It’s another term that needed to be redefined. So I asked myself, what are my religions? Well, music is one, and the other is love – romantic love, sexual love. They’re both ways of approaching eternity, infinity, the impossible things that we simply can’t understand. They give us a window onto that – and God created them both!”

On a less philosophical, more carnal note, Sting and Mary J. Blige’s smoldering duet on the ballad “Whenever I Say Your Name” also traces the links between sex, religion and music in its affecting line, “Whenever I say your name, I’m already praying.”

“That’s not romantic gobbledygook,” Sting insists. “It’s real. If you love somebody, it’s a religious experience. Mary and I play these roles in that song; we’re in a relationship that’s both co-dependent and necessary. As a singer, Mary really is the heir to Aretha Franklin, and I had to bring myself up to that mark. She’s so passionate that it brought out the passion in me. I’m English, after all, and we find it very difficult to be passionate. We need a little help!”

“Like a Beautiful Smile,” meanwhile, combines a trickily off-kilter 7/8 time signature, a catchy melody straight from the Stevie Wonder songbook and lyrics courtesy of a well-known Shakespeare sonnet (“Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day”) – all to refreshingly breezy effect. “I haven’t a clue what it means,” Sting laughingly says about the song. “It just sounds happy, joyful and hopeful. And I quite enjoy stealing from Shakespeare, because he never complains!”

Inspired by Sting’s work on a forthcoming autobiography, “The Book of My Life” is the sort of brooding, introspective ballad that the singer has defined throughout his career. Anoushka Shankar’s sitar summons an atmosphere of mystery at the song’s beginning, like the unsettling feeling of encountering yourself in a dream, as song’s main character reluctantly digs in the dirt of his buried memories. “There are promises broken and promises kept,” the lyrics run. “There are words that were spoken when I should have wept…There’s some sorrow in every life.”

“Dead Man’s Rope,” too, found its spark while Sting was writing the book of his life. “That song to me is about death,” he says plainly. “I had the image of a man suspended on a rope between heaven and hell, suspended in a ‘well of memory.’ Having fallen into the well of memory when I was working on my book, I know how it feels, and it’s not all pleasant.

“The other image in the song,” he continues, “is of a man walking, day after day, a lifetime of walking away from responsibilities, from his pain, hoping it will go away. But at some point you have to be in one place and deal with reality, and that’s where ‘Dead Man’s Rope’ is. Once you’ve accepted that, then comfort arrives. You can’t walk away from everything. I’ve tried.”

“Never Coming Home,” finally, is a dramatic set-piece that finds a woman at a crossroads in her life, like the man in “Dead Man’s Rope,” in a sense. Her decision to claim her personal freedom is told from three perspectives – hers, her husband’s, and an omniscient narrator’s. “I have sympathy for both characters, I really do,” Sting says. “They are characters I will revisit later.”

To make Sacred Love, Sting teamed up once again with Kipper, the keyboards and programming mastermind who also co-produced Brand New Day and …All This Time. Along with Kipper and guests like Mary J. Blige and Anoushka Shankar, the players include many longtime members of Sting’s musical family, including guitarist Dominic Miller, keyboardist Jason Rebello, trumpeter Chris Botti and drummer Manu Katche.

There isn’t much point at this juncture in rehearsing all of Sting’s accomplishments. Both as a solo artist and with the Police, he’s written some of the best songs of our time and sold many, many millions of records. It’s more newsworthy at this point to proclaim that he’s working at the very height of his powers on Sacred Love, that, once again, he’s made an album that is fun and provocative, serious and moving, a telling commentary on our lives and our times.

“Mentally, this was a very tough record to make,” Sting admits. “At first, I just wasn't in the mood to write songs. Then, because of what was going on in the world - the threat of war after September 11th, and the actual war happening -- it definitely was a difficult time to be creative. You wonder - what on Earth am I doing this for? What bearing does this have on reality? And of course a lot of the themes of what's happening in the world come into the record unconsciously.

“So there's a certain amount of confusion and dread on the record, as well as a great deal of joy and hope,” he concludes. “I think in that sense it's a realistic record. I'm not denying anything.” – Anthony DeCurtis

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