One Neat Thing a Day

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  • Who is us?

    Sean Daily is an English major from New Jersey now living in Las Vegas, the Other City of Lights. "I consider 'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas' to be comfort reading, I like the al pastor tacos at Tacos Mexico and I count among my literary influences the Chainsaw from 'Doom'. 'RRRRRR! You don't like that, do you, Mr. Undead Marine! RRRRRR!'"

    Shanoah Alkire is our Discordian at large. "Born in Santa Cruz, I grew up in Grass Valley and the Bay Area, and now lurk in Las Vegas. My literary influences include Ray Bradbury, Lewis Carroll, and Douglas Adams. I also program as a hobby, and currently maintain the Gtk port of Angband. You can find a rather old bio of me here."

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6-12-08 The Two Mr. Stings

Posted by Sean on June 12, 2008

Well, Shanoah, instead of doing a post on two different musicians, I’m gonna do mine on just one… but one who changed his musical style so radically that he might as well be two musicians.

Sting was once the frontman for the Police. They had kind of a New Wave-y feel to them but weren’t quite as synth and keyboard-intensive, and they had a tendency to perform songs about rather unpleasant aspects of life… like Synchronicity II, off 1983’s Synchronicity, courtesy of Tabstarkin.

What’s not to like? Eschatological prophesy, post-modern angst, post-industrial alienation, guitars that sound like Godzilla, a drummer that’s trying to punch his drumsticks through his snare drum, costumes from a bad Road Warrior ripoff and Tweaker-Eyes Sting, lord of all upon which his gaze falls on top of his Fortress of Garbage… this video’s got it all.

But then Sting took a wrong turn somewhere, wound up in Baron Harkonnen’s pain vats and had his brain washed, waxed and Simonized. That’s the only thing I can think of that can explain this.

This is Desert Rose, off 1999’s Brand New Day, when you could put Arab lyrics in your song and not be called a unpatriotic soldier-killing terrorist-sympathizing traitor. (Thanks to anks4ever for putting up a Desert Rose video with embedding enabled, by the way)

Quite a difference, eh? Sting’s gone from New Wave to New Age. Don’t get me wrong. I like Desert Rose. Any song that can make spirituality sound that sexy (or maybe sexuality that spiritual) is okay in my book. It’s just… jarring, like seeing your pot-smoking college buddy twenty years later in a three-piece suit and driving a Hummer with a yellow ribbon magnet on the bumper.

I kinda like the change. Sting had the lean stray-dog look of someone who was going to get crusty and codgery later in life. But gone is the pessimism – at least on the surface. (And any artist who sings about synchronicity just has to have a mystical side) Plus… hey, you can’t expect a person to just stand still for 16 years, let alone an artist.

Still… jarring.

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